right-click on the title and save as to download
Cover by Pirate Vereker
Mixed in London in January 2012, using 100% vinyl on two Technics 1210’s and a Pioneer DJM600 mixer
(65:02, 155 MB, 320 KBPS MP3)
Style: Old School Acid House/Techno/Trance
Direct link to the mix: http://sonicrampage.org/mixes/silverbox/Pearsall-SlavesToTheSilverBox(OldSchoolMixMarathonV).mp3
01. Lenny Dee vs DJ Edge – 303 + 606 (Edge)
02. Ray & G.O.D. – Love Inside (Time Unlimited)
03. Kult of Krameria – Love & Happiness (Warning Inc)
04. Winx – Hypnotizin’ (Sorted)
05. Hardfloor – Trancescript (Harthouse)
06. Underground Resistance – Communications Silence (Underground Resistance)
07. Nostrum – Acid House (Mono Mix) (Time Unlimited)
08. The Rising Sons – Afghan Acid (Toxic 2 Remix) (Extortion)
09. Emmanuel Top – Lobotomie (NovaMute)
10. The Aloof – Mind (Instrumental) (Flaw)
11. Tim Taylor & Dan Zamani – The Horn Track (The Pump Panel Remix) (Missile)
12. Time Stretch Armstrong – The Driving Force (Stay Up Forever)
13. Awex – It’s Our Future (Plastic City)
14. Tesox – Go Ahead London (Plastic City)
15. Wicked Wipe – Rok Da House (Original Slaughterhouse Mix) (Virtual)
16. DJ Randy – Enter Load (Smoke Free DJ Tools)
17. SOB – Intent To Deceive (Cluster)
18. DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access (X-Trax)
19. Millsart – Step To Enchantment (Stringent) (Axis)
Although this mix has already been featured on Sonicrampage alongside the rest of the Old School Mix Marathon V mixes, I thought that it would be pretty neat to also do a separate post where I talked through all of the individual tracks, in order to give a bit of background, as well as to explain the thinking that went into planning, programming, and mixing this set. So that is what I have done!
Additionally, you will have noticed that the cover of this mix is particularly excellent, and is way better than my usual efforts … because it was not done by me! The cover was done by an old school friend of mine, Tom ‘Pirate’ Vereker, a guy with whom I spent many a happy night raving to acid techno in various dingy London squat parties back when we were teenagers. Since Tom is now an artist in San Francisco, it seemed highly fitting that I ask him to do the cover. I love the result!
All of the artwork featured in this post is by him, so please watch the two embedded videos, and make sure to click through and check out his site!
303 + 606 – The mix kicks off with a hardcore track from two rave legends – Lenny Dee and DJ Edge – that I have actually played at the wrong speed, i.e. 33 rpm as opposed to its ‘correct’ 45 rpm. At its normal speed this is a somewhat crappy acid tune with tinny drums, whereas played slower it becomes a much fatter slice of hypnotic acid house, a minimal roller that pays excellent tribute to two of Roland’s iconic synths, the 303 bassline machine (i.e. the legendary silver box of the title) and the 606 drum machine. A perfect start – simple, elegant, and compelling.
Love Inside – Gregor Dietz and Raymond Beyer released a number of excellent hard trance tunes on Time Unlimited in the 90’s, my favorite being Target Planet, as featured on Rampage Archives 4. Flip that tune over and you have Love Inside, a stripped-down acid roller, where clanking drums meet infinitely regressing 303 lines. As you can tell, what I was trying to achieve at the start of this set was the establishment of a hypnotic, almost minimal, vibe where the listener is slowly drawn in to the sounds, before the mix gets harder, faster, and wilder …
Love & Happiness – … A process that continues with this tribal acid number from Portugal’s Kult of Krameria. I am not sure I have ever actually heard this tune played in an acid set, which is a shame because it is an excellent little number, which I’ve loved ever since first hearing it on the Portugal: Totally Mixed compilation. It’s not particularly complicated – typical 90’s tribal house drums with a little acid stab over the top – but it fits the vibe like a glove, and provides a nice jumping-off point for the next tune.
Hypnotizin’ – After three tracks of sparse acid house, all clanking drums and rippling 303s, it was time to switch things up, which is why I dropped Josh Wink’s classic Hypnotizin’ next. Philadelphia’s Wink was, in my personal opinion, one of the greatest American techno/house producers of the 90’s, and one of the finest exponents of 303-abuse, period. His most famous acid tune was, of course, the legendary Higher State of Consciousness, where funky breaks met a metric fuckton (actual scientific measurement) of screaming 303 euphoria. Hypnotizin’, while less famous, is a tune that I have always actually preferred, due to its lovely combination of deep house vamps, chunky breakbeats, and, eventually, squealing acid. Excellent stuff.
Trancescript – No vintage acid mix is complete without a tune from the German acid masters: Hardfloor! Having utilized Trapped in the Silver Box and Into the Nature on previous mixes, I again turned to their epochal album TB Resuscitation to pick out this gem. Metronomic beats and slowly thickening layers of acid drive this tune onwards and upwards towards a euphoric breakdown …
Communications Silence – … Which I pretty much skipped entirely! Who needs a big hands in the air moment when you can just quickly segue into more pulsing acid, right? And what pulsing acid it is, from Underground Resistance’s brain-scramblingly awesome Acid Rain III double-pack. Like much of the finest Detroit techno, this manages to derive a massive dancefloor punch from a relatively limited sonic palette. Basically nothing more than a kick, a hi-hat and an acid line, this is a fine example of how less really can be more. It also which mixes beautifully into the next tune.
Acid House (Mono Mix) – As with Ray and G.O.D., Nostrum is mostly known for his hard trance (check Meke’s Nostrumo mix to hear all of his biggest tunes in one sitting), but when he wanted to he could also kick out other styles, like this wonderful acid techno gem, a tune guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any acid lover.
Afghan Acid (Toxic 2 Remix) – Next up is this vintage remix from New York’s Damon Wild and Ray Love. Like so many other great acid tunes, this one kicks off with a solid 303 groove that slowly builds and develops as more layers of acid are strung across the top of the rhythmic structure, like crazy criss-crossing patterns of laundry lines between tenement buildings. As with Trancescript, this tune builds to a big breakdown (this one Middle Eastern-flavored, hence the title) which, in order to keep the groove going, I skip.
Lobotomie – And with the next tune up being as good as this Emmanuel Top classic, why not skip the fluffy breakdown and get on with things? France’s Emmanuel Top was the master of long, deep, dark acid tracks, his ice cold sound a perfect sonic distillation of a particular feeling: that moment when your mind and body would lock into sequence with the music and you would dance until morning without complaint. This is music for dark, dingy warehouses, for those unexplainable dancefloor moments that are beyond rational conception, that special collective hypnosis that occurs where hypnotic music meets a dark room. Can you imagine a track like this in the Ibiza sunshine?
Mind (Instrumental) – The Aloof were a kind of early 90’s dance music super group, bringing together members of The Sabres Of Paradise, Red Snapper, and West London Deep, with vocalist Ricky Barrow. Their output was mostly early trip-hop and various experiments in dub-influenced downbeat electronica, but they also made some more pumping stuff, including some decent dubby house bits (and some progressive house, but since I have no interest in prog house, I’ll just skip that!). Amongst their 4/4 tunes was this one, which is a bit of an unknown acid monster. Hypnotic, pulsing, highly danceable – this is real trance music.
The Horn Track (The Pump Panel Remix) – The Pump Panel were responsible for one of the great acid tunes, Confusion, as featured in the vampire disco scene at the start of the first Blade film. They were also responsible for a whole slew of other brilliant acid tunes, such as Ego Acid and this remix, where they morph Egyptian Empire’s hardcore classic into a stomping acid techno monster … approach with caution!
The Driving Force – At about forty minutes in, I figured it was about time to throw in a tune from the London acid techno crew, so I chose this relatively unknown b-side from Time Stretch Armstrong, aka The Geezer and D.A.V.E. The Drummer. Generally speaking, this isn’t really a London acid techno mix, so if that’s more what you are after, I’d suggest checking out my 7D The Seven Dimensions of Euphoria mix from last year for 90 minutes of pure squat party acid mayhem. This particular tune works really well in the context of this mix, serving as a bridge to the final third of the mix, which is on more of an acid techno-trance tip than the earlier part of the mix.
It’s Our Future – Anthem alert! If most of the mix up to this point was fairly obscure, It’s Our Future is anything but. A monster acid techno-trance tune from Tom Wax and Thorsten Adler, it was an anthem in techno, trance, and acid circles, hammered by dj’s as diverse as Tony de Vit and Carl Cox, as well as being the top track of the 1995 Berlin Love Parade. Built around a killer acid loop and a voice repeating “it’s our … future” over and over and over again, this one worms its way into your head and refuses to escape. If you’ve ever heard this one in a club, you’ll know just how efficiently it destroys dancefloors.
Go Ahead London – As does this track! Another Plastic City classic, this hypnotic acid monster is a fine example of German techno engineering.
Rok Da House (Original Slaughterhouse Mix) – Wicked Wipe was a collaboration between Holger Wick & Peter Ohnacker, a.k.a. Hoschi and R-Damski, two of the best German hard trance producers of the 90’s. As you would expect from them, Rok Da House is absolutely massive, thumping rhythms coated in crazed acid, with an explosive drop erupting from a quirky, downtempo, almost rock-ish breakdown. Yes, this is another dancefloor beast – by this point of the mix the jugular has been well and truly grabbed and I am just not letting go. If the whole point of doing a mix like this is to gradually build the intensity upwards, there comes a point at which you have to just go for it. That point has been reached.
Enter Load – DJ Randy is another favorite producer of mine. A Dutch master of the junction of techno and trance, his Smoke Free DJ Tools label released some absolutely essential tunes in the 1990’s, with tracks like Pandomia, Fusion, More and More, or this one, Enter Load, working equally well in techno, hard trance, hard house, or acid sets. Which is a rare and useful thing! In fact, just to underscore his consistency and versatility, this is actually the third track from this twelve inch that I have used in a mix, with More And More having appeared on Eurotrash 2 and G.O.D. appearing on Eurotrash 3. Enter Load itself is a pounding techno-trance workout, all relentless kick, crashing percussion, and punchy stabs – simple but oh so effective.
Intent To Deceive – Here’s another banging bit of acid techno from one of the leading squat party techno labels. Except this one appeared on Cluster, which was for a long time the scene’s designated non-acid label. Confusing? A bit. Even so, this tune is somewhat different to the more traditional London acid techno sound, and as such fits very well within this whole mix. It’s a relentlessly driving acid banger, without any hint of the usual trance-style build-up-and-breakdown formula used on labels like Stay Up Forever, Routemaster, Smitten, and Bionic Orange. A hard kick and some relentlessly modulating 303 – what’s not to love?!?
Access – I usually pride myself on trying to go beyond just the obvious classics, so that my mixes are both fun to listen to and (yes! I’m really saying this!) educational at the same time. What can I say? I really enjoy digging out the lesser-known gems and showing off my knowledge of the more obscure corners of dance music. But that does not mean I am against anthems … no sir! And what better way to finish off this mix than with two of the mightiest acid techno anthems ever committed to wax? Access was probably one of the biggest tunes of 1995, a crossover monster that found its way into the sets of some of the biggest names in trance, techno, and acid. Like a truly great pizza or hamburger, Access doesn’t do anything massively different from a million other acid tunes … it just does it better. Pacy and beautifully structured, its rock-solid kick and distinctive beeping coda immediately grab hold of the dancefloor as the swirls of acid build and develop to a euphoric climax. 18 years later, it’s still as fresh as a daisy, and will continue to destroy raves until the end of time. A true classic, and certainly the best tune ever released on X-Trax. Misjah and Tim have never topped this.
Step To Enchantment (Stringent) – To finish off I have gone with perhaps my favorite acid tune ever, the utterly mind-blowing ‘Step To Enchantment’ by Jeff Mills, under his Millsart alias. As far as I am concerned, this is pretty much the platonic ideal of acid techno – hard-charging rhythms overlaid with multiple layers of churning, twisting 303 lines. I first heard this as an end-of-the-night tune at a techno party at Edinburgh’s Wee Red Room back in about 2000, and within a couple bars I had charged the dj booth to find out what it was. I’m not the world’s biggest Jeff Mills fan – honestly, a lot of his stuff leaves me a bit cold – but this is just incredible. I can think of absolutely no better tune to finish this mix off with.
And that is that … I hope you enjoyed the ride!
Enjoy this mix? Please consider making a donation to help support Sonicrampage