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Friday, 5 February 2016

93


Having posted songs by Bjork and Sabres Of Paradise in the last few days, both from 1993, it struck me that that year looks like an interesting one, a really good one. I kind of took it for granted at the time. Looking at John Peel's Festive 50 and the NME's end of year list as a couple of starting points there's a lot of variety and several different scenes going on. There's a Jon Savage compilation album that came out a year ago- Perpetual Motion 1988-1993- which celebrates (in his view) a new kind of psychedelia characterised by indie-dance, house and  rave. Savage is currently promoting his new book 1966. I don't think '93 was quite as revolutionary as '66 and it doesn't fit into Tony Wilson's 1955-1966-1977-1988 cycle either but there was a lot going on and more good music than you could shake a stick at.

Bjork's Debut was fully dancefloor informed, making the switch from skittery, post-punk indie to house seem completely smooth and obvious, engineered by Nellee Hooper's production skills (honed with Massive Attack and Soul II Soul). I've been soaking up Debut on the way to work this week- there's not a weak song on it and it's a completely alive album, full of fun and interesting, ear-catching sounds, and on half of the songs four-to-the-floor beats that keep it fresh and propelled. Andrew Weatherall put out out Sabresonic, his first fully formed album outside his production work on other group's albums. Sabres Of Paradise preceded the album with the peerless, mighty Smokebelch II 12". One Dove's Morning Dove White also came out in 1993, a Weatherall produced lost classic, a morning-after/coming-down album much loved round here and by other bloggers. Orbital's untitled 'green' album came out with Chime, Satan and Belfast as its centrepieces. Leftfield and John Lydon firebombed Los Angeles. Ultramarine's United Kingdoms drifted in and out beautifully. Underworld's dubnobasswithmyheadman was released in January 1994, but presumably worked on to perfection through '93. There are a multitude of other first rate house singles and records in '93 too- Secret Knowledge's Sugar Daddy for one, Disco Evangelists' De Niro for another, Jaydee's Plastic Dreams for one more. I'm sure other people can suggest others I've missed. Even the chartbound dance pop was properly good- Sub Sub's Ain't No Love. Maybe what was happening in retrospect was the last gasp of acid house as it had started in 1988, five years of innovation and ecstasy, just starting to peter out as dance music split into a hundred sub-groups. Portishead, Tricky and trip hop were just around the corner. Drum and bass too.

Peel's list and the NME's both have placings for the last gasps of grunge and alt-rock- Nirvana, Sugar, The Breeders, The Lemonheads, Grant Lee Buffalo, Afghan Whigs, Hole and Dinosaur Jr. The Fall have a mere ten songs in the Festive 50 and The Infotainment Scan in the NME's albums of the year. New Order came back from hiatus with Republic, not a classic album but it's got Regret on it. St Etienne's So Tough refined their sound- Avenue, You're In A Bad, Hobart Paving. Paul Weller cemented his revival with Wild Wood. Teenage Fanclub, Tindersticks and The The put out good records. PJ Harvey chucked in Rid Of Me. Suede's debut, Blur's Modern Life Is Rubbish, Boo Radleys' Giant Steps, the Manics Gold Against The Soul, The Verve's A Storm In Heaven, Elastica and Pulp are all in there, signposting what was going to happen with Britpop but those records all have some spark and imagination about them and, Blur apart, none of the retro homogeneity of what came a year or two later. Cypress Hill, The Goats and The Pharcyde made albums that showed that hip hop still had life in it too. There'll be loads more below the surface. I'm sure there are a lot of years you could re-look at and discover a similar diversity of sound, style and invention but 1993 seems to have it spades and somewhat under the radar too in being thought of one of those 'classic' years.

Some music. I don't think I've ever posted PJ Harvey before, which is pretty poor of me.



More Bjork too, cos I'm in the mood...

6 comments:

charity chic said...

If only history lessons had been as interesting as that when I was at school Adam

Simon said...

I agree with most of this, but somehow at the time I was fully aware of this, I could see grunge disappearing - I hated it, and the new stuff seemed to be carrying on where the 90s had seemed to start. I'd been in a weird place of working in recording studios and being unemployed in 92, I got more work in 93, better paid so maybe that was an influence. The year felt sunny and exciting and new and fresh. And Ain't No Love was my single of the year.

One of my possibly top ten albums of all time was Pulp's Intro compilation of the singles they were doing 92/93, which I think is them in perfect mode, a bit like the opening side of Blondie's Eat To The Beat or the first 3 tracks on Give Em Enough Rope.

Simon said...

Oh God, and Giant Steps. What an album, I had that on one side of a 120 minute cassette, One Dove on the other. I also had a cassette with the whole of side one made up of Smokebelch II and Story Of The Blues pt 2 over and over again that year. I'd picked up a 2nd hand copy of the Story Of The Blues single for 50P and was obsessed with the B Side.

H... said...

It was a tremendous time for me, progressive house was beginning to move to more handbaggy music but fortunately I was introduced to Sabresonic in a, as yet un-gentrified, arch under London Bridge. Deep and dubby (think Jack Master 's Bang the Box) early doors building up to dark techno. Blake Baxter's Sexual Deviant is still one of my favorites from that time. Saw some great PAs there Ege Bam Yasi, Plastikman, Neuro Project. They used to run coaches down to Club UK afterwards, which was welcome after the MoS binned off Emerson's Open all Hours.

Swiss Adam said...

I was 23. Records, bars, clubs, music, dancing- these were all consuming. Little else really mattered as long as you had a few quid to fund it. It was easy to assume that it would be like that all the time- tons of great records being released. Maybe that's just being young.

acidted said...

Sigh