Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Streetsounds Electro 1

The first instalment of the mighty Streetsounds Electro album series started wayyy back in 1983. Mixed by Herbie Laidley, a name to become synonymous with the series ("mixed by Mastermind on the GLI"), these albums immediately intended to hit the floor running - a new style of music AND each track segued into the next?

Beginning the album is I'm The Packman (Eat Everything I Can) by The Packman. Who remembers the video game PAC-MAN? Well if you're a regular reader of this Blog then that must mean you. Over time video games and Electro would collide regularly (check pages 94 and 29 of David Toop, 'THE RAP ATTACK, AFRICAN JIVE TO NEW YORK HIP HOP' Pluto Press 1984). This was actually a great intro for bringing this new robotic music to the masses as it contained all the stereotypical elements of Electro Funk - drum machine beats, lots of claps, dark synth basslines and looming vocoder.

Next is the chipmunk sound of Jam On Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song) by Newcleus which uses a simple combination of claps, kicks and snares for the rhythm and a repetitive hookline. I like the Grandmaster Flash spoof just before Herbie busts an inventive scratch. West Street Mob's Break Dancin' - Electric Boogie is the flip of what we've heard so far with the live cutting and scratching of Apache which was more in relation to what was being done in the small Bronx clubs.

If you think the next song is similar to early Bambaataa stuff then a quick shufty at the producer's name might be a clue. Get Wet by C-Bank is more than a little close to sounding like Looking For The Perfect Beat which John Robie also produced.
Yet another sub genre in Electro is displayed on K-9 Corp's Dog Talk which uses a big chunk of George Clinton's P-Funky Atomic Dog (later to be used by Icecube).
Some more vocoder action on G. Force's Feel The Force follows which is a nice, unassuming track which although not great still does the job.
A sign of the times is shown by the title of Project Future's Ray - Gun - Omics. Don't be misled by the song's chirpy rhythm and melody, the vocoder'd vocals state, "High inflation, Reaganomics / And taxation, more atomics / Reaganomics, high inflation, / More atomics, and taxation" in the age of President Ronald Reagan.

A basic scratch heralds the Return Of Captain Rock by, erm, Captain Rock. This is my pick of the album with some great beats, production and clear vocals. The Prodigy famously used this on their debut lp for the track Hyperspeed (G-Force Part 2).
So there we have it. Streetsounds has unleashed this strange new music called Hip Hop on us. What did we make of it? It brought to the nation's teenagers a new revolution in music, that's what. And started me breaking my parents' hi-fi system, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yo love Herbie he's still the man

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