The time was approximately 1991…..
I had just gotten into music at the tender age of 14, a blit of a late bloomer so to say. All over the papers and TV at this time, there was this new cool hip craze in music apparently called acid house and Techno. We were reading about people having illegal raves all over the M25, getting off their faces on E, wearing very baggy t-shirts and weird gas masks, and having the best time in the world. Of course since then it´s been acknowledged that it was one of the biggest youth culture movements since Punk to come to the UK (if there was anyone who lived on Mars, or in a cave with only earthworms for company at the time, I recommend the book Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture by Simon Reynolds) Naturally all these young people having a good time doing something that the oldsters didn´t understand and it scared the shit out of them. So in they end they HAD TO STAMP IT OUT WITH THE COLD HARD BOOT OF ORDER!
I loved the way they described the rave as an Evil, Dangerous cult!
But of course while all this excitement and music was happening, yours truly was stuck in the far north of the Shetland Isles, which is probably as far from the M25 and anything cool at the time. To put it simply there was not much to do except for underage drinking, sheep rustling and traditional folk music. At the time the nearest we could get to Rave culture was watching TV shows like Dance Energy that had a bouncing tigger-like man called Normski as its presenter. It was a bit like the rave generation version of Soul Train…
But despite being located away from all the action. we were still able to listen to the music as it was infecting the top 40 charts like a bad case of ringworm. Of course you had all the early pioneers such as A guy Called Gerald, Orbital and 808 State. I also remember the sweaty palms over Lil Louie´s “French Kiss, just because some bint was busy getting herself off in the background. That record got me through a few interesting nights! And of course you had guys like Altern8, Bizarre Inc and guys who were just putting samples of children’s TV shows over a Techno beat (Rhubarb and custard anyone?)
Of course as the years progressed, THE MAN had his way with the criminal justice bill effectively outlawing mass gatherings, raving became more mainstream and organised, and techno/rave/house became a staple of the charts. As for us in Shetland, even though we were not part of the culture geographically, many people tried to make their own little oasis of Rave culture. Also having a steady supply of Ecstasy come to the Isles also helped. fondly remembering attending little “raves” in cottages stuck in the middle of nowhere in raging storms in the night. Bliss! At the same time my brother, who was more into Techno and the scene than I was , was going through his “Gabba” dutch Hardcore phase. That was most certainly a fun time…..
And it´s great to listen to it all again, But there is one track in particular that was truly ahead of it´s time. that track of course is ”papa New guinea” by Future sound of London from their Album “accelerator”.
I remember hearing that track the first time on a jukebox. It just make my neural endings crackle Even listening to that track nearly 20 years later still gives me the goosebumps. It´s THAT good!
So as a treat i´m giving you FSOL´s 1991 album “accelerator”
Get the Album here