Dance music may be a perpetual forward-motion machine, but it has often fruitfully examined its past. Disco, for example, has undergone a number of largely kitschy revivals since the early 90s – think of the very different uses of it by acts ranging from Deee-Lite, Masters at Work and DJ Sneak to Daft Punk, Escort, and LCD Soundsystem. But dance music's deeper past tended to be the preserve of those with insider knowledge. That, though, has begun to change, as dance music undergoes its first serious wave of reissued classics and rarities.
"With house music, it's been 25, 30 years of history," says Christiaan Macdonald, Rush Hour Recordings' label manager, "and there's a new generation of kids listening to it." Based in Amsterdam, Rush Hour has become a key label in electronic dance's sudden reissue bloom. Rush Hour shines on the new-title front, thanks to sparkling singles by FaltyDL, Nebraska, and Tom Trago – but it's proven invaluable for bringing to light legendary but little-heard music from the mid-90s, an era so teeming that it is to dance music what the 60s are to rock.
Beginning with the October 2008 issue of Kenny Larkin's The Chronicles – a double-CD collection of the Detroit techno producer's privately pressed 12in singles from 1992 to 1997 – Rush Hour has concentrated on reissuing vintage Chicago house and Detroit techno. Last year, they repressed vintage 12ins such as Robert Hood Presents Floorplan's Funky Souls from 1996, and put together Anthony "Shake" Shakir's three-CD Frictionalism 1994-2009, which plays like an alternate-universe greatest hits – and in a way, it is.
This is a significant shift. For all its sourcing in earlier music, electronic dance has tended not to be the most overtly nostalgic of forms, but that's begun to change recently. There have long been retrospective series, such as the Sessions double CDs on Union Square Music, or Mastercuts' Classic series, which tend to take a broad overview that presumes everyone listening is coming to this music for the first time (not to mention that several volumes of the Sessions series are intrusively, and badly, DJ-mixed).
But thanks to everything from YouTube to the disco re-edit underground to Detroit techno and Chicago house stretching toward three decades of existence, dance fans seem to be hungering for older music more than at any time before. Jungle and 2step DJs would never have thought to mix old Chicago or Detroit tracks into their sets, but newer DJs see no impediment to doing so; if anything, it gives the music a trans-historical kick. Dance fans who came of age in the 90s are seizing their heritage, while younger newcomers are claiming their roots. And as a result, dance compilations and reissues are going deeper than ever.
That's true of disco as well. There's been a boom in books on the subject – Alice Echols's Hot Stuff and Peter Shapiro's Turn the Beat Around are just two of many. But even a box set as judiciously chosen as A Complete Introduction to Disco 1970-1980, issued by Universal last August, can't dive into the music's many strange corners. Luckily, for those of us that have always wanted to hear the Andy Williams disco record, there is the recent Disco Discharge: Mondo Disco – "23 weird & wonderful disco artefacts," as the sleevesticker promises, which contextualizes Williams's weirdly Euro Love Story ("She fills my HEEEAAAARRRRT!") with equally garish tracks by 5000 Volts, Disco Circus, and Cerrone.
Mondo Disco is just one of four volumes in the double-CD Disco Discharge series issued this spring, bringing the total to 12; it was joined by Cruising the Beats (gay-bar pickup music, featuring This Girl's Back in Town by Raquel Welch), Euro Beats (they love Giorgio Moroder), and Disco Fever USA (male and female belters dominate). These CDs are as gloriously over the top as their subject, and packaged with smart attention to detail by compiler Mr Pink – aka David Akerman – a supply chain manager at Demon Music Group, which issues the discs.
"Each set takes approximately eight months from concept to release," says Akerman. He often chooses the black-and-white art before the track lists are finalised. "Finding the owners of tracks that were released on independent labels is quite often a problem," he says. "There are tracks that are lost for ever due to the fact no one can legally confirm who owns them."
It's partly for that reason that dance history has largely been lost until recently. "This is a music that historically was disrespected by the mainstream media, mainstream compilers, mainstream attention," says Andy Zax, a veteran reissue producer in Los Angeles who has worked extensively with Rhino, for whom he helped produce the mid-00s Talking Heads reissues. "It's like how garage rock had a substantial following, but it was under the radar to a certain degree. If you were somebody on the internet fanatically trying to download B-sides, you can disagree. But in terms of serious professional attention being paid, the degree of interest from the major-label music business has been spotty and intermittent at best."
The classic example is Machine Soul. In the late 90s, New York writer and collector Johan Kugelberg put together a four-disc box for Rhino – "a pretty good overview of electronica," says Kugelberg, using the vogue US term of the time. "The sales department at Rhino decided that a two-CD set was all the marketplace could carry, so it was chopped down, and became yet another neither-here-nor-there compilation."
"Any kind of compilation – single artist or genre or scene or region or sound or what have you – is an argument," says Zax, who saw Machine Soul deflate. "It should be like a well-structured essay whose topic is why you should care about this thing under consideration. Good compilations do that; bad compilations don't do that. What they put out was one of those packages it's hard to imagine it making anyone happy at all, despite the obvious quality of most of what's on it."
The tide for dance compilations began turning around the mid-00s. Soul Jazz salted its usual jazz, funk, reggae and post-punk collections with nods to the rave diaspora, Acid: Can You Jack? and Rumble in the Jungle, while Planet Mu put out a pair of seething mid-90s compilations by the jungle producer Remarc. That's the kind of reissue that's gaining traction: period-specific, in-depth surveys aimed at hardcore fans.
In some cases, these have been coming from the original labels. The past few years have seen a number of rave-era imprints making their catalogues available on download sites such as iTunes and eMusic. The important early jungle label Reinforced, for example – which incubated the first work of scene heroes 4Hero, Goldie (then Rufige Cru), and Doc Scott – recently collected its artists' mid-90s singles under the series title The Early Plates. Kniteforce, an early happy-hardcore imprint, got noticed back in late 2008 by putting its entire back catalogue up for free download; the offer has long since been discontinued, as the music makes its way to the online stores.
The most resonant of these reclamations has been R&S Records, founded in 1984. During the early 90s, R&S was as reliable and varied a rave label as there came, issuing parameter-expanding classics by Joey Beltram, Aphex Twin, Human Resource, Jam & Spoon, Jonny L, Mescalinum United and Jaydee at a lightning clip, setting the stage for later big-tent dance enterprises such as Kompakt. R&S gradually lost steam, moseying along till the early 00s, at which point the label went on indefinite hiatus. That changed in 2006, when founder Renaat Vandepapeliere revived it, handing the reins to label manager Andy Whittaker and young A&R man Dan Foat, who now run R&S in London.
"There's been many other older dance labels relaunched which have just mined the back catalogues and updated them with new remixes," says Whittaker. "But Dan and I wouldn't have been part of it if this was how R&S was to be run. We have a remit to make the label great again." R&S did indeed reissue its classics digitally and, more selectively, on CD; the 2008 collection In Order to Dance featured a bonus disc of old warhorses newly remixed, such as Prins Thomas's version of Outlander's Vamp, and Boys Noize making over CJ Bolland's Horsepower.
But those were merely steps toward a new beginning: Improbably, R&S has become one of dance music's premier labels in the here and now, thanks to a head-turning assortment of EPs by right-now acts such as Radio Slave, Pariah, Space Dimension Controller, Untold, and – oh yes – James Blake, whose 2010 R&S 12-inch CMYK is the track that launched the hype machine into overdrive.
"The fact the label has such a great heritage for working with people like Aphex Twin and Juan Atkins definitely helps us sign new artists," says Whittaker of his label's wraparound latter-day success – using vintage classics to launch into new directions. "Although now the new artists we sign are as impressed by our current roster as the back catalogue."
"We Have Arrived" redirects here. For the Dark Angel album, see We Have Arrived (album).
|Also known as|
|Born||(1969-04-07) 7 April 1969 (age 48)|
|Occupation(s)||Music producer, remixer, DJ|
|Labels||Planet Core Productions|
Marc Trauner (born April 7, 1969) better known by his numerous aliases including Marc Acardipane, Mescalinum United, The Mover, Pilldriver, Marshall Masters and Resident E, is a Frankfurt, Germany based DJ and producer.
Trauner was co-founder of record label Planet Core Productions and the hardcore techno production team with the same name, better known as PCP. He released, as Mescalinum United, "We Have Arrived" in 1990. "We Have Arrived" was remixed by Aphex Twin and two versions of the track appeared on Aphex Twin's album Classics.
He scored a top 20 hit in the UK in collaboration with Scooter in 2003, with the single "Maria (I Like It Loud)", a cover of his 1997 single "I Like It Loud" (Marshall Masters feat. The Ultimate MC).
In 2006 he released his Best Of Album - Best Of Marc Acardipane (1989-1998). This was spread over 2 volumes.
"We Have Arrived"
"We Have Arrived" is a hardcore techno track by Marc Trauner under the alias Mescalinum United. It was first released by Planet Core Productions in 1990 on the Reflections of 2017 EP. The track is often regarded as the first hardcore techno track.