I’m quite a fan of ambient music and I do own quite a bit of it by a plethora of artists. It’s a funny genre you can play me one piece and it will fire my imagination and I can tell its great and then play me another and I will know it’s just garbage wallpaper; funny thing is I couldn’t tell you why, in the same way I could with a rock track. Maybe it is the superpower I have been granted and I should have a job picking music for shops and train stations*.
Back in the day, 1994 that is, we all knew what ambient sounded like – twiddly skittering beats washed over with analogue synth patterns and a female vocalist mixed in over the top blithering on about clouds, kittens, knitting and/or sunsets; you know, tasteful. Then my hip friend Matt told me about Scorn, they were ambient but they had been formed by two members of the speediest, most insane, hilarious and extreme band ever, Napalm Death. The next time I blacked out and found myself in a cool hardcore record shop in Leeds** I had bought Silver Rain Fell on 12″. First record I ever bought on Earache Records. Not much info on the cover, a remix by Meat Beat Manifesto, hmm, not many clues about what I was going to get.
Which was basically the soundtrack to that nightmare you get where you fall over in the road and can’t stand up as the car hurtles towards you S_L_O_W_L_Y and people’s voices do that booming, unintelligible thing they do, or that dream where you’re running away from some nameless eldritch terror and your feet just start to sink into the pavement as you can feel its hot breath on your shoulder. The beat is prominent, slow, insistent, synths are there adding the high-end and an intimidating man half chants, half sings something you know is important but you can only make out the words ‘silver rain fell’ in the most threatening manner possible^. Some people called it dark ambient, or dark-hop, I suspect it’s what they play in lifts in Hades, or what Satan plays in his car on his drive into work every morning to help him get into character.
Now I don’t really know Meat Beat Manifesto, I sort of stopped at Ministry, Lard and Revolting Cocks in the industrial stakes. I couldn’t for example spot the difference between Front 242, Pigface, Skinny Puppy, Knuckle Grater, Young Gods and Slash Acid^^. However they take hold of ‘Silver Rain Fell’, make it even scarier with more voices at first and then add a really great almost funky synth/bass line, punch up the beats a lot and give us a stomping good time. It is a really good remix and I don’t often get to say that.
This was a real treat of a 12″, unlike anything else I had at the time, or do still. It was enough though, I didn’t need to go out and buy any more but I am really pleased that I own Silver Rain Fell; don’t listen to the (long-suffering) wife!
*not airports though, no-one wants music for them.
**used to be close to the station, can’t remember the name of it for the life of me.
^Mrs 1537 has just put her head around the door and said ‘what is this sh*t you’re listening to?!’
^^Especially since I just made two of them up.