In discussion with Aiden d’Araujo on “Rhythm Zone Vol. 1” (1989).
You chose the cassette compilation “Rhythm Zone Vol. 1“. A format that in the 80s was probably still more common for discovering new music than its according CD counterparts. Were you taping radio at a young age, and was this your first foray into purchasing what already had caught your interest?
Yeah taping radio shows was a ritual when I was a kid – got that off my Mum who would tape mixes religiously. In the early nineties around ’92/’93 we had a studio in the loft with loads of gear like Junos and Rolands. The two guys who had the studio (you may have heard one of them under his Deadly Avenger alias who released the ‘Deep Red’ LP and now scores Hollywood films) lodged with us and I remember like it was just yesterday all the trippy, ambient electronica comin’ outta the studio – I would say reminiscent of acts like the Future Sound Of London. No doubt this influenced my Mum and she amassed a series of tapes that had early electronic auteurs on then such as Pete Namlook, Move D and Biosphere (she’s still got ’em!) whose nocturnal opus ‘Novelty Waves’ never fails to transport me straight to my childhood – you remember that iconic Levi’s advert featuring the steam train with that track on it right? Anyway, all these deep as the ocean odysseys would be the soundtrack to when I went to sleep. Warp’s ‘Artificial Intellgience’ comp was another fave, and I’d always be messin’ around with the FM dial to try scope out some more otherworldly obscurities…
Another interesting development was one of my Mum’s mates who when not spraying murals (he was and still is a revered graffitti artist who very kindly sprayed the House Hunting mural for me) would host shows on Birmingham-based pirate radio station Mix FM which he would sometimes transmit from our attic. This would be my introduction to Hip Hop – whether the Britcore of Gunshot and London Posse, West Coast flavour of Snoop Dogg and Souls Of Mischief or the politically-charged Public Enemy and ghetto rap of Biggie and Wu-Tang. GZA’s ‘Liquid Swords’ and Souls Of Mischief’s ’93 Til Infinity’ always on rotation must have proper wore those tapes out on my Walkman. As well as Hip Hop on Mix FM there would be some Soul, Funk, Disco, Electro and House – which when you’re 8 years old listening to all this was a pure mind trip…
So I didn’t really need to buy tapes as there were so many avenues where I was exposed to it. Another influence was my Dad who was split from my Mum so I would stay at his on weekends 10 mile up the road in Leicester. He was in a band that covered a lot of Rock and Blues classics who were a bit of a hit in the mid-nineties with loads of bookings all over The Midlands. Anyway Leicester has a big Afro-Caribbean community and every year hosts the Leicester carnival (second only to Notting Hill in size and scope) with Aba-Shanti representing so Dub and Reggae was also the sound of my Dad’s household – he loves all the Rhythm & Sound albums I’ve got him!
Did you try several compilations and this was the one you liked best, or was this the only one at first, and by coincidence it was also the best choice to get introduced to the US import dance music styles it showcased?
This was the first I bought and I remember clocking the naff early 90s trippy artwork complete with the tag line “A galaxy of imports for under a fiver”. It was a quid so had to be copped – I thought it may be like the deep trips on my Mum’s armada of ambient tapes. It was pure coincidence that the first one I got was the best introduction to Chicago House, Detroit Techno and New York Garage. Not long after I bought ‘The Rave Gener8tor II’ tape where again the cover art enticed me and had some choice cuts on it like the Underground Resistance remix of ‘The Colour Of Love’ by The Reese Project and some Murk flavour via Liberty City’s ‘Some Lovin’. There were only a few decent tracks on this one though as was on a more hardcore tip which I weren’t feelin’ as much. Always went back to ‘Rhythm Zone Vol. 1’. Read the rest of this entry »