This fun frolic was one of many Crouch End jams that helped launch the short lived but influential Guerilla Records label.
Built on a rather ubiquitous drum loop (sorry ’bout that) the track also features my trusty duelling Roland MC202s, the funky guitar stylings of William Orbit and…well, maybe I should keep quiet about other source material, and simply point out that as always, the vocals of Laurie Mayer take this to a whole new realm.
A trip back to the UK to sort out my visa proved fortuitous, in that I got to join in the sessions for the classic William Orbit album Strange Cargo III, then in full swing up at Crouch End.
Of course, the best known track from this album is Water From A Vine Leaf, featuring the very wonderful Beth Orton, back when she was just a slip of a girl.
I played on three songs: A Touch Of The Night, Time To Get Wize and this one, featuring the classic Roland JD800 in all of its glory.
This post was fun to research due to the wonderful proliferation of amateur videos set to William’s music, and quite a few set to this song. I chose this clip but it’s worth researching further. Kudos to all you content creators out there.
This epic single took a lot of making, in many different studios. Started in the Guerilla Studio at Hampstead, the end of the lease on that property rather put a spanner in the works and it was finished at Swanyard and Good Earth, amongst others. Ultimately the Club Mix was done at the new Guerilla Studio in Crouch End.
Good Earth was Tony Visconti’s studio in Soho, a vibey subterranean place, reputedly haunted. Visconti closed it soon afterwards, citing an influx of Akai sampler-wielding types as having brought about the end. Oops!
This record was criticized at the time for being less catchy than its three predecessors, and it only made 21 on the UK chart. There are those though who appreciate it for the deep, funky, spiritual masterpiece that it is.
When I got back to London, after the long stint in France and Belgium in the first months of 1988, it was a different place.
To begin with, after 6 years Guerilla Studio had moved out of Maida Vale and into temporary digs in Hampstead, en route to a 10 year spell in Crouch End. More significantly though, there was a full blown revolution going on, the likes of which hadn’t been seen in over 10 years. I went down to Heaven in Charing Cross, just a few weeks previously a hangout for hipster funkateers. Now the scene was like some futuristic Satyricon, a nightly bacchanal. Most significantly, exclusivity was out, inclusivity was in, and the punters were lining up around the block.
And the music, of course, was amazing. I doubt anyone ever forgets their first blast of Acid House on a big sound system. That shit is so powerful you don’t even need the drugs.
Rhythm King Records weren’t releasing much Acid House but they had already scored a number one hit with the fabulous Theme From S’Express. When I got back to London I wasted no time renewing my acquaintance with label boss Martin Heath, and the first assignment he gave me was with whiz kid DJ Tim Simenon and rapper MC Merlin.
I can’t remember exactly what I did on this session, it may just have been an edit, but a couple of memories have stuck with me. Firstly, this was the first time I felt any kind of generational divide, me having reached the grand old age of 30 and my two clients being in their teens.
My son Tom (who some readers may know as Verb T), 7 at the time, was already a massive hip hop fan. So it was good to show him that daddy-o was hip to the scene.
My second memory is that this was the first time I ever used an Apple computer. I was impressed.