Sometimes the underground is a surreal place to be.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

VA - More Protein Sampler & Spiral Tribe - Respect to the Hardcore Mother Earth

Today we've got two of the most ridiculous extremes of the anglo-rave movement.

Various - Closet Classics Volume 1 - The More Protein Sampler (1992)

First, the More Protein Sampler which is mostly an outlet for MC Kinky's decadent drug-laden rave-ragga toasting over extremely campy rave techno (she was a Boy George discovery, this is out on his label of the time as a matter of fact). Starting off with the so-awful-it's-hilarious 'Everything starts with an E' camp rave tune, the sort of thing that says more about the entire line of people that it had to get through to reach production than it does about the blissed out gang of ravers who managed to produce it. Rest of the disc isn't nearly so bad, but it's camp soulful house divas to the last. Funny thing to point out: nearly all the vocalists on the album are black, and yet all the people on the cover are white. Including Jesus. Disgraceful.

A Thing find, of course. Still keeping an eye out for a Queen's English single. Haven't got the slightest idea why Madonna still has a career and Boy George doesn't after that, but maybe the english are a bit more attentive to their respective undergrounds and know who to punish when things go too far.


Second, the Spiral Tribe's final album Respect to the Hardcore: Mother Earth (also included is Tecno Terra, their debut). These were a gang (always 23 of them) of ravers who ran a travelling free techno soundsystem and preached a techno-holistic worldview. Essentially they attempted to fuse the early 90's brand of pagan earth-worship environmentalism with the concurrent techno-millenialism on a vaguely revolutionary line. Still amazes me that anyone took such nonsense seriously, since computer technology wreaks terrifying havoc on the environment and requires a global class division between the poor laboring nations and wealthy technological countries to produce and consume it. Chalk it up to the self-centered thinking that dominated the US and UK during and after the Thatcher/Reagan years, or just drugs.

As for the album, the tracks are thankfully more enjoyable than those of the Protein sampler for the most part. There's a few camp tracks ('Forward the Revolution' - thanks, you educated non-laboring children of a former colonialist power) and some weird pseudo-environmentalist duds ('World Adventurer Traveller', though that might be more of a 'traveller' thing, I'm too much of a boorish American to understand all these weird subcultural deals the English have going), but much of it's interesting and the punk-infused vibe can't be denied. Certainly better they preach contradictory nonsense with some positive aspects than the pure hedonism of their Club bretheren, though pure hedonism does enter into it all a bit too often to be forgivable. Either way, it's never boring. Still looking for my own proper copy of this, something more reasonably priced than the $200 discs I've seen on ebay. A bit of googling reveals this is still available, so I've taken it down. Please support Spiral Tribe and buy the double CD set here! It's cheap as hell and worth the listen if you have any interest in this period in techno.

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