Arriving just before the Christmas festivities of 1991, Essential Hardcore was marketed as containing “20 crucial dance cuts.” Setting the scene: The Love Decade’s cheesy So Real (Massive Mix); never a contender for Creation’s Keeping The Faith. After well-known epics from Rozalla and 2 Unlimited, it’s the arrival of the furious loops: SL2’s massive DJs Take Control. Quoting The Hypernaught, “I miss those days. The love and happiness. The lack of ego. People from all walks of life getting together.”
Seal’s Killer as remixed by William Orbit; the track had been re-recorded for his debut album which was produced by Trevor Horn. The music video used computer-generated science-fiction themed imagery, largely built around a partial re-creation of the MC Escher print Another World. The video was produced and directed by Don Searll and won British Video of the Year at the 1992 Brit Awards. Another memorable visual promo was Simply Red’s uptempo and addictive Something Got Me Started which was filmed in Seville. Elsewhere Sabrina Johnson’s soulful Friendship gives way to Yo Yo Honey’s nice ‘n’ chilled Groove On and 2 For Joy’s ecstatic Let The Bass Kick. Absolute belters in tow: Bizarre Inc’s Playing With Knives and Altern 8’s Active-8. “Top one, nice one, get sorted.”
Anticappella: Discogs notes that they were a mysterious band and confirms that it was a project controlled by Gianfranco Bortolotti. 2√231, an instrumental classic, which became a memorable sound during 1991. We continue to cover shared ground with Deep Heat 11 – Spirit Of Ecstasy with Shades Of Rhythm and Control. Meanwhile Lords Of Acid plough a frantic furrow on the hazy Take Control with Techno Line maintaining the BPMs on the shiny Time To Sweat. No (energy) flash in the pan, Joey Beltram’s monster creation The Omen coupled with LA Style’s austere James Brown Is Dead. The hardcore stays relentless on Pacific 231’s 21st Century Schizoid Man. Do not file under progressive rock. And to end, it’s The Shamen’s gorgeously isolationist Possible Worlds. Not sure exactly which mix but definitely 1991 as it’s got a Mr C credit.
I purchased En-Tact from Blitz Records in Waterford sometime in late 1990. Blitz was run by a guy called Liam and was located on Arundel Square near Enterprise Home Care. He once shared a flat with The Senseless Things. When the Manic Street Preachers played a 25 minute set at the Back Of The Mansion on 26 April 1991, the shop was flooded with people the next day – all looking for the Motown Junk 12″. He only had the one copy. Back To The Shamen: there are two versions of En-Tact, the original 1990 release and a remixed almost poppier version in 1991. The UK LP can be replicated digitally as follows:
Tracks 01 – 04 from the UK CD
Track 05 is Evil is Even (Edit) from the US CD
Track 06 – 09 are Tracks 05 – 08 from the UK CD
Track 10 is Hear Me from the US CD
“In the best of all possible worlds
Nothing is impossible”
Simply Red – Something Got Me Started
Lords Of Acid – Take Control
Seal – Killer (William Orbit Mix)
Lest we forget
Anticappella – 2√231
Hardcore Ecstasy was released at the beginning of November 1991 – just before the usual Christmas compilation rush. One of the strongest in the series, its more obscure numbers are genuinely strong and somewhat dark in tone, which reflect the rather turbulent times I was living in. On the menu: Mizzoni’s pizza + Linden Village. In 1991, Dino Entertainment (Eire) Limited had an Irish office address at The Stockyard, 20 Sheriff Street Upper, Dublin 1. Long gone, it’s now occupied by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau Dublin. Using “Eire” to describe the Republic of Ireland was considered quaint even then.
“20 activ cuts” gets underway with five well-known mashed-up bangers from Rozalla, Oceanic, Sabrina Johnston, Brothers In Rhythm and Heavy D & The Boyz. In fact, across the whole CD we’re covering territory explored on Now Dance ’91 and The Ultimate Rave. Meanwhile you can file DJ H featuring Steffy under Italian Project, a beaming blast of poppy house that never fails to ignite. Driza Bone’s mid-paced Real Love is followed by Cola Boy: Seven Ways To Love was written by Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs with Sarah Cracknell singing on the original white label. If it looks like a duck. . . “No. It’s too cheesy for Saint Etienne. We’d have been finished overnight.” So the track was re-recorded for Arista with Janey Lee Grace on vocals and Andrew Midgley making up the duo. A loved-up, hands in the air E anthem with a gorgeous bassline and a warm euphoric sound.
Information on Powercut or Nubian Prinz is extremely scarce. The laidback jazzy style of Girls comes off as cheesy at first but gradually takes hold. It turned up on two other compilations I own – one Belgian, the other Dutch – but nowhere else. In the zone, Patrick Cools or DJPC with the relentless hardcore techno sound of Insomniak followed by Zentropa’s swirling rhythms of Ecstatic. And then Energy Flash, an all time classic from Joey Beltram, all murky synths and chugging bass. Runs for 3:41 but you need the full take. Astronica says “A relentless sonic assault that hooks you tightly and reels you in for more time and time again.” Moving on: the harder-edged Rainforest Mix of Moby’s Go and Nomad’s forgettable Something Special. Keeping music evil, the enigmatic Syco with the mutant dark house Night Of The Demon. 88 Harolds Cross Road nightmares. “Last Will and testament” (NME) goes to The Shamen’s Move Any Mountain (Landslide Mix).
DJPC – Insomniak
Joey Beltram – Energy Flash
DJ H featuring Steffy – I Like It
Lest we forget
Syco – Night Of The Demon
Hardcore Dancefloor, the second volume in the series, was released at the end of June 1991. After the topical and everlasting Gypsy Woman, it’s a flashback to the last days of The Bridge Hotel with Nomad’s rather underwhelming Just A Groove. All hail T99 and their bombastic Euro dance of Anasthasia; another memory slap from Top Of The Pops May 1991. Professional 2 cramming to the Belgian bangers. There’s a triple play from the Now That’s What I Call Music 19 era before Cool 2 get funky with the Kool & The Gang-inspired Kinda Groovy. And now for a UK soul classic – Soul Family Sensations’s I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby as remixed by the legendary Marshall Jefferson.
On Jive, the slickest of R&B cuts, Hi-Five’s super smooth I Like The Way (The Kissing Game). Produced by Teddy Riley and taken from the Waco boys’ 1990 debut LP, the video has an exceptionally large amount of dark colours and shadows in contrast to the somewhat light-hearted tune that plays. Singer Tony Thompson died in 2007; a tragic end. Despite being advertised as The Peanut Butter Mix (3:31), the version of Groove Is In The Heart is actually the one as featured on the World Clique LP (3:51). The unfamiliar D-Word and the Chic-sampling Get’n Funk.e is rather ordinary and overshadowed by Ice Ice Baby (Revised Version) – the latter sounding like the album version. Elsewhere there’s BVSMP’s smooth Hold Me, that sees them try hard but fail to capture the spirit of ’88.
“Step back and give ’em some room! Quartet of future divas fresh from the Foster and McElroy stable deliver intricate, tight harmonies with a dash of sass on this groove-laden debut.” (Billboard)
Hardcore Dancefloor concludes with one of the most significant tracks of the era. It can only be En Vogue – Hold On which kicks off with an untouchable acappella snippet from Who’s Lovin’ You (originally recorded by The Miracles) before sliding into a killer groove. Some words:
“Summer 1990. You couldn’t escape this track, but damn was this shit bumping.” (B-Jo)
En Vogue – Hold On
Hi-Five – I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)
Marshall Jefferson – I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby
Lest we forget
T99 – Anasthasia (Valentine Boy’s Radio Mix)