Oleg Shpudeiko aka Heinali revisits his alias once again, for the purpose of this album, to deliver a cascade of shimmering motifs which resonate together like fire and ice. There is a dramatic depth of emotion reached for via the conduits of electronic sounds which are times gentle, reassuring and at others simply stark. Iridescent, for example explores the brutal architecture of techno without the drum machines and is almost overwhelming. Whereas the proceeding, Shadow Invention imagines melancholy scenarios that pulse and fuse the airwaves with poignancy. Either way you’re left with the feeling that something wonderful has just crossed your horizon as the music dives and rises across boundaries of mood and expectation.
I love this song. However, let’s start with the words wistful and breezy. But then let us not forget the contrasted sense of melancholy, plus the sting in the tail, which accompanies the heart-tearing melody. Ready To Die is a beautiful composition by anyone’s standard and if there is more in line like this then who knows where Charlie Bel could end up. Mixed by the label’s Paul Murphy who captures the sorts of feelings which tune perfectly into lost weekends, alongside a sense of longing which may well yet be fully satisfied.
Belfast’s finest export, Extended Play plays havoc with the senses as any expected notions of Electro fly out the window. While Dublin’s Daser effortlessly blends a wild combination of pulsating, futuristic beats together with fizzy, energetic Acid lines. You can hear that knowing nod to the early 80’s in there but you can also most definitely feel 2018 reaching throughout. Then Sub Club resident Domenic Cappello delivers the kind of excellent remix which really deserves that description. He turns it all upside down releasing a darker inscription across the arrangement, reworking the synthesized arpeggios into a blaze of contrasting moods and signs too. Remaining tracks, Convent Inferno works an element of Detroit into the equation and the more playful, tempting atmospheres of Low Serotonin complete this most notable release.
A record that comes steeped in history – for all the right reasons – fusing the smouldering electronic sounds of 1984 alongside Walter Gibbon’s production prowess. Justin Martin now receives the honour of an official remix of this timeless classic. Unlike a simplistic re-edit that safely reimagines nostalgia this Remix links the past with today in a blaze of confident excellence. The beats remain firmly planted in Electro, pulsing funkily as they do, while the synths now contain that contemporary edge updating the number in wild style. Next, the Party Starter version plays with the future and an altogether different reworking Set It Off for the 21st century – where we all belong. PS great Artwork from Nico Salazar too.
Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Charlie. Can we start by asking what singing and playing guitar means for you personally?
Hi, Thanks for having me. Singing and playing guitar is everything to me, from an early age my outlet has always been music.
Your excellent new single: Ready To Die is due out on Claremont 56 with mixes by Paul Murphy. How did the relationship with the label happen? And what do you feel that the mixes have added to the song?
I sent the demo to a friend and she passed it on to Paul Murphy at Claremont 56, Paul loved the track and asked for the parts so he could remix it, I loved the results and Paul decided to release it.
Can you describe the process of writing the song and how it was actually recorded?
I wrote it pretty quick, sometimes songs can take an age to finish but this song was instant, an honest document of my loved up state at the time! hahaha
I recorded it in a few hours at my studio in Wallasey, I just put a simple beat in then tracked an acoustic guitar and then i played a bass track live, it was a really simple demo to make.
Do you find it better to create a melody and then add music, or the other way round?
I always start with music, just a few chords, create a vibe and then bounce off that for the melody, lyrically i will follow the mood of the music and what i am exposed to at the time.
Tell us about your background and where/ how you learnt to play guitar?
My grandad and my dad and my older brother are musicians so there was always someone who could show me bits and bobs, after that i just went on Youtube to learn riffs and stuff.
What is your favourite guitar? Do you own one?
There is a Martin D-28 ‘John Martyn’ limited edition that I would love, no i don’t own one unfortunately.
Influences. Who are the most important ones both within music and outside of it?
`In terms of music there are many but to name a few, David Byrne, Matt Johnston, John Martyn, Chris Martin, Nina Simone, Patti Smith… Outside of music my family is a huge source of inspiration.
How have you found the process of getting your voice heard in the digital world? Is it more important for you to play ‘live’ to people, or to get your music heard on-line?
Playing live is amazing and can never be replaced by anything and the digital arena is a real bonus providing an extra platform to present your music, I have found it really easy to find an ear so im going to keep on making noise until enough people tell me to shut up!
And finally. What plans to have for the immediate future?
I’ve been working in a cafe on Bold Street in Liverpool for the last six months to save some cash to travel about a bit, take my guitar and write the album…
It takes everything to play piano like this. Amaro Freitas’ strikes the notes as if his life depended on it and that wild sense of abandon comes crashing throughout the arrangement, like you’re lost in a chaotic film noir searching for answers. The accompying drums and bass only heighten the tension colouring the drama with a zest for life and a supreme, extraordinary impulsiveness. This is an epic piece of music that transcends all sorts of things, emotions and potential. Go on. I dare you.
Sometimes it gets to the point were saying nothing is enough. And I would suggest those moments arrive in a slow motion of procession when listening to Steve Miller’s beautifully realised visions of clarity. Three pieces occupy the release so let’s begin at the start: Tao gives rise to ONE. Soft bell chimes and swirls of igniting pads signify more of a life-affirming experience than words perhaps have the ability to capture. Its like you don’t want the warm glow to end as you find yourself lounging in addictive, tranquil bliss. ONE gives rise to TWO follows expanding the time frame to twelve minutes and again plays with your imagination as dream like sculptures of repeating sound drift in and out of consciousness. Finally, TWO gives rise to THREE completes by doubling the minutes into an expanded twenty three minutes of wonder. By the way, something sublime occurs at the eleven minute mark as a subtle change of emphasis calls into question your expectations. However, at this point I’m going to stop talking and recommend you press play for yourself.
Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty, Suddi. How excited are you about the launch of your new book: A Brief History Of Acid House? And what is it about the Acid sound that is so special to you?
Excitement levels are pretty high. I really wanted to get this out this year due to the 30 year thing. The main reason why Acid is so special to me, is because of the impact it had on me when I was just a kid. I discovered it when I was 15 years old and fell in love with it immediately. I was just the right ages to get totally consumed by it. I had hundreds of smiley t-shirts and embraced it like it was the most important thing in the world. I never could have imagined all the controversy surrounding it would have happened after it spread across the UK and then for there to be huge parties revolving around the music just as I was turning 18. It was a wake-up call for me as it was for many others and nothing was ever the same again.
(photo by Paul Husband)
Can you tell us about who are the founding figures in Acid House for you and who would you say were the key electronic music producers before then?
One of the most important figures has to be DJ Ron Hardy. As the legend goes, he played Acid Trax 4 times in one night causing the early House scene to shift in direction. Ron was always more abstract than Frankie Knuckles and after Acid Trax things blew up in Chicago things moved more in Ron’s musical direction. After the first night he played Acid Trax he continued to hammer it without anyone knowing what it was so his followers called it Ron Hardy’s Acid Trax accidentally giving the track and the genre a name. Another great for me is Armando Gallup. He was renowned for his parties in Chicago before he made one of the first Acid House records 151, very shortly after the very first one was made by Phuture.
Obviously Phuture for they created the genre and went to create more absolute gems. Mike Dunn isn’t talked about as much as some of the acid originators but if you listen to tracks such as Face The Nation and Personal Problem, I find his unique take on Acid so beautifully melodic I am amazed he isn’t praised more. Adonis is one of the great unsung heroes of not just Acid but House. Some of his House records were essentially Acid before the genre was even born. I firmly believe that Phuture were listening to Adonis before they created Acid House. Larry Heard, although he has made some of the best Acid House music with tracks such as Sun Don’t Compare, it is his House music that is the most inventive because again, like with Adonis he was making Acid House before it even existed with tracks such as Washing Machine and Ecstasy. I am a firm believer that Acid is both a genre of music and an electronic instrument sound too that can be made on machines other than a TB-303. Larry Heard proves that with some of his Mr. Fingers productions. I never expected Acid House to become as popular as it is again today but the great thing about that is, new music by new producers. Paranoid London are making some blinding new music as is Marquis Hawkes.
Prior to Acid House, I was obsessed with Electro with producers such as Arthur Baker and Juan Atkins with his Model 500 outfit who later went on to give the world Techno.
How long has it taken to research the book? And what inspired you to write it?
Research for the book began many years ago, possibly up to around 10 years ago but as I got busy with musical projects and having a day job things got put on hold. The final product has evolved somewhat as I scaled down the original plan of making an “Acid encyclopedia” called Encyclopedia Acidica. Depending on how things go with this, I will look at finishing that rather ambition project again but much of the work I did researching it has resulted in this smaller project.
Tell us about three of your favourite electronic instruments (drum machines, synthesisers etc) and why their sound resonates with you?
The TB-303 is the single greatest machine ever made. Although there are now a million clones and imitation and some of them replicate it very well, nothing else out there has the same depth of bass and more importantly despite boasting being computer controlled, in a way, it sounds so organic and alive. I absolutely love some of the newer machines that have been built to cash in on the demand. I have bought as many as I can afford. I have 6 now I think. I also think the Korg Monologue is one of the most amazing machines I have ever heard. They got Aphex Twin to create some of the patches and he has even included some of his riffs on there. I have played live sets and incorporated them into the sets they are that good! And finally, the Jupiter 8. I used to have one but had to sell it when I got laid off from work to pay the bills. As depressing as that was, it was possibly the first and most mature thing I’d ever done. People say I am mad to have sold it but it really was a question of house or synth.
You have self published the book. Tell us about that process and what’s happening with the books distribution?
I am going to do a limited edition larger version in A4 to offer something to collect as people who love Acid House and 303’s are so fond of their scene I figured a limited edition version would be a good idea then the book will be available in standard A5 on Amazon.
What is your favourite memory from Together?
People assume being in the charts must have been best times. It was great, I am not denying that but for me, the best times of my life were long before Hardcore Uproar got into the charts: it was the period where Hardcore Uproar became the biggest tune at the Hacienda in the summer of 1990. To have shared it with my best friends Jon and Emma means everything to me as I have those memories to hold onto and cherish forever. There was one night when they played the record twice in one night on the 8th Birthday and as it hit midnight Mike Pickering released balloons from the ceiling. It was so un-Hacienda of them but it was possibly the greatest single moment of my life.
How did you first get introduced to House Music? And how would you compare those days with today’s Dance Music culture?
It was really my school friends who introduced me to House Music. I was still into Electro in 1986 and all my friends who were always really ahead of the game were listening to compilation on FFRR/London records. When I heard what they were listening to, my old Electro comps barely got a look in. I always wrote silly raps inspired by my love of Electro so when I got in House I started writing basslines and melodies. I didn’t think any of it would amount to anything until I met Jonathan Donaghy who I formed Together with.
To compare today’s scene to what happened just after 1988 is difficult as the music and the scene was so new back then, it was bound to feel more exciting but having experienced both of them separately I can honestly say some of the best nights today are as good as what was going on back then. There are 2 clubs in London called I Love Acid and Downfall and I feel due to the sincerity of the crowds they pull, the atmosphere is magical. They have such a playful vibe. No idiots. No aggression. Very few camera phones and no pretence, just pure music and dancing. It is just like it used to be and for a while in the 2000’s when things changed quite a bit I never thought it would come back and certainly didn’t think it would get this good again.
And finally. Tell us about The House Sound Of Together series? And any future musical or writing plans you have?
The House Sound of Together EP’s began with the “FFRREE at Last” EP. A celebratory record after getting out of a nightmare record deal I was trapped in. We wanted to sign to Deconstruction but somehow were forced to sign to a label we didn’t want to be on so when I got out of that deal I rushed to release a record after not having had a record out for sometime but the 2nd EP Volume 2, I really took my time with. It featured a few names that have gone on to do big things such as DJ Sasha who produced one track, Phil Kelsey (PKA) produced another and Rohan Heath (who went on to form The Urban Cookie Collective, The Key The Secret) co-wrote 2 tracks on the EP.
I wrote most of this new EP while I was off with a broken leg. Literally itching to get out, I felt inspired and basslines was filling my head whilst I had one leg propped up. The result was this
EP. The House Sound of Together Volume 3. I originally intended to call it the Alkaline EP as I wasn’t planning to have any Acid on it but Matt Sargeant who I co-produced it with in the end, contributed some essential elements to the EP and lots of them ended up being very Acidy so I had to drop the Alkaline tag.
After Together I went on to release some ambient techno under the name The Ultimate Escape Project. I have written new material which will be released under that name soon. I toyed with releasing those tunes under the name Together but I realised they’re just not Together tracks.
Writing-wise, I have been writing a column called One Foot In The Rave for a magazine for sometime and I have been thinking about expanding on those. They are memoirs related to my experiences during the Acid House era. I want to make it clear, this definitely won’t be an autobiography! Nobody would be interested in my personal life but whilst going to the raves I saw and experienced some truly amazing and at times, shocking things so I hope to write a book called something like “Real life stories from the Acid House frontline”. I like the idea of using a war-term like “frontline” as there were tensions at times and it did get quite risky, especially the night there was a riot and someone had the bright idea to blow up a Police van in Blackburn.
Curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden the BBE J Jazz Masterclass Series is a blessing in transcendent music. In this case from 1983 and drummer Takeo Moriyama’s blinding East Plants long player. If the albums shuffling sensibilities that drive the combination of percussion, bass and reeds forward are of note then look no further than the albums opening title track. Drenched in telling atmosphere, yet robustly punchy care its deft array of percussion and breezy sax. The more unforgiving 竹 (Take) then follows in a blaze of pacey, excitable rhythms that cumulate in a rush of fiery instrumentation. Leaving the remaining tracks to play in-between the two sides of the coin. Completion occurs via the also excellent 遠 (Tooku) which sees suggestive, unnerving meanderings tie in with punctuating drums and the gentle whir of double bass. Available in both vinyl and cd format with the originals accompying sleeves notes plus art work now is your chance to experience something out of the ordinary. Not necessarily for the faint hearted but why should music be anything less than intense.
Korpus 9 is a brand new label emerging from Russia dealing in Techno but for reasons that are beyond me I particularly like the four tracks which make up the imprint debut release. Well actually that’s not quite true. The reason they are great is because they look beyond the more obvious sounds associated with the genre delving into an abyss of grainy atmospherics which conjure all sorts of images. Garrison 1 is aimed at the dancefloor, as are all numbers, while the funkier percussion and rich landscapes of Garrison2 are notably spectacular. 3, strips down to the brutal facts leaving Garrison4 to tease once again with pulsating bass and shuffling snares completing this thoroughly compelling journey.