Back to 1989 and 1990 today and the sound of young Belgium. People get a bit sneery about the rave- pop/ dance pop singles that sold in enormous quantities from 1990 onwards but the truth is many of the same songs were club hits first, danced to through the night. In lots of ways these early 90s rave hits are the equivalent of the classic 60s pop singles and the 1970s- The Monkees say or T-Rex. Massive chart topping songs, cutting edge production coupled with song writing skills for that time and place, designed to hit you quickly, make you shimmy and then move on to the next one.
Technotronic came from Belgium, the project of Jo Bagaert who had come up through the New Beat scene. Hooking up with rapper Ya Kid K they found a formula of stunningly effective, catchy, dance music that took on a much more visual element when they got Congolese model Felly Kilingi to front it. Pump Up The Jam, released in November 1989, was a massive single, selling in vast quantities in the UK and the USA, a club- radio crossover built on a thumping and Ya Kid K's rap. Crisp, to the point, in your face, confusing to middle aged people, ridiculously infectious. The video is a perfect slice of 1989 too, rave psychedelic graphics, cycling shorts, acid print, dayglo hooded tops and manic dance moves.
Felly it later turned out was just miming. Did it matter? It did not.
Technotronic became a hit machine, single after single. In 1990 they released Rockin' Over The Beat, a song about dancing with a lovely piano riff that to me has the slightest tinge of melancholy in it, the comedown just evident in the grooves. The drums thump, the synths blare, Ya Kid K's rap is great (her delivery of the word 'mel-o-dee' is a joy). It was remixed by Bernard Sumner, New Order's frontman putting those hours spent in the Hacienda to good use.