Bjork – Big Time Sensuality (Fluke Minimix) [1993]
February 16, 2011

Just wow. Want an uplifting track? Stick this on, repeat. Fluke simply supplement the original, supporting Bjork’s vocals with a bassline and unintrusive synth riff. I think its a crime this doesnt find its way onto more compilations and mixes, its just fantastic.

“I don’t know my future after this weekend, and i don’t want to” – Words to live by wouldnt you say.

From Discogs
A rather mixed bag which may not necessarily appeal to clubbers or fans of the elfin one. The Fluke mixes were what originally drew me to the single and they do a good job of brightening up the track, although there’s little variation across the 3 versions. Justin Robertson’s mixes were great at the time, but haven’t dated too well, whilst the Dom T mix still doesn’t do it in my opinion. Which leaves the Morales mix – typical uptempo rework but frustratingly short in the radio edit version included here.

The Shamen – Boss Drum (Beatmasters Boss Mix) [1992]
January 31, 2011

Whatever happened to the Beatmasters for starters? They were everywhere like a bad case of the clap back in the early 90’s and then they dropped off the face of the Earth! Regardless, they were responsible for some cracking remixes back then, a fair few of them being for The Shamen. Boss Drum, the title track from their fantastic 92 album gets a fantastic rework from the guys. Its a lot less pop’y, instead opting for a nice tribal feel with an unrelenting bassdrum and bassline secton. The vocals are still fun, easy to sing along too even though I actually prefer the Beatmasters Tribal mix which does away with them entirely. However the rest of the track is a blinder, nothing but respect for The Shamen guys, they delivered every step of the way. With the possible exception of Destination Eschaton…

The Shamen – Boss Drum (Shamen 12″ Mix) is also top quality.

From Discogs
This release is a great example of the early tendency to cross genres at the beginning stages of techno development in the early 1990s. What I mean by that is that its producer was infusing certain “pop” elements into this number – mainly the element of a memorable melody and some memorable vocals. It’s far from “pop music” however and is 100% techno by all other accounts. And The Shamen did an excellent job, too. The “Shamen’s 12″ mix” is the best (to me) and the other mixes aren’t all too bad either. One of my faves out of the earliest of techno releases and well worth the effort to find it. Listen for yourself and please, PLAY IT OUT! Your crowd will enjoy it.

The Shamen – Hyperreal (William Orbit 12″) [1990]
January 10, 2011

Masterful rework by Mr Orbit on this, one of my favourite of all time Shamen tracks. Its got Evil Dead samples, nothing not to love there. The vocal is absolute perfection with the trance riffs and the break is interesting enough to distinguish this from every other four to the floor trancer of the time. Throw in that huge sub baseline and your laughing. A milestone track from some of the most talented producers of early dance music. Classic.

From Discogs
Founded in Scotland by Colin Angus, Derek & Keith McKenzie as Alone Again Or. Later on changed their name to “The Shamen” and added member Will Sinnott in the 1980’s, fusing guitar, sampled sounds and Hip-Hop beats.

Later progressing into Acid House in 1988, and then an international chart act come the early 1990’s with Techno House and dance music sounds.

With releases going back to 1986, The Shamen were one of the early pioneers of ‘indie’ dance. ‘Jesus Loves Amerika’ (notice the spelling) was a politically-charged innovative and infectuous early release in 1988 which is now quite hard to get hold of and collectable.

The Shamen went on to have 15 hits in the British singles chart, 5 of which made the top 10. Who can forget the topical playfullness of ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ (No. 1) and the stomping greatness of ‘Move Any Mountain – Progen’ (No. 4)?

The Shamen – Pro>Gen (Land of Oz Mix) [1990]
August 3, 2010

Speaking of classic’s, we’ve been a bit light on the Shamen round here so lets kick off with probably my favourite of all their versions of Pro:Gen/Move Any Mountain, the Land of Oz mix. Its got a cracking build up, not too quick , not too long and the drop is epic. Mr C’s rapping I think shows its age a bit these days but in context, for 1990, its a revelation. Coupled with Shamen’s trademark synth work and driving basslines, there’s few things not to like!

Pro:Gen was sampled, remixed and copied over 40 odd times so for a laugh, lets see if I can list all of them;
Move Any Mountain (I.R.P Land of Oz Mix – Entact Album Release)
Move Any Mountain (Beat Mix)
Move Any Mountain (Mountains in the Sky Mix)
Move Any Mountain (F2 Mello/Alta Vista Mix)
Move Any Mountain (Landslide Edit)
Move Any Mountain (Rude Edit)
Move Any Mountain (Bonesbreak Mix)
Move Any Mountain (C.Mix)
Move Any Mountain ’96(Beatmasters 12″ Mix) **** awesome
Move Any Mountain (Beltram Mix)
Move Any Mountain (Rising High Dub)
Move Any Mountain (666/Devil Mix)

From Discogs
The one that swept the dancefloors clear of the turgid 109bpm ‘mellow house’ in late 1989/early 1990.

After the beats come in, some filtered, choppy guitar(?) chords rise powerfully and cleanly through the mix. This opening section used to fill dancefloors within ten seconds. Then a synth line drifts through, followed by a punchy riff. Then the vocals (by which point hands were waving, and neck-hairs were standing).

By the time the Mr C rap came in, the dance-floor was always pounding.

This tune was one of the first genuine cross-overs (in a number of genres – house, techno, industrial, indie, balearic), and spawned a staggering number of remixes. The Shamen were so bemused by them all that they released a triple-12″, including all the different samples used for the song, so budding producers could stitch them all together in whatever way they wanted.

This is the best version. Soulful, powerful, uplifting.

Finitribe – Forevergreen (Justin Robertson’s Forevermost Excellent Mix) [1992]
November 13, 2009

Justin Robertson Prog-Houses the shit out of this otherwise “average” house number from Finitribe. Turns it into a pounding, driving stomper with a light sprinkling of completely obscure samples. What the fuck IS “Aquatopia” anyway?

Fond memories of trying to work out what it all meant and realising it means bugger all and you should be doing more dancing, less thinking 🙂