Good news, boppers. The big alert has been called off. It turns out the early reports were wrong, all wrong. For that group that had a hard time getting home, sorry about that. I guess the only thing we can do is play you a song.
Is this post about Renegade Soundwave* or about Leftfield? I’m not quite sure. Let me explain.
All the way back in 1996 I got my sweaty little paws on Renegade Soundwave RSW 1987-1995 (4-Track Sampler)** released by Mute Records. I had never heard of RSW before but I had already fallen hard for the charms of Leftfield by that point and that was enough for me.
First man in is ‘Thunder’ a dancefloor stomper which is so much of its’ time and place that I could date it to 1990 without even looking it up; swooping synthed strings, decent beats and theft of Steve Jones’ guitar from the opening of ‘Pretty Vacant’ and some of Public Enemy’s squealing turntables. It is excellent, I’ve definitely danced to this in public and would again if given half a chance. It is a perfect exemplar of the magpie nature of all the early dance music progenitors, which is exactly what made them so creative and revolutionary at the time.
Third track on RSW Sampler is ‘Phantom’ which does a lot less for me, it isn’t bad but it just doesn’t get out of second gear – perfectly good midset, but it would never pull me onto a dancefloor, even though it sneakily samples ‘White Riot’. Last man standing is ‘Ozone Breakdown’ from 1989 which is a great tune, heavily reliant on some really cool sampling from one of my favourite films, Warriors. There are some very serious basslines going on here and the style is far more breakbeat driven than elsewhere here, making it a neat bridge between hip hop and techno.
All of which is fine and makes me nostalgic for the energy I had 26 years ago, but the clincher here is ‘Renegade Soundwave (Leftfield Remix)’. I played this 7:35 track 9 times today, every time I got to the end I had to have it again. Ditching pretty much everything from the, strangely wussy indie pop, original track Leftfield just create a MONSTER. They drag every beat out to the point of no return and function a rising, sinister cadence that spirals up and through the centre of the whole track. It is absolutely sublime stuff and even sitting here 21 years on from when I first heard it, it still thrills my bits. What this remix has that really elevates it above the dance hoi-polloi is a real sense of progression, this is not just a tune to use up your time and/or sweat to, it is a track that marches ever onwards with a sound like nothing else I have in my collection^.
Okay so in the end this is a post about Renegade Soundwave AND Leftfield, good news indeed, boppers.
*RSW to their chums.
**henceforth to be referred to as RSW Sampler, for reasons of sanity.
^parts of Leftism notwithstanding.