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Mixed in London, August 2009
(76:46, 138.47 MB, V0 VBR MP3)
Style: fearsome hard techno
Direct link to the mix:
01. A Guy Called Gerald – Blow Your House Down (Smith & Selway Mix) (Split Music)
02. Dave Clarke – The Storm (Bush)
03. The Hacker – No Fun (Sativae)
04. John Thomas – Shift (Minimaxima)
05. Robert Natus – Brainwash EP (Clanking) (4×4)
06. D.O.M. – Paranoid (Stay Up Forever)
07. Ignition Technician vs Nuccle – Kaos Rave (Infamous Player)
08. DJ Bam Bam – Here It Comes feat Alex Peace (Bass Heavy Music)
09. Glenn Wilson – Torment N’ Tease (Punish)
10. The Fuzz – Night Chase (Cluster)
11. Johannes Heil – Enter Club (Kanzleramt)
12. Westwood Brothers – Special Tactics 1 B2 (Construct Rhythm)
13. D.A.V.E. The Drummer & DJ Geraldine – Arpeggiator (Bound)
14. Heckmann – Teufelswerk (Wavescape)
15. Schall & Rauch – Fuckinbasskiller (Jerk)
16. D.A.V.E. The Drummer – Hydraulix 22 (Side B(Hydraulix)
17. Jim Fish & Will Bithell – Slamdance (Patterns)
18. Solvent Electron Industries – Invasion Of Privacy (Holzplatten)
19. Influence DJs – Ear Ark (UTI)
20. Paul Langley – Feed The Pony (Epochworx)
21. Jamie Bissmire – Slamm! (Feat. DJ Deeon) (50Hz)
22. Jamie Bissmire & DJ Bam Bam – Ass Up (50Hz)
23. Ben Long – 13 Poundz (Tortured)
24. DJ Special Needs – Obsession (DJ Special Needs 1) (DJ Special Needs)
25. Mr T & Thermobee – Drive By (Superconductor)
26. Sven Wittekind – Punch (Kne’ Deep)
27. Cyborg X – This Is The House (Cluster)
28. CJ Bolland – The Prophet (Internal)
All photographs taken at Apex @ Studio 24 in 1999/2000, and are used with the kind permission of Eyejack
This mix is the fourth in the Squat Rocking series of mixes, and is devoted to the hard techno sounds that I first came to really love when I was a student in Edinburgh. The following is a short essay on the Edinburgh underground scene that I was a part of for a little while.
Edinburgh Techno Daze
October 1999 – my first week in Edinburgh. Fresher’s Week at the University of Edinburgh, the annual booze-soaked welcoming week for all the first year students. Endless parties, meeting new friends, meeting girls, drinking like crazy, the whole thing.
I hated every second of it.
I’d just turned 19 and I was defiantly, passionately underground, and there was nothing, nothing I hated more than ‘cheesy music’. I went out with my new flatmates in that first week and I was appalled at what I saw – how could these people be happy to guzzle their alcopops and cheap lager to evil chartpop? What the hell was wrong with these people? Didn’t they understand?
Is there a snobbery purer than that of a teenage music fanatic?
Fortunately for me, salvation was at hand. Hitting the record stores in town I saw a flyer in a record store for a party that very Friday night with Zebedee guesting. Zebedee was one of the main dj’s in the Restless Natives collective that did free parties in and around London, whilst running the Trancentral club nights. So, I could get my fix of banging acid techno in my first week … awesome!
The night in question was called Pillbox (not blatant at all …) and it was at somewhere called Studio 24 on Calton Road. So, Friday came and off I went. The club was on a quiet road on the side of Calton Hill, nothing but warehouses and cash-and-carries; the perfect spot for an underground techno club.
As I went through the doors, little did I know that this was going to be my introduction to what was to become a home from home for me over the next couple of years …
The scene at the time mostly revolved around Studio 24 (aka Calton Studios aka The Calton), a two-floor venue on Calton Road that was home when I arrived in Edinburgh to underground dance nights like Pillbox, Subtle Logic, E-Ruptor and the mighty Apex. Other nights in Edinburgh playing similar music happened at places like the Wee Red Bar and The Venue, but most Friday nights I was at the Calton for some fist-pumping heads-down techno action. It was hardly the world’s most glamorous venue (a particular low was going into the gents one night to find that someone had curled one out in the urinal trough!), but when the place was full it could generate an unbelievable atmosphere.
Of all the nights, the best one (for me) was Apex, the club featured in all of these photographs. With a music policy covering all the crusty standbys of nu-nrg, hard trance, and hard/acid techno, it always combined fierce music with a joyous atmosphere (as you can see from the pictures). Apex was also one of my first djing experiences in Edinburgh, since it was where I won a new talent competition by playing thirty minutes of militant acid … good fun! I then got a gig at the pre-Beltane party the next month.
Beltane was always the biggest night in the scene’s calendar, falling the night before May Day. Every year, the evening kicks off with a torch-lit procession on the top of Calton Hill by the Beltane society. Drums, fire, naked people painted in primary colours … what’s not to like, eh? Then everyone would bundle down the hill to the Calton for a night of mental techno, usually with an extended 5am license. Indeed, I enjoyed myself so much at the first Beltane party I went to (translation: I drank so much) that I managed to fall down the stairs twice. Then it was back up the top of the hill after the night ended to watch the sun rise over the city. Good times! Later on, when we did Rampage, we even participated in the Beltane party, but that’s another story for another time …
Since Edinburgh is a much smaller city than London, joining its underground techno scene felt like joining a family. In London in the late 1990’s, if you were into hard underground dance you were really spoiled for choice, considering the huge number of parties both legal and illegal that you could hit up every weekend, with literally dozens of choices each month if you were into hard house, hard trance, and/or acid/hard techno. Sure, if you were out every weekend you would tend to run into many of the same faces, but it was nothing like Edinburgh, where literally every weekend you would see pretty much the same cast of characters, and, Scots being by and large friendlier than Londoners, you would pretty quickly find that you had accumulated a large group of clubbing friends.
By ‘you’, of course, I mean ‘me’. I was a very shy teenager, and so for me it was great to have built up a large group of friends within only a few months of arriving alone in Edinburgh, all through clubbing. One of the things that really helped to cement these friendships was, paradoxically, one of the things that most annoyed me about the Edinburgh club scene at first: the licensing hours. Unlike in London, where clubs were open as standard until 6am, and squat parties went on for much, much, much longer, in Edinburgh the standard was 3am, except for during the Festival, when 5am licenses were available.
God, this upset me! When you are 19 and want to dance like a lunatic all night long, the last thing you want is to be chucked out at 3am. This often led to amazing scenes at the end of the night, as crowds stomped and chanted for ONE MORE TUNE! Of course, you couldn’t just go home at three, so you would hang out outside the club until someone informed you of an after party. Once the word came by of somewhere to go on, off you went, wandering the city streets until you found the address and in you went! Most of the time you would end up in a dingy hole of a flat, with dozens of people in varying states of dishevelment, but sometimes you would end up somewhere surprisingly posh (like the time I ended up drinking til about 9am with two Scottish girls and an Ozzy guy in a massive flat overlooking the Meadows … nice!), and of course, sometimes you would arrive to a blazing row as unhappy flatmates were awoken to the fact that an entire club had been invited back on the spur of the moment. Other occupational hazards included the arrival of police at the behest of irate neighbours, often due to the very considerable noise that would accompany the party, since someone would usually consider it a good idea to start blasting music.
One of my favourite afterparty memories was from the summer of 2000, when I ended up at a party in someone’s flat in a former asylum in Craiglockhart, southwest Edinburgh. Apparently the place was going to be torn down, so they decided to do a party there. A big sound system was erected, and a roomful of loons was jumping around to banging acid, but the nicest part was that there was a big garden outside, so a group of us got to go outside and relax in the grass as the sun came up, thundering kicks echoing in the background. That one didn’t end all that well, though, as the landlord sent round some goons to kick everyone out, so we took off when they started facing off with the crusties.
Sometimes things would go sour, as happened when my flatmate Rob and I were chilling in the hallway at an afterparty when one of the flatmates, off their head on acid, came flying out of the bedroom spinning in circles, completely stark naked. Very funny the first time, but by the fifth and sixth times it was obvious he was losing it pretty badly, so his flatmates kicked everyone out in order to try and calm him down. Not a pretty sight.
Summertime meant free party time; all-night outdoor parties by the Blackford Quarry or further afield in the countryside. One of my personal favourites was a party in a farmer’s barn near North Berwick that was organized by a few friends. I ended up playing the all-important sunrise set, playing blistering acid trance that climaxed in soaring, swooping melodies as daylight filled the barn. Awesome stuff! Not so awesome was having to carry a massive a box of records back on the train …
Besides friendship and adventure, the Edinburgh scene also offered me music. When I arrived in Edinburgh I was a militant partisan of acid techno/trance … I firmly agreed with Chris Liberator: â€œtechno purists suck on this!â€ I hated ‘purist’ techno because it was boring and not crazy or ‘underground’ enough and, oh, who knows, a bunch of other reasons that are stupid in retrospect. Beggars can’t be choosers, though, and as Edinburgh’s scene more and more began to revolve around straight-up hard techno, I realized that if I wanted to go out and dance (and that’s what I did want!) then I was going to have to get used to it.
Of course, just as often you learn to love a food once you try it, having mistakenly resisted it because it seems ‘icky’, so I found over time that I loved hard techno, especially in the hands of a skilful dj, one who was capable of cutting, scratching, and generally manipulating techno, flipping from crunching percussion and thundering bass to soothing melodies in a flick of a wrist.
Besides my flatmate Rob, whose fondness for crunching European techno gradually infiltrated my skull, the other key factor in driving me deeper into techno was Dogma, the successor clubnight to Apex, which pursued a more straightforward techno path. Although initially dubious, over time I became a total convert, buying it, playing it, and, of course, raving to it like a total maniac.
This mix is thus a tribute to the Edinburgh hard techno scene that gave me so many quality nights out, so many good friends, and so many excellent memories. Like the other Squat Rocking mixes, it aims to showcase no messing underground rave music put together in a true free party spirit.
a few more pics from Apex …