Madonna – Swim [1998]
October 21, 2014

I went back and took a listen through the whole of Ray of Light for the first time in god only knows how long. No remixes, no edits, the original album. Possibly the first time since 1998 if I’m honest. Incredible to hear how its not dated in the slightest, still sounds as progressive as the day it was released. A really superb showcase of Madge’s superior talents that so sadly got lost in the maelstrom of the Pop Dross we’re subjected too daily. But I think its safe to say that while she’s got some exemplorary pipes, the winner on Ray Of Light is William Orbit. Given the money, and from what i’ve heard, the time, he kicked out one of the seminal crossover pop albums of the decade.

The album weaves pop down into practically every flavour of electronica keeping the album from taking itself too seriously and providing entertainment for anyone. For me, Swim is one of my favourites by a mile. Where Drowned World is a sweeping declaration of fame rejection and Ray of light the title club banger. Swim sits comfortably those two behemoths with a relaxed but solid groove in its pocket and a wry smile on its face. Absolutely brilliant.

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Bassomatic – Fascinating Rhythm (Lisa Loud Mix) [1990]
September 14, 2011

Probably one of the very best tracks released in 1990 and one of the very best examples of why electronic music became so huge. Since, this track isnt a house tune, nor is it a hardcore track. Its not techno, its not ragga, reggae or any other classification. Its all of them and none of them all at the same time. I also had no idea that Mr William Orbit was actually part of the Bassomatic crew, not that im surprised. Now I hear this track again and you can see his signature style all over it. Catchy hooks, rolling basslines, irreverent breaks in composition to keep the melody interesting but most of all, flawless production. The bass is pushed to the very limit of its range, so its loud without distorting, absolutely crucial to this track as the bassline is what dominates the entire track. I could gush about Fascinating Rhythm for hours, its without a doubt one of my favourite tracks of all time.

From Discogs
I remember very well hearing this for the first time aged just 9 years old on the Chart Show that used to be on Saturdays on ITV at 1200hrs, and i absolutely loved it. I think from that moment on, without realizing it, i knew i was going to end up being a music junkie. I still do to this very day. It’s all about the Lisa Loud remix here, odd because i never knew she provided the killer remix it until recently.

The track is a very odd hybrid of hip-hop tempo and break with a house feel and house sounds. The vocal is actually very good and fits perfectly. Those chrods are sublime and there are some nice keys in the chorus that compliment the vocals. It’s very hooky and very melodic.

It just goes to show how good those early acid house days really were, this tune is a melting pot of influences, whereas records today have to be neatly filed as house or techno, or trance, or dubstep which is not what music should be about.

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)?