I’m breaking my own rules for the weekend with this post as today’s tune isn’t from the 80s but from early 1990. I first heard this track in either January or February 1990.
By 1990 the acid house party was well and truly over what with the adverse publicity, the hounding of promoters and the fact that every single seemed to come with an acid house remix, stick a couple of wobbly 303 sounds on your record and you were sorted.
Dance music, however was going from strength to strength. It seemed to be fragmenting into dozens of sub genres,a new one created every week or so, this record responsible for one of those. Then there was indie dance, dance music that the NME and thousands of students could identify with as it still had guitars. Every white rock band seemed to name drop influential dance producers and state in interviews that there had always been a dance element to their music or some such shit.
I first heard Testone in the early hours one Sunday morning. When it was dropped, I remember that it stopped me in my tracks, one of those “what the fuck is that!” moments, as I hadn’t heard anything quite like before. If my memory serves me right (which is debatable, as a lot of the details around this period are hazy) I wasn’t the only one, I think that half of the club were motionless with a mixture of bafflement and awe on their faces, Bleep Techno had been born.
All of Sunday and for much of the next week I couldn’t get the track out of my head and would go on and on about this amazing tune that I had heard to anyone that would listen, I really am quite a boring git. When I eventually got hold of the track and played it to a couple of friends all they could say is “is that it?”. As I’ve said before some people just didn’t get it.
Testone was released on the Sheffield based label Warp, in my view the most influential and innovative of all the UK techno labels. It was a collaboration between Richard H Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire and DJ Parrot and took their name from the title of a 70s Curtis Mayfield album.
Sweet Exorcist – Testone