One of the greatest innovations in music in the late 20th century must be the development of the digital sampler. The sampler has been around since the early 70s but came to prominence in the late 80s with companies such as AKAI developing the technology to enable samples to be stretched and looped. The use of the sampler was pioneered by hip hop acts in the USA and by studio boffins and DJs over here.
When I first heard tracks such as Pump Up The Volume and Beat Dis, I couldn’t believe how this sort of cut and paste method could sound so good.
During 1987 you couldn’t move for tracks using or in some cases completely constructed from samples and a lot of time was spent trying to spot the sample or count how many samples there were in tracks. The possibilities seemed endless, however in the majority of the cases the sampling was lazily executed with the same samples being used over and over again, more often than not James Brown.
Two of the true innovators in the use of this technology were Matt Black and Jonathan Moore aka Coldcut. They were responsible for the first commercially released UK cut n paste record, Say Kids What Time Is It? They were also responsible for the best remix this side of Andy Weatherall in Paid In Full (Seven Minutes of Madness) for Eric B and Rakim and the definitive mix cd 70 Minutes of Madness. After flirting with chart success they set up the Ninja Tunes label which has consistently released some of the best left field dance music around and is still going strong.
James Brown – The Payback Mix – Keep On Doing What You’re Doing But Make It Funky (Coldcut Mix)
Coldcut may have been responsible for the first commercially released UK cut n paste record, however the first recorded and aired was by a gang from Leeds who made “Sonic-Metal-Disco” – Age of Chance.
I already had the Crush Collision mini lp and 2 different 12″ singles of their version of Prince’s Kiss when one night I heard this mental version of Kiss on the John Peel show which had so many different samples it was impossible to spot them all. After hearing it on the show I searched for it for months but with no success. I went on to buy all the rest of their stuff up until they split but never even heard that version of Kiss again. 500 promo copies were pressed but it was never released, due to litigation worries.
It would have been late 2007, when trawling the internet one night I found a site which had posted an mp3 of the track. On playing it back, it was as mad as I remembered and just as good.
Age Of Chance – Kiss (Kiss Power mix)