UK Techno: 1989 - 1993
Kirk Degiorgio selects the quintessential gems of early British techno from Aphex Twin to LFO, featuring never released cuts by Atypic (The Black Dog) and Mark Archer AKA Nexus 21.
Well, I can remember writing “To be Surreal.” I’d been writing a lot of 7th Plain tracks around that time. I thought maybe I could take myself and others somewhere special with this one. Somewhere good. Another place. It’s probably my favourite 7th Plain track due to its simplicity when I look back.
Very limited equipment back then. A DX7 II a Korg Monopoly 909 and 808 samples, an Atari,and a multi effects unit and a bedroom, straight to tape. - Luke Slater (The 7th Plain)
Nexus 21 started out of my ambition to make tracks that sounded like the music was coming out of Detroit at the time, in 1989. I had very little idea about production then or the equipment needed to make the sounds that was needed, but that didn’t stop me (it started my love affair with the Akai S950.
Signing to Network early the following year was to be the icing on the cake as they had strong ties with all the producers in Detroit (having signed quite a few tracks to their KoolKat label), we were flown out to Detroit in March of 1990 to work with Kevin Saunderson, Anthony Shakir and Marc Kinchen at the KMS Studios where we recorded four tracks (“Don’t do it like that, do it like this”, “No Statues”, “Nexus” and “Together”) of which “Together” was the only track that was released as part of the Progressive Logic EP. - Mark Archer (Nexus 21)
“Obsessed” was one of the earliest tracks we wrote for B12 Records which originally appeared on the first B12 records release B1201. “Obsessed” was inspired by Larry Heard and Robert Owens mixed with influences of the time from Big Shot Records and Strobe Records from Toronto, Canada around 1991.
We added a vocal sample from a source that remains a mystery, we wish we knew where it was from.
The Yamaha DX100 was used in this track to create an engaging bass line hook that was doubled in the second half of the track to add interest and build the speed to the composition. Techniques learnt and synths used on these earliest experimental tracks were taken through to many of the future releases on B12 records and Warp Records using the pseudonyms of Musicology, Redcell and Cmetric. The Obsessed. - B12
The late 80’s and early 90’s was an exciting period for musicians as it became possible, on a small budget, to own synths and produce electronic music using them for the first time.
We discovered the rave scene, Detroit techno and acid house in our late teens having previously followed hip hop and electro music. We tried to combine these new and old inspirations in our work, making many mistakes along the way. We were lucky enough to capture and release some of these naive doodles. They reflect our optimism and the carefree, experimental spirit the technology and scene allowed.
It’s difficult to imagine a future time where such a broad palette of new sounds and textures could open up to musicians. We feel lucky to have been involved and to have experienced this moment in music. - Andy Turner (The Black Dog/Plaid)