I missed the first wave of acid house, my descent into the strange labyrinthian world of clubs, warehouse parties and raves starting around 1992 (which horrifically may still be before some of you were born), but there was still a lingering sense that all the old rules had been swept away and we were working with a clean sheet.
Of course in retrospect we were in many ways retreading a well worn groove laid out by previous generations, but at the time trapped in the eye of the psychedelic hurricane it was easy to believe we were generally pioneering something dangerously new and exciting.
From jungle to electronica every party, frequently in venues which if you managed to clear your head and look through the smoke you realised were quite possibly someone’s office during the week, seemed to throw up strange new sounds which though today might play in the background of a Tampax advert seemed so utterly alien at the time.
Of course nowadays with every piece of music recorded at our virtual fingertips it’s easy to deduce the subtle evolution of music from one form to another, one slight mutation in every generation inexorably leading us forward, but at the time it was easy to assume the mantle of sonic creationists believing that in the blink of an eye we’d somehow conjured up these delirious new sounds.
What did and to some extent does still seem so revolutionary though was how club culture, the good and unfortunately the bad, swept the nation through the mid to late nineties. From underground cult to mainstream hegemony, the rise of dance music and its avatar the DJ was as astonishing as it was unstoppable.
In the short space of a few years I remember going from screaming rows with my parents over the weird druggy music I was listening to, to waking up to the sound of my mother hoovering the house soundtracked by Fatboy Slim’s ‘You’ve Come A Long Way Baby’ album, a remarkably apt title.
One of the best books to make sense of this strange time was Matthew Collin’s Altered State. Published in 1997 it charted the rise of acid house and club culture in loving detail, from the orbital raves to the impact of the Criminal Justice Bill and the pirate radio stations that at one point seemed to be transmitting from every tower block (shout out to Don FM!).
This month sees the release of a new updated version, with Collin charting club culture’s trajectory past ’97 as it rose and rose and then spectacularly collapsed under it’s own weight around the turn of the century. If you were around at the time you’ll want to buy this to remember exactly what on earth you were up to, if you weren’t well buy it and learn from history, so much of what is sometimes missing from today’s commodified club experience can be found within these pages.
Carrying on the theme another book published later this month is Raving ’89, aimed squarely at the coffee tables of those who once wore knocked off smiley t-shirts but now actually own coffee tables. A beautiful collection of Gavin Watson’s photographs from the year acid house exploded, it’s a perfect document of a time before camera phones had become ubiquitous in clubs.
Published by the esteemed chaps over at DJhistory.com, this really is an essential document for anyone interested in seeing the early raw days of rave and has brought back some awful memories of my own sartorial mistakes (the drugs were very strong then, ok!).
For a sneak peak check out this sampler of the book.
Luckily for you we have 2 copies of Altered State and a copy of Raving ’89 to give away, simply email the answer to the question below before Friday 17th and we will pick a couple of winners at random.
Q. Where was Danny Rampling’s Shoom originally held?
Anyway all this reminiscing calls for some music so what better than a brand new mix of old tunes courtesy of the always quality Placid
Bam Bam – Give it to me – Westbrook
Farley – Love Can’t Turn Round – House
Hex Complexx – I Want You – Sunset Records
Maurice Joshua – The Other Side – Needle
Mix Masters – House Express – DJ INternational
DA Posse – In The Heat of The Night – Future
Shawn Shegog Featuring Barbara Shegog – Love Traxs – No Name
DA Rebels – It’s Time To jack The House – Clubhouse
Pierre’s Fantasy Club – I Can’t Stop For You – Max
Steve Poindexter – Mainiac – Housetime
The Children – Freedom – Dj International
Ten City – That’s the Way Love Is – Atlantic
James Jack Rabbit – Only Wanted To Be – White
The House Master Boyz And The Rude Boy Of House – House Nation – Dance Mania
Model 500 – No UFO’s – Metroplex
Master C & J – In The City – State Street
Rocky Jones – Choice of a New Generation – DJ International
Adonis & The Endless Pokers – THe Poke – DJ International
Fast Eddie – My Melody – White
Marcus Mixx – I Wanna House – Missing
Laurent X – 12am – House Nation
Fingers Inc – Never No More Lonely – Jack Trax
DA Posse – It’s My Life – Future
Scrappy – Freeze – Zap
Nouveaux Nation – Strip (Rock Yo Body) – SRO
KA Posse – Stick Music – Dj International
Jeanette Thomas – Shake Your Body – Chicago Connection