The penultimate compilation review of 1993 contains an interesting if somewhat defensive editorial about the UK music scene. “The reason that the UK is failing to produce new waves is not to do with the decline of the UK as a talent source, but simply because anything that might represent a new wave has now been sensibly marginalised into a small stream or a babbling brook.” The back cover indicates 18 exclusive tracks but only 17 listed with the Sultans Of Ping FC and Mindless Drug Hoover sharing the last index.
Begin the begin: it’s Autechre and the excellent Lanx 3, a track that makes this sort of compilation worth buying. Moody bass and a melody slipping inside this house before gradually becoming distorted. They mention the upcoming Incunabula which touched down at the end of November ’93. “Melodic industrial soundtracks” and all that. Next are Curve with Low And Behold, acidic cyber beauty which manages to be bitter and sad while oddly uplifting as I recall dark college evenings, fortified by the Dunkin’ Donuts special of coffee, sandwich & donut. It ended up on the Superblaster single, an era that more people need to revisit. Meanwhile Underworld’s Why Why Why is a (much shorter) remix of a track taken from the Rez promo 12″. Keeping it real are The Wonder Stuff and Swell (Dub Version Remix Thing); the interview fondly recalls good times with The Bass Thing.
We go back to Warp for track 5, B12’s Scriptures which appeared on Artificial Intelligence 2 in a slightly longer variant. This is really melancholic ambient stuff and their Electro-Soma LP would later provide a soundtrack to a memorable London trip. Breaking the spell are The Butthole Surfers and their overlong Who Was In My Room Last Night. The text rubbishes Piouhgd and claims it’s their nadir; I beg to differ and say that Independent Worm Saloon has nothing to offer. As an aside, I also enjoyed the Greatest Albums Of All Time feature which places The Glitter Band’s People Like You & People Like Me (1975) firmly at the top of the tree. Recorded live at Oscillate, Delta by Higher Intelligence Agency is a remix, a spiraling glacial trip setting controls in a manner befitting Steve Hillage. It’s expertly paired with the comedown ambient fusion of Juno Reactor’s Laughing Gas.
James hit critical paydirt on Laid and Skindiving 1-3-4 is its representative here, albeit in remixed form courtesy of Marcus Drars. Wonderfully sparse and the career overview & discussion is excellent. Next is the dreamy original version of Global Communication’s Sublime Creation that slinks fabulously into the chilly Love 2 Love (Sun Electric) recorded at Berlin’s Love Parade. December 1993 saw two new 12″ singles from The Fall – Behind The Counter in two parts with some stunning B-Sides. The pink part 1 had War and Cab Driver with the blue part 2 showcasing M5 on the A-Side with Happy Holiday and Behind The Counter (Remix) on the flip. War is on this edition of Volume and is great, a cover of a rather po-faced Henry Cow track (were they ever any other way?) The Q&A is good fun:
“War: who is to blame?
Stupid, daft Europeans, as always.”
The Afghan Whigs’ Gentlemen remains one my favourite albums of 1993; a bleak and arresting aural landscape. Little Girl Blue comes across as a dirge of four simultaneous tunes but is no Zaireeka. The distortion waves of Submarine’s Pollen fits in well here but is somewhat trying. And the less said about Come’s City Of Fun the better. So thank God for Elastica and S.O.F.T. – a track that eventually made it to the ’95 debut LP but is somewhat rawer here. The band express reservations about being part of a new English wave due to fleg worries. And Donna’s from Wales. Finally, we end with two for the price of one. Teenage Drug was the Sultans Of Ping FC’s underrated second album, full of glam bits. Niall fondly recalls Iggy Pop’s wonderful performance at Féile ’93. Co-sign, it was top. A few seconds later, there’s a stoner bonus from Mindless Drug Hoover – Reefer. Exit.
Curve – Low And Behold
The Fall – War
Lest we forget
Autechre – Lanx 3