Analogue Bye Bye – A weekly dip into the piles of old vhs’s, tapes and vinyl taking over my flat before they’re sent to the great format heaven in the sky (otherwise known as landfill). The only problem being I haven’t managed to put stuff up weekly yet, and the postmen keeps arriving with fresh vinyl despite my best efforts not to click BUY. Anyway on with the music.

Along with Coldcut, Bomb The Bass & The Beatmasters, S-Express were one of the heavy weights of the 1988/89 period when dance music first stormed the UK charts. In what seemed like an instant the leaden over produced sound of 80’s guitar bands were overwhelmed by kids with samplers and over active imaginations (oh and maybe a little chemical help too).

Sampling and cheap recording technology meant that every release could plunder a different style or genre, so Coldcut’s second hit “Stop This Crazy Thing” fused go-go with reggae, the Beatmasters came correct with Hip House, and Bomb The Bass flipped from the sampladelic joys of “Beat Dis” to UK Soul re-workings of Aretha Franklin.

In keeping with this spirit of anything goes eclecticism, S-Express main man Mark Moore called in avante-garde composer Philip Glass to remix their third single “Hey Music Lover“. Glass had raved about the post modern delights of S-Express on BBC2’s The Late Show, and Mark subsequently took the composer to an acid house club where legend has it Glass stood for a few hours head down listening intently before declaring “OK I think I’ve got the general idea“.

The track I’m posting is not the “Glass Cut” itself but the “Miller Mash Glass Smash” in which William Orbit fused together elements of the Philip Glass, Kurt Munkasci and Daniel Miller remixes. Its a demented 5 minutes 25″ of synth stabs, burbling bass lines, choral fragments and orchestra samples that blew my mind along with my speakers the first time I put it on. Minimalism meets the sampler with fantastic effect.


S-Express’s debut album “Original Soundtrack” remains a bit of a classic of the era, and “Pimps, Pushers, Prostitutes” is one of my favourite cuts. Its a warped disco house love story featuring MC Merlin as the big bragging rapper who has the money and the attitude but by the end is broken declaring “I feel so empty..last night on the sofa I cried man, I cried, for the first time in ten years I cried… I cried over you girl” Backing this up are the strident vocals of Billie Ray Martin, the chanteuse from the brilliant Electribe 101 (who I really must return to in a later post). Merlin breaks down as the chorus chants “Pimps, Pushers, Prostitutes” and Billie roars about “South Africa burning“… it should be a total mess of ideas and concepts… actually it kind of is, but what a glorious mess!

S-Express – Hey Music Lover (Miller Mash Glass Smash” (MP3)

S-Express – Pimps, Pushers, Prostitutes” (MP3)

SOLID STEEL ARCHIVE

Dusting off another old Solid Steel tape takes us back to October 1991, and yet again a great show (was it ever anything less)? There’s hip-hop from Anttex, De La Soul and the World Famous Supreme Team, reggae from Sister Carol, and two mixes from Coldcut themselves (the second featuring Doc Scott & The Black Dog). The broadest beats as ever!

Coldcut – Solid Steel 19/10/91” (MP3) (1hr 31min)

Solid Steel is still going strong: Podcast here