Not a guilty pleasure, just a pleasure. So many of my best musical memories from the early 90s are in the realm of “faceless dance music”, and I think this has to be one of the most likeable choons (not necessarily tunes, but choons) of the era. The biggest hit by Matthew Nelson and John Fernandez, alias Slipmatt and Lime, alias SL2, it leans heavily on a scatted vocal refrain sampled from Jah Screechy‘s 1986 dancehall track “Walk And Skank”.
One a great number of ace floorfillers released by XL Recordings back in the day. And to think that these days people just know XL for Adele…
Link: SL2 – On A Ragga Tip (password: salad)
1. On A Ragga Tip (edit)
3. Changing Trax
4. On A Ragga Tip (full length)
I may be (cough) slightly over 21 now, but I’m still quite keen on records having the quality that there’s no chance my parents would ever understand them. Such as this pioneering progressive house instrumental. I loved this in 1992 and I love it now, and I remain thrilled that it is completely incomprehensible.
It’s been remixed quite a lot since – officially and otherwise – but none of the mixes have come close to the original pairing here: Simon Slater’s original “Naked mix” is the definitive classic, and Darren Emerson’s remix (his debut!) spins it out to 14 minutes. There is a radio edit of Emerson’s mix here too, but it’s a bit useless, since the long slow gradual changes are the whole point.
It’s just struck me that since a bunch of the blogs listed over on the right do a “Monday Long Song”, you can consider the D.Emerson mix my contribution to that, if you want. It wasn’t intentional.
Link: Gat Decor – Passion (password: salad)
1. Passion (Naked Mix edit)
2. Passion (D.Emerson Mix edit)
3. Passion (Naked Mix)
4. Passion (D.Emerson Mix)
Well, not exactly maximum, and who the hell is going to get that reference anyway? But you know that thing where you wake up with some odd song in your head? That happened to me the other day, and for some reason it was this, the 1987 debut from Detroit geek Derrick May, alias Rhythim Is Rhythim. Still, a pioneering techno classic is not the worst thing to have inexplicably pop into mind. Last week, I woke up with Dill’s song from The Herbs in my head.
Link: Rhythim Is Rhythim – Nude Photo (password: salad)
1. Nude Photo
2. The Dance
3. Move It
“Mummie Don’t” was the product of Jimmy Cauty‘s collaboration with Alex Paterson as the first incarnation of The Orb, circa 1988, and I suppose that had they released it at the time, it probably wouldn’t have become the stadium house megahit that The KLF ultimately turned it into. Or alternatively, if Cauty had pushed it in that direction with The Orb, then The Orb’s musical development might have taken a quite different path. Oh, so many “what if”s. What actually happened was that the first official version emerged as a KLF single in May 1989, and the original “Mummie Don’t” remained unheard until its inclusion on The Orb’s 2005 out-takes collection, Orbsessions Volume One. And in between there was that hit version. Which I’m not sharing today, nyah nyah.
Link: The Orb – Mummie Don’t
And here for comparison is the version that The KLF released as a single in 1989…
According to Boston funk-metal outfit Extreme, there are III Sides To Every Story. But who cares what they think? However, it does give me an idea for another gimmick series: posting three songs on the same relatively specific subject. Today: Three songs about robberies gone wrong, though the last two words may be redundant since I can’t actually think of any songs about robberies that didn’t go wrong.
Actually, at one stage I was thinking of doing a series called “Criminal Records” about crime and criminals, but I figured it would have to just be about petty theft, otherwise I’d be having to write something lighthearted about murder and stuff, and that seemed a bit dodgy for some reason.
So here are three songs written from the point of view of robbers who’ve been nicked. First is Madness, still in their full-on nutty phase from 1981…
Then from 1982, one of the “lost” Kate Bush singles. It’s from The Dreaming, an album which baffled people at the time and seemed to signal the terminal decline of a promising career, though it’s since risen in stature to be generally viewed as one of her most creative and just plain best albums – right up there with Hounds Of Love. Some people dislike Kate’s accent on this one, though it’s nowhere near as jarring as the broad Australian accent she affects on the album’s title track:
And finally, the biggest commercial success for acclaimed dubmeisters Renegade Soundwave. Much like the Kate Bush song, this is rather an outlier in their catalogue, but a lot of fun…
At least I don’t have to put any effort into this gimmick! First up for this installment, The Sabres Of Paradise. I don’t think there’s any doubt here that the band was named after the song – heck, Andrew Weatherall probably chose it expressly to wind up Jeremy Healy (who in case you didn’t know, was half of Haysi Fantayzee before becoming a top DJ). “Wilmot Meets Lord Scruffage” is easily the best of today’s tracks.
There’s definitely no connection in this instance. Also no similarity at all between the slightly-too-upbeat 80s synthpop of Modern Romance and the gloomy Yeah Yeah Yeahs number with which they share a name.
And no connection here either. Catch (not to be confused with The Catch, who became The Tourists) were an indiepop band of no particular renown. For the last twenty years I’ve been carrying around the idea that one of them was Angus Deayton’s son, but now I come to check it out, this turns out to be nonsense. As for the song, you were going to get The Cure here, but then I found this Sunscreem CD. They never did release the album this was supposed to presage.
This is the “Jamscraper” mix of “Mmm… Skyscraper I Love You” by Underworld, with the snappily-titled “Mmm…Skyscraper I Love You (After Sky Id6 1551 2)” (basically, a demo version of the coda from the standard single/LP mix) edited onto the end for 14 minutes of… stuff.
2000’s The Beach was Danny Boyle‘s fourth movie as director and he had certainly got a reputation as a man with an ear for a good, varied soundtrack. Though strangely, after The Beach, his soundtracks were largely single-composer with perhaps the odd curveball thrown in, and he didn’t really return to the eclecticism of Trainspotting, A L ife Less Ordinary and The Beach until this year’s T2: Trainspotting.
Unlike its predecessors, there’s not a lot of guitars on The Beach – it’s really heavy on the electronics. Boyle regulars Leftfield and Underworld are present, both with excellent new tracks subsequently deemed worthy of inclusion on their respective Best Ofs, and there are also return appearances from New Order (with the album’s most “rock” song), Faithless, and Blur. In the “quick, get someone to cover the tracks we couldn’t licence” corner, we get Asian Dub Foundation doing The Upsetters‘ ska standard “Return Of Django” (not as exciting as you might hope) while John Cale and Brian Eno‘s “Spinning Away” is covered by Sugar Ray, which seems like an odd choice, though they take it dead straight and make a decent go of it.
The big hit, of course, was All Saints’ “Pure Shores”, a number one smash which critics were quick to point out bore a considerable resemblance to the sort of thing producer William Orbit had recently been doing with Madonna. Dario G‘s “Voices” (a two-year-old album track) and Orbital and Angelo Badalamenti‘s “Beached” were also released as singles, to less success.
Anyway, here’s a whole heap of downloadables for you. In all cases, the password is salad – all lower case. First, of course, the soundtrack album itself:
Various Artists – The Beach Soundtrack
01 Snakeblood – Leftfield
02 Pure Shores – All Saints
03 Porcelain – Moby
04 Voices – Dario G
05 8 Ball – Underworld
06 Spinning Away (Souledout Mix) – Sugar Ray
07 Return Of Django – Asian Dub Foundation
08 On Your Own (Crouch End Broadway Mix) – Blur (remix by William Orbit)
09 Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Mix Edit) – Mory Kante
10 Woozy – Faithless
11 Richard, It’s Business As Usual – Barry Adamson
12 Brutal – New Order
13 Lonely Souls – UNKLE featuring Richard Ashcroft
14 Beached – Orbital and Angelo Badalamenti
Angelo Badalamenti’s score didn’t get issued until a few months after the film, which seems a strange way of going about things…
Angelo Badalamenti – The Beach (Motion Picture Score)
01 Bizarre City (with Barry Adamson)
02 The Beach Theme (Swim To Island)
03 Vision Of Fantasy
04 Mournful Myth
06 Killing Fields
07 Blue Sex
08 The Beach Theme (Mythical Waters)
10 Daffy’s Done
11 Mystery Of Christo
12 Pure Victims
13 Pursuit Of A Shark
14 Waterfall Cascade
Link: Original Score
There were three singles from the soundtrack album (well, four if you include “Porcelain” but that was released later on and not tied in to the film), and here they are, with all the tracks combined.
“Pure Shores” was the breakout hit, and probably more popular than the movie was! Karl “K-Gee” Gordon gives it a hip hop flava on the 2 Da Beach U Don’t Stop Mix and Tom Middleton goes all cosmic on the, yup, Cosmos Mix.
All Saints – Pure Shores
01 Pure Shores (album version)
02 If You Don’t Know What I Know
03 Pure Shores (2 Da Beach U Don’t Stop Mix)
04 Pure Shores (Cosmos Remix)
05 Pure Shores (The Beach Life Mix)
06 Pure Shores (Instrumental)
Link: Pure Shores
The second single was “Beached”, usually described as a “collaboration” between Orbital and Angelo Badalamenti, though I’m not sure they actually got together as such. The single has shorter and longer versions (apparently an instrumental mix exists too, which I think I would prefer because that narration is properly irritating, but I’ve never seen it anywhere) plus an unrelated Orbital original. I rather think they should have put Angie’s original theme on it, particularly considering that the original score album wasn’t yet released at this point.
And last and probably least (though with the most mixes), Dario G’s “Voices”, with the voice of Vanessa Quinones.
Dario G featuring Vanessa Quinones – Voices
01 Voices (radio edit)
02 Voices (Sash! radio edit)
03 Voices (film acoustic version)
04 Voices (Sash! X-Tended mix)
05 Voices (Taste Xperience)
06 Voices (Jimpy & Wolff mix)
07 Voices (Kriana mix)
And because I forgot to include it in the bundle…
Sharing thirteen versions of this song, is definitely overkill. I had planned to share a three-track single and then got carried away and started gathering all the versions I have. I will highlight my favourites as we go along…
The song in question is “Tokyo Wa Yoru No Shichiji” (literally “7pm in Tokyo”, but known in English as “The Night Is Still Young”), a 1993 single which was the first major release by Japanese alt-dance oddments Pizzicato Five after they’d slimmed down to a duo of Maki Nomiya and Yasuharu Konishi. It’s one of their straighter club dance tracks, rather than one of their quirky “modern retro” things like “Twiggy Twiggy” or “Baby Love Child”. At this stage they were still unknown in the West but the single would eventually appear on Matador’s second P5 compilation, The Sound Of Music, where I first heard it. The original version is still a favourite…
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (single version) – recommended pick!
The original single also featured an instrumental version (which I don’t have) and this mellower remix by Yukihiro Fukutomi:
Then in 1994, they revisited it in two very different versions. On the EP “A Television’s Workshop”, they did it in a more disco arrangement with rhythm guitar and strings. Nice! I suspect that if P5 themselves had to choose a definitive version, this might be the one. Probably the most immediately likeable version as well.
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (MFSB Readymade Mix) – recommended pick!
The other 1994 version was this remix (by Fukutomi again) which appeared on their album Overdose:
In 1995, during a promotional tour for The Sound Of Music, the duo did this live acoustic version for KCRW Los Angeles.
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (KCRW acoustic session) – recommended pick!
And when P5 finally split in 2001, their farewell compilation Pizzicato Five RIP (on their Japanese label Nippon Columbia, not Matador) featured yet another remix.
Since the split, both halves of the duo have revisited the song solo. Yasuharu was first, producing this 2006 version for his protege Karia Nomoto, aka Karly. “The First Cut” is the album version (the album being Dance Music, which I will share at some point), and is somewhere between the original and the Readymade MFSB arrangements:
Maki Nomiya waited a bit longer, and then put versions of “The Night Is Still Young” on four consecutive albums! The deluge started in 2012 when she marked 30 years in the business we call show by recording an album of “self covers”, including this:
I’m not sure that really adds anything to the previous versions. However, Nomiya’s more recent takes on the song, actually do something different with it. First is the swing arrangement on her 2014 live album Miss Maki Nomiya Sings Shibuya-kei Standards:
Link: Maki Nomiya – The Night Is Still Young (live) – recommended pick!
…which she also did a studio recording of for her 2015 album What The World Needs Now Is Love.
And her most recent re-invention of the song is this distinctively Japanese “bon odori” version, tacked on as a bonus track to her 2016 album Un Homme Et Une Femme. It’s a little bit cheesy, but an interesting twist all the same.
Here’s a Pulp single from 1991, roughly the time that they started to get taken seriously by the music press. It was also around this time that they were getting chummy with Sheffield’s FON Studios / Warp records axis, as evidenced by the B-sides here, one of Russell Senior‘s weird-outs remixed by the team of Parrot (Funky Worm / Sweet Exorcist) and Winston (Forgemasters).