My Teacher Taught Me A Song, Would You Like To Hear It?

Hi my name is HAL 9000. I was invented in 1992.  My teacher taught me a song, would you like to hear it?

As opening samples go, that’s a real doozie.  Set amongst Dave Angel’s jazz-tinged ambient techno of ‘Arabian Nights’, it’s a double doozie*.  We get a gentle slow bass line, mid-range atmospheric keyboards and a high-end percussion track.  The feel of the track is very relaxed, very melodic and very warm (in a cool way).  It’s the opening track on Dave Angel Tales Of The Unexpected and the track I put the LP on for occasionally.  When this LP came out in 1995 I’d not heard anything like it at all, sure there’d been ambient LPs and techno ones too but the jazz sensibilities that Dave Angel bought to the party was definitely something new and welcome, to me.

Dave Angel Tales Unexpected 05

Dave Angel came up as a bedroom remixer**, a kid with a jazz musician father and a love of the Detroit techno scene.  Tales Of The Unexpected jumbles the two together, sometimes successfully, sometimes not  – but that’s okay, no-one else was making albums like this back then.  Where Angel succeeds most for me is in the more laid-back ambient tracks.  the more rhythmic up-tempo numbers like ‘It’s Too Hot In Here’ just don’t swing for me, but possibly because that’s just not my scene – they may be great exemplars of their type but … they do sound a bit old to me in 2015.

All the promo bumf, including bottom left Dave Angel sticker.
All the promo bumf, including bottom left Dave Angel sticker.

Tracks like ‘Rudiments’ with its really interesting, bare-bones approach to percussion are still a satisfying listen.  ‘Timeless’ with its vocal sample and gently skittering beats is on the cusp of drum ‘n bass and, again, is still a classy sounding tune.  Ditto ‘D.O.B’ and ‘Big Tight Flares’ the latter with its keys and jazz tones.  This is good music and I’m glad I own it.

Family etc on inner sleeve + new plastic hangers on
Family etc on inner sleeve + new plastic hangers on

For the inside of the gatefold Dave Angel poses with his family and friends, all very wholesome and polite.  Now check out the sleeve for his 1994 In-Flight Entertainment EP … now call me Mr Suspicious but I’m getting the feeling there is a covert drug reference hidden there somewhere on the promo-only packaging for label Blunted Vinyl – a dance subsidiary of Island Records; I do like their subversion of the famous Island logo.  This release gets 1537 bonus points for having a matt cover – far easier to photograph under electric light.

Possible hidden drug reference, maybe
Possible hidden drug reference, maybe

Musically these 2x 12″ singles have a far more techno sound to them, the ambience and the jazz are yet to poke their head above the parapet.  The tracks are meant to represent a plane journey^* and the first two sides (‘Take Off’ and ‘Airborne’) do bleep and beat their way past in a pleasantly melodic techno fashion, only for the final two sides (‘Keeping On’ and ‘Arrival’) simply to miss that sweet spot.  Now I have to fess up to my own limitations here, I don’t have a clue why two work and two don’t – if it was rock I could tell you that the screaming was a bit off, the guitar solo uninspired or the production sucked, but I’m not really on home turf here though.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of dance music but it’s more of a feeling thing for me; two have it, two don’t.

Dave Angel In Flight 01

Hi my name is HAL 9000. I was invented in 1992.  My teacher taught me a song, would you like to hear it?

Think about it, somewhere out there we invented HAL9000, 22 years ago – Christ, I bet you’d struggle to run Windows XP on him now!  Never mind him venting the airlock, you’d struggle to play Pong on him!  Nothing dates us like our visions of future tech, or techno in this case.

520 Down.

Dave Angel Tales Unexpected 01

*although not a triple doozie; it doesn’t comply with the required international doozie regulations (2012), as laid out by the International Doozie Foundation (IDF).

**NB – a remixer of tunes in his bedroom, not someone who if left to their own devices will remix your bedroom – although that would be just as cool.  Possible even more so.

^*What is it with me and air-travel themed music?

7 thoughts on “My Teacher Taught Me A Song, Would You Like To Hear It?

    1. Or if you awoke to find some bugger had remixed your room in the night. Especially as most remixes involve taking out all the best bits of a track and lumping in other arbitrary stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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