This “Seven Minutes of Madness” remix by Coldcut from 1987 is still an amazing and radical piece of sound collage, throwing in Ofra Haza, Humphrey Bogart, James Brown, and a BBC Play School record while still keeping the bones of the original. Though we were all to get sick of that “This is a journey into sound” sample they were the first ones to use it.
Apparently Eric B dissed this as “Girly disco music”.
For a while in the early 80s the hot musical talk was all about “soul” and “passion” (especially in the NME) and you couldn’t move for bands adding horn sections to their records and referencing Marvin Gaye. I’m not sure where it came from — Paul Weller? Paul Young? Spandau Ballet? — but there was a definite shift to more classic soul influences which was soon exploited by the Levi’s 501 commercials. It was something of a conservative step backwards from post-punk but I still liked a lot of the records.
Even the indie world was influenced by this trend. The Kane Gang were a trio from Newcastle whose first single “Brother, Brother” came out on the small Kitchenware label (home of Prefab Sprout) in 1983. Like a lot of British blue-eyed-soul it sounds a bit weedy next to the records that influenced it and is more “Indie Funk” than Funkadelic but it has a good groove, especially in this rare longer 12″ version.
Roxy Music hid this gem away on the other side of the 12″ single of “Take A Chance With Me” in 1982. It’s an extended remix which takes the Avalon highlight on a 7:40 minute journey and listening to it makes me think their comeback albums would have been more interesting if they had pushed the songs in this expansive direction.
From “The Bogus Man” to “Manifesto” Roxy were always very good at long, atmospheric instrumental passages, so imagine the chill soundscapes of Avalon or the pulsing sequencers of “Same Old Scene” stretched out into more trippy, hypnotic territory. I think the results would have been terrific.
The NME released 38 compilation cassettes between 1981-88 that could be bought cheaply by mail. Some of them, like C81 and C86 became famous and era-defining. Less well known is the short series of 7″ vinyl EPs they gave away in the middle of the decade. Unlike the tapes these were included free with the paper which must have caused headaches to make sure they didn’t end up at the newsagents broken into little pieces. I had all of them at one point, but the only one I still have is Fourplay from September 1986 (where the hell did the others go?)
As a snapshot of 1986 this is a very strong quartet of tracks. The Miles Davis is taken straight from his divisive Tutu album while, as far as my ears can tell, the Mantronix and Elvis tunes are slightly different mixes to the originals. Only the Billy Bragg sounds like it’s a different recording. Sadly my crappy old copy sticks right at the end of that track so I’ve had to fade it out. Sorry about that. My favourite of the four was (and is) the pile-driving Mantronix tune which still blows my socks off.
Want to see Public Enemy walking around 1980s London in a video introduced by Tim Westwood wearing an MA1 flying jacket? Of course you do. Those were the days.
I saw Public Enemy live in 1992 supporting U2 at Tampa football stadium of all places (Big Audio Dynamite were also on the bill). It was my first week living in Florida and my first experience of how American rock audiences didn’t give a shit about — and were even hostile to — black music, especially in the South. I was all excited about seeing PUBLIC ENEMY but no one else around me seemed to care. Personally I thought it was brilliant when Flavor Flav chased Chuck D around the stage dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
What a mind-blowing record this still is. Westwood’s phony American “street” accent sounds really dumb though.
If you’re wondering why presenter David Hepworth found The Pale Fountains’ taste in music so surprising, in those post-punk years it was considered quite a radical act for a young band to be into John Barry and Simon & Garfunkel — they called it the “quiet pop” movement.
Clips of The Fountains (I’ve never called them The Paleys) are quite rare so I’m well chuffed to have found this.