Sun, 29th November, 2020
It should come as no surprise that Underground Solu'shn veteran, DJ Beefy aka Keith knows a thing or two about tunes. Now typically found sharing treasures co-hosting ‘Drinking Music’ on EHFM, for this Front Left Selections Keith picked five tracks that sound like his happy place.
'When I was asked to make this playlist, one of my first thoughts was to compile a “YouTube happy place” list, inspired by Jeremy Deller’s selection of a video in his Everybody In The Place film where he describes footage of people dancing to Kraftwerk from The New Dance Show in Detroit as a means to be grateful for existence. For me, there’s few happier places than Top of the Pops performances from 1991 and I find myself revisiting these when I need transported somewhere comforting. This is something we all need sometimes, especially this year. I would have been 9 or 10 years old when these aired and that’s a nice age for starting to get into your own things, but before you’ve developed much in the way of critical faculties or cynicism. Younger viewers may find the videos a bit quaint and naff, which they are really, but having this music beamed into your home just after you’ve had your tea was a revelation for me and ended up having a profound, long lasting effect on my music tastes. There’s not exactly any “deep cuts” here but I think they’re a lot of fun. I hope these make you even a wee bit as happy as they make me.'
Altern 8 – Come With Me
Activ 8 (Come With Me)
Network Records, 12" (1991)
'What better place to start than with Altern-8’s “Come With Me”? There’s a lot to take in straightaway; an MC saying “Get mental in the house”, rave dancers, a robot dancer wearing ski goggles on stilts and some classic UK Hardcore Techno with a young child encouraging you to “get sorted”. Pretending to play music equipment on Top of the Pops was always a tough gig but something that Altern 8 attacked with enough gusto to just about get away with the fact that the machines clearly aren’t plugged in. There’s also the joy of subtle signifiers, like the tub of Vicks Vaporub in front of the equipment, accompanied by less subtle signifiers, like the 30ft banner proclaiming “HARDCORE U KNOW THE SCORE”. Once bitten by this, I was forever smitten.'
Bizarre Inc – Such A Feeling
Such A Feeling
Vinyl Solution, 12" (1991)
I had this performance taped on a video full of random bits recorded off TV and even though I must have watched it dozens of times, even before rediscovering it on YouTube, it still gives me a buzz. This was perhaps the first time I heard something like a Reese bassline and, especially topping it off with a big ol’ dose of piano screamer, I found it thrilling. Again, full marks for pretending to play electronic equipment with no electricity running through them (where did the Top of the Pops 808’s and 909’s end up I wonder?). I think this also gave me an early appreciation of good ravey T-shirts that has stuck with me to this day (would still really like that Refreshers one and, as Jane Bussman says, the long sleeve white T is the ultimate rave clothing item). It’s also nice that I ended up being a fan of 2/3rds of Bizarre Inc’s work as Chicken Lips when I got older, and if you dig into their output it’s no wonder that this song samples a dubbed out Disco Delight.'
Shades Of Rhythm – Extacy
ZTT, EP (1991)
'This video gets off to a strong start and within the first 10 seconds a huge rave piano riff triggers the same visual effect you get when a Dalek shoots someone in Tom Baker era Doctor Who. From there you get to admire the bold outfit decisions, pairing Pierrot style French clown costumes on the rave dancers with neon shellsuits on everyone else apart from the (presumably very relieved) female singer. Perhaps law of diminishing returns in terms of “keyboard guy” performance but they don’t disgrace themselves by any means, and the dancing from the one with glasses at 1:07 is excellent. It’s kinda funny to think that the BBC banned certain songs due to drug connotations but thought this was absolutely fine, maybe the misspelling fooled them. Anyway, this is still a 10/10 ravey banger that I would happily play out.'
T99 – Anasthasia
XL Recordings, 12" (1991)
'There’s a couple of weak points with this one, the added rap and vocals are on the cheesy side of things and the “keyboard guy” performance is a bit lame (bless him, he’s trying). However, these are blown away by the fact that this is a little after 7pm on a Thursday evening and what could be described as a light entertainment music programme, on one of only four terrestrial TV channels, is blasting TOTALLY MENTAL BELGIAN HARDCORE RAVE BREAKBEAT at a loud volume. There’s always examples of underground stuff ending up on mainstream platforms but I don’t remember Praga Khan showing up on Wogan, or Frank De Wulf on Pebble Mill. Also, between this and some of the Prodigy videos, this was clear confirmation that, to me aged 9 anyway, an XL Recordings jacket might be one of the coolest things you could possibly own.'
KLF – 3am Eternal
3 A.M. Eternal (Pure Trance 2)
KLF Communications, 12" (1989)
'To be honest, KLF performances on Top of the Pops is almost a category of “YouTube happy place” on its own. They were, amongst many other things, the true masters of blatantly not playing their instruments. I very nearly opted for the completely bonkers, proto-Brexit bit of performance art masquerading as a pop song that is “It’s Grim Up North”, but “3am Eternal” to me is irresistible. The main vocal refrain does something very deep down in my brain that I think must have started from this point in time (this is maybe also to do with listening to “Chill Out” so much as well). So I guess this is the end of the playlist and I haven’t even mentioned things like how awkward the audiences are. If you’ve enjoyed these, the algorithim should take you to some other silly, funny, happy places. To sum up, if I was born earlier I could have experienced the first waves of Acid House and Rave by going to clubs and events, and if I was born later I could have had the joy of being able to discover a wealth of music at a young age so much more easily through the internet. I wasn’t though, I was born in 1981 and that meant I got to have my tiny mind blown by The KLF on Top of the Pops. This makes me very happy ☺'