X-Static – Free [1991]
April 4, 2011

Oh yes, y’all know this. The track samples the cracking vocal hook of “The sounds in the air will make you move and groove” from Jomanda’s On Top (Of The Groove) from 1986. It then drops in a great rumbling moog-y bassline and rolling break, tosses in that synth riff that is so cheesetastic you cant help but grin and then tops it off with a piano riff that can rip the roof off any place. The pace was slow enough that you could find it mixed into house sets, bridging different hardcore break tempo’s and drops very nicely into an array of R&S techno releases from around the same time. An oft overlooked classic.

From Discogs
I bought this records about 11 or 12 years ago when I was about 14 or 15 years old and here in the Midwest, USA, was having trouble finding oldschool hardcore, acid house and other classic dance music. I bought some records from an online dealer, but he was out of stock of one of the records I ordered so he returned some of my money and sent copy of “Free” for free as an apology for the part of my order he couldn’t fill, he said he thought I would like it based on previous purchases of mine. I had actually thought about buying it as I had heard it before online, but having the actual vinyl it became one of my favorite oldschool tracks, The original version has such a nice vibe and the remix was always good for raging or rolling or while otherwise altered. The production isn’t extremely clean, it’s ind of dark and murky (?) in parts, especially on the remix which adds to its ravey vibe. And the vinyl is heavy and pressed super loud. You can always find copies real cheap here on discogs and it’s more than worth picking one up if you’re into this era of breakbeat and dance music, and it in my opinion it’s one of the best earlier releases on Production House,

Acen – Trip II The Moon (Kaleidoscopiklimax Mix) [1993]
March 1, 2011

The final mix of the wonderful Trip II The Moon series, called the Kaleidoscopiklimax Mix but for many it’ll always be affectionally known as Trip II The Moon Part 3. In a major departure from the first two, you’ve got a whole ton of new samples, the break is different with a completely different feel. If part two was the Darkside, this is the Melancholic side. If almost to acknowledge the final sunset of hardcore as it began to fracture into Jungle/Drum & Bass darkness and over the top Hardcore Cheese, The Kaleidoscopiklimax mix is a wry nod to the years and sounds before it. Its got the lot, heavy basslines, that huge piano break in the middle, the banging synth riffs and all the chipmunk samples you could want. The closing piano just caps off the greatness of the tune, building back up into the last hurrah. A legendary track that in my opinion never got the attention it deserved. Likely because the scene it was reminiscing had already moved on. Awesome.

From Discogs
I accidentally heard “Kaleidascopiklimax” very recently in an old mix i did, And i dare i say it, That is one of the only records in my collection that nearly reduces me to tears when i hear it. Not only that, But the flip side “obsessed 2” is pretty much more of the same, Its all very emotional, but its that very thing that makes this record what it is. Powerful stuff, not many oldskool breakbeat records can do that to a grown man.

Mr. Acen Razvi, the man behind the amazing “Trip To The Moon” series and considered part of Production House amazing talents, surprised everyone with the B Siede of his (Kaleidoscopiklimax) single, Honoring the Junglists greatest tradition of Breakbeat samples: “Obsessed II (Pictures Of Silence)” got no less than the drummers of “Funky Mule”, a classic by Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm of 1969. On the A Side you can hear “We’re On The Move”, a sample of a timeless classic by Sinnamon (by the way one of the greatest male vocals of the dance music history); Eric B & Rakim are also remembered with a fragment of “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em”.

Acen – Trip II the Moon (Part 2 – The Darkside) [1992]
March 1, 2011

About six months after Trip 2 The Moon came out, Acen released the second journey, Trip II The Moon Pt 2. For me, this is the best of the lot, the arrangement is more cohesive, better use of the orchestral pieces overall better structured. Bizarre considering the samples for the most part, from the original. I think its the better use of the synth that sells it for me, evoking memories of Close Your Eyes. Overall, a whole less cheddary than the original in my opinion!

From Discogs
Disregard the review by Sal-volatile the guy has no understanding of the rave scene if he did then his review would not of been posted this is one of the best remixes ever of his first tune you could not get much better acen represented rave in all its form and glory this takes the first version on a sharp bend to the sinister not surprising as the rave scene was heading directly towards that position he cemented his reputation in rave history by this song and close your eyes this had more of an impact still sends a shiver down my spine quality hardcore of the finest type the riff is awesome for that period even Doc Scott sampled his tracks anyone who thinks this track is week go away and listen to mainstream!!!!!!!

Acen – Trip II the Moon (Part 1) [1992]
March 1, 2011

A track that needs almost no introduction, played to death, loved by all. The break is brutal, offset with all those strings, the synth is well cheeky, plenty of hiphop samples as only the Acen boys could. This found its way into practically every break driven dj mix of 1991, I cant think of a time that I didnt hear it. When I say im into hardcore, Trip II the Moon is almost always the track cited first.

From Discogs
When I first heard Trip To The Moon I was shocked. It was the greatest things my ears ever went through. To this day when this track gets played I go crazy. The memories it brings and the joy it has giving me for eternity. This track has everything you can want. When you hear this track get ready to be lost and find yourself never wanting to return. I never have returned since.One way ticket to the moon. Parts 1 and 2 a masterpiece. Move over Mona Lisa!! This is the real deal!

Acen / Production House really were on a roll with releases like this back in the day. They had a canny knack of using samples creatively and loads of ideas that on paper just shouldn’t work. I remember tracking this down alongside a copy of Part 2 to my local Our Price in Colchester, safe to say it was one of the best £10.00 I’ve spent on records… a great release, essential rave and pretty hard to beat. I remember hearing Kevin Saunderson playing it in Brighton at an all-nighter as one of his last records and it really did set the party off… why aren’t records like this any more?

Acen – Close Your Eyes (xxx Mix) [1991]
March 1, 2011

You know, there’s been absolutely no Acen around these parts since I started the blog. Can you believe that, we have cruelly overlooked the contribution of one of the biggest hardcore acts in history! Well, time to put and end to that, kicking off with one of my favourites, the XXX Mix of Close Your Eyes. Yep, its the one you heard everywhere and for good bloody reason. Its a heavy breakbeat assault of epic proportions, lots of subbase, Public Enemy samples and that hypnotic “Close Your Eyes” vocal. Its all great… until that synth hits and then its a whole different ballgame. It just took a great hardcore track into legendary status BOOOOOOM!!! Here come the drums INDEED! Class!

From Discogs
If one tune encapsulates the genius of Acen for me, then “Close Your Eyes (XXX Mix)” is the one. I have never come accross another hardcore track which appears to squeeze a whole “rave” into it’s 7 minute running time.
With it’s energetic start to warm you up. “Close Your Eyes (XXX Mix)” then builds up in intensity with mentasmic rave stabs, Jim Morrison/Public Enemy samples and rolling breakbeats (NWA’s “Straight Out Of Compton”???). Then then the “rush” hits you near the end with these almost heavenly synths and exclamations of “ECSTACY!!!”.
For a non-drug user to feel such feelings of elation when hearing this track, just goes to show the sheer brilliance of Acen’s compositions. Throwaway, rave-crap??? Not a chance!

What can you say about this track? This track just says ‘Dreamscape and seriously good times’. Probably one tune Ill never ever get bored of hearing. Everyone talks about the Beatles sample but for me the killer line has always been the Jim Morrison [Doors]line…..”Just close your eyes….go insane”. Godammn this track STULL makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.11/10

The House Crew – We Are Hardcore [1992]
December 14, 2009

Monster tune, absolutely monster break and what a piano breakdown. Slackened the hell out of my Dreamscape 2 Bukem tape replaying this bad boy. I can even forgive the chipmunk for the quality of that piano drop.

“Feel the melody that’s in the air” sample on We Are Hardcore taken from Back To Life (Acapella) by Soul II Soul.
“Are You Ready?” sample on We Are Hardcore taken from Don’t Miss The Party Line by Bizz Nizz.

Baby D – Let Me Be Your Fantasy (Ruffer Xtended Mix) [1992]
December 2, 2009

Yeah we all know it. The damn track has been reissued like 37 times and remixed twice that number of times. Honestly, ive never been super super keen on the vocal/piano, probably due to the overplay. But nobody ever lets it get to the bangin’ acid riff half way through which I think is a crying shame. No MC in this version either, just big break, rocking bass and a chewy acid riff. Gwaan!

“Underground / is where we wanna go movin’ / house the crowd” sample taken from the acapella All We Wanna Do Is Dance (The Message) by The House Crew (also on Production House).