TF3: All Hail Tony Wilson!
Click here for Podcast running time: 26 min.
(Ableton timeline is above)
Tony Wilson passed away earlier this summer due to complications from Cancer. Too much partying did leave a toll on the man. As covered in a previous blog entry, Tony Wilson was the boss of Factory Records and owned the mythical “Hacienda” in Manchester, UK.
In more ways than one, then, him and the “24 hour party people” cohorts gave birth to EU’s techno and house movement riding on the music that was coming out of Detroit (techno) and Chicago (house).
I dedicate this to Tony Wilson by trying to showcase some of the old Joy Division pioneering work and exploring the indie/electro-pop/post-punk sounds of today.
Putting this together was a bit like working on a puzzle. It was fun. I spend countless hours (>20-30) on this TF set. This “excercice de style” starts with the mandate to mix 3 Joy Division classics: Transmission, Love and Control with modern music. I started there, looked for harmonic matches in the bpm range (140), and just started mixing from there.
1- Transmission, Joy Division, 1979
“Transmission" was a single by post-punk band Joy Division, released on Factory Records November 1979. It is also seen in the film 24 Hour Party People in which Ian Curtis has an epileptic attack on stage.
In May 2007, NME magazine placed "Transmission" at number 20 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever, one place below "Love Will Tear Us Apart".”
I really like this track, so do my 4 year olds that run around chorusing “Dance, Dance, Dance to the Radio!”. The track is about 30 years old but still sounds very avant-garde, garage style. For rythm support I mix the second track, take a walk, with a typical fast detroit techno beat. The sound is superb (Martin Hannett, producer) the melody engaging and with ‘structural support’ from the moderns, this particular version could even pass off as a remix.
“Listen to the silence, let it ring on.
Eyes, dark grey lenses frightened of the sun.
We would have a fine time living in the night,
Left to blind destruction,
Waiting for our sight.”
I think this passage sounds new when overlaid on techno.
2- Take a Walk, DJ Bone, 2007
This is modern and “theoretical” Detroit techno. I am a huge fan of DJ Bone’s mix work, actually I prefer his mixing to his somewhat minimalist producing. He is the “keeper of the flame” when it comes to that Detroit Techno sound.
His latest mix album, “Parts Unknown III”, complete with flying saucer aliens on the art cover is a fantastic showcase of the underground sound that still thrives in Detroit. As mentioned above, I include the track here as “rythmical support” for Transmission. Transmission is getting long in the tooth when it comes to the drums, I think the drummer of Joy was, like, gasp, a human and all.
3- Weather Girl, Shiny Toy Guns, 2007
I truly like this track. This is modern electro-pop at its best. My younger sister, Carmela, turned me on to this this summer and I immediately liked it. Apparently I heard this morning from Nathalie’s assistant that it is featured in the latest motorola Raz-R commercials. That’s money!
If you keep in mind that Tony Wilson was a TV presenter, just like this “weather girl” here on TV, the following lyrics are eerily appropriate (except tony was a man :)
Girlfriend...I really need you
Girlfriend...I really miss you
Weather girl where's your forecast?
Set the signal
Raining fire from the angels
Through the eye of a needle
Making moves making stars
Falling faster than the start
Of the end of the world
You're the breaking girl
Channel X channel 7
Super static television
We're waiting for
The first broadcast from you
You'll never go too far
There's no stopping the show
With your pretty pink bow
Where did you go?
4- City, Lo-Fi-Fnk, “Punks jump up” remix, 2007.
Still in the “indie-electro-pop” category, here is lo-fi-fnk (pronounced Low-fi-funk?). This was released this summer. I heard this on a mix-mag compilation last month. I immediately loved the energy. This is a manic track, a "teen energy" track. 140 bpm is the natural rythm. Also, “punks jump up!” I love the name, how appropriate.
5- I would die 4 U, Prince, 1985.
Another timeless. Plays for 30s by itself, bridging back to Joy Division. Melodies overlap nicely here.
6- Love will tear us apart, Joy Division,1980
From wikipedia entry:
Love Will Tear Us Apart" is the best known song by the band Joy Division. The lyrics were written and sung by the band's vocalist, Ian Curtis, who committed suicide a month after the song was released in April 1980.”
I love this song of course but by now I am a little bit “joyed-out”... too many words :)
7- She’s lost control, Joy Division, 1978
Supposedly Ian curtis here is talking about his own epilepsy.
This is Area 51 as far as I am concerned. Very alien sounding. Out-there type of melody.
8- Protecting my Hive, UR, 2003
Alright, at this point, I just went back for a treat. Straight back to detroit techno with 2 tracks from the mythical “Underground Resistance” (gotta love the name).
When I grew up in Paris, listening to the radio, we didn’t speak english and so we couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the lyrics, to us it was all melody. The way people talked was part of the melody. If you listen to Daft Punk and the whole ‘french house’ movement you hear some of this at work. All music was supposed to sound like ‘wah-wah-wonk-wonk’ because we didn't speak english.
This particular track I caught on a Underground Resistance (UR) compilation a couple of years ago. I call it the “ta-ta-ro” song, because that is what it sounds to me, like a japanese bee protecting its hive. I really like the actual mix it came from, and tried to capture the intensity, so I copied it “verbatim” from that compilation. I was lazy but it ended up being a lot of work.
9- Black Strategy, DJ Dex, UR, 2003
On the original UR compilation, it was called “Prayer Stick”. Another quirky name, they really add something to the mix, don’t they?. In any case I couldn’t find that particular remix for the longest time, I just didn’t have the right name. Also the original clocks at jam like 120 bpm. At 140, it is a different track, one with renewed intensity. I gotta admit, on these last three, this is me having fun for me.
10- Fill 15, Speedy J, 1993
Speedy J is one of my all-time favorite techno artists. This Netherlands native wrote the seminal “pepper” in 1993, I remember walking through MIT with this song literally on a tape loop and I listened to it until the tape wore out. He then went completely crazy, I will showcase “Pannik” one day. Maybe, just like Tony Wilson and his partying, eventually “she’s lost control”.
Remember we love you, Tony Wilson!