Past>Forward


I’m Raving – Past>Forward Vol. 6 – The 50 Pound Classic Techno Mix

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Last Train To Transcentral (Live From The Lost Continent) by The KLF
Intoxication (Original Mix) by React 2 Rhythm
It’s A Fine Day by Opus III
LFO (Leeds Warehouse Mix) by LFO
Vamp by Outlander
Night In Motion (Original Mix) by Cubic 22
Instruments Of Darkness (All Of Us Are One People) (The Prodigy Mix) by Art Of Noise
O Fortuna by Apotheosis
Anasthasia (Out Of History Mix) by T99
Spice (Original Mix With Notes) by Eon
James Brown Is Dead (Original Mix) by L.A. Style
Jump! by The Movement
Come On Boy (Pump It Up Mix) by DJ H Featuring Stefy
Chime by Orbital
Next Is The E (Razormaid! Mix) by Moby
A Million Colours by Channel X
Dominator (Mental Speed Mix) by Human Resource
Jericho by The Prodigy
Sesame’s Treet by Smart E’s

“James Brown is dead!”

I started my first regular paying DJ gig in May of 1992. In the six months prior, techno had completely overtaken the clubs, so I cut my teeth working these songs to a live crowd.

For several months I’ve been mentioning to friends and promoters that I’d love to do a “Where Were U In ’92?” party, and some momentum is building. In just a couple of hours I’ll be spinning a set of classic techno at Dope, a monthly club night in the Castro.

Past>Forward Vol. 5 – The 50 Pound Note Disco Mix

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Disco Circus by Martin Circus
Can’t Live Without Your Love by Tamiko Jones
Is It All Over My Face by Loose Joints
Let’s Dance by The Bombers
Star Cruiser by Gregg Diamond
How Much, How Much I Love You by Love And Kisses
Mama Rue (C’est Moi) by The Queen Samantha
San Francisco (You’ve Got Me) by Village People
Love In C Minor by Cerrone
High On Mad Mountain by Mike Theodore Orchestra
Good In Love by The Ritchie Family
Souvenirs by Voyage
Magnifique by Magnifique
Dancing Is Dangerous by Nöel
Dance (Disco Heat) by Sylvester
Devil’s Run by Peter Jacques Band

“Freaky scenes of pure delight…”

Disco is hard.

I learned to DJ in the late ’80s, when turntables were the norm, and most dance music was created with drum machines and sequencers so a song would keep a consistent beat. Most disco music was created using session musicians with real drums, real percussion, real strings – real everything, so the tempo is going to vary because of the human element. Beat matching disco music is hard.

I think I did a pretty good job. I’ve been planning this mix for a while for a couple of reasons. The first is that we’re coming up on the annual Remember The Party dance at San Francisco’s legendary Trocadero Transfer. The other reason is my friend Bruce. For those of you familiar with the discography restoration projects I’ve been involved with elsewhere, Bruce is the genius behind the vinyl transfers. His ability to take a vinyl platter and massage the sound to near CD quality is unrivaled. Bruce’s passion is for authentic OOP ’70s disco albums and singles – in fact, 13 of the 16 tracks presented here are his work. He’s recently mastered some albums for CD re-release, and is beginning to get the recognition he deserves. Bruce will be here for Remember The Party (arriving tomorrow, as a matter of fact), and will finally get to experience real disco music in a real legendary disco. This mix is for him.

I discovered a few interesting things while working with these tracks. Let’s Dance was sampled by Lee Douglas for a remix of The Juan Maclean’s Happy House in 2008. Star Cruiser borrows a musical theme from Hey Jude. A keyboard riff in Mama Rue (C’est Moi) was used by Bronski beat on their Eartha Kitt collaboration Cha Cha Heels, and Devils’ Run also seems to have inspired their Hit That Perfect Beat. Finally, Pet Shop Boys may have had a huge hit with their cover of Village People’s Go West, but they also lifted a horn riff from San Francisco (You’ve Got Me) and used it in New York City Boy.

I hope this mix puts a smile on your face. Bruce has certainly caused me to re-evaluate what I always assumed was cheesy disco music – tracks like Dancing Is Dangerous and High On Mad Mountain have found a permanent rotation in my DJ sets. I also hope to see you at Remember The Party on Sunday night. Wear white!

For further reading, may I suggest Vince Aletti’s excellent book The Disco Files 1973-78.

Past>Forward Vol. 4 – The 50 Pound Note Retro Mix

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Some People (Extended) by Belouis Some
Imagination (Dance Mix) by Xymox
Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix) by Section 25
In The Name Of Love (’88 Remix) by Thompson Twins
The Promise (Coliseum Club Mix) by When In Rome
I Can’t Help It (Extended Club Mix) by Bananarama
So In Love (Special American Dance Remix) by OMD
Have In Mind (Kalimba Mix) by Cetu Javu
Promise (Dance Mix) by Secession
It’s My Life (Extended Mix) by Talk Talk
Reap The Wild Wind (12″ Version) by Ultravox
Memorabilia (Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing Version) by Soft Cell

“I collect, I reject, memorabilia…”

This installment of Past>Forward is really just a collection of older tracks I’ve been revisiting lately. The Belouis Some album was just reissued on CD with a bunch of remixes included, and I’ve recently picked up remastered discs by Thompson Twins, OMD, and Ultravox.

A lot of these songs bring to mind specific people, so this one is for Brian F, Joe, Paul, Jason, Sean, Pete, and the original Beat Bash DJs Brian P and Michelle.

Past>Forward Vol. 2 – The 50 Pound Note Retro Mix – The Metro, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
(Original upload date 18 April 2007)

DOWNLOAD (77.3 MB, 192kbps, 56:12)

Walking Away (SMD Mix) by Information Society
Bizarre Love Triangle (12″ Version) by New Order
True Faith (Morning Sun Remix) by New Order
The Different Story (Razormaid! Mix) by Peter Schilling
Losing My Mind (Disco Mix) by Pet Shop Boys
Das Omen (Razormaid! Mix) by Mysterious Art
Strangelove (Pain Mix) by Depeche Mode
Join In The Chant (Burn!) by Nitzer Ebb
Theme From S-Express (US 12″ Mix) by S-Express
Crucified (The Nuzak Remix) by Army Of Lovers
I Sit On Acid (Mixin’ Up The Acid) by Lords Of Acid
Welcome To Paradise/Headhunter (Razormaid! Mix) by Front 242

“DROP THAT GHETTOBLASTER!”

Located at 156 W Main Street in downtown Lexington, The Metro was in operation from roughly 1990 to 1993. It came third in the succession of gay-owned bars (Cafe LMNOP, Great Moments) that appealed to a mixed crowd and played alternative dance music. During regular hours it was a dyke bar but on Friday and Saturday nights from 1:30 to 4:30am DJs Chad and Joe would spin bands like Depeche Mode and New Order for an 18-and-up crowd that was a mixture of gay/straight/male/female/white/black/young/old. During the fall of 1990 it became the first gay club I’d ever set foot in, a full year before I turned 21.

I was already DJing a dance music show on the college radio station which then approached the bar to have me do an industrial music night on Thursdays. I got to know Joe and Chad and within a year I was regularly filling in for them on Saturdays, too.

This is the first of two mixes that capture the sound of those nights. By the tail-end of 1991 James Brown Is Dead came along and suddenly techno wiped away melodic, song-based dance music. I started DJing at The Bar in May of 1992 so my Metro days came to an end.

I hope someone from the old crowd finds this mix; I’ve not seen any of them in 15 years.

As a side note I’d like to add that I had a lot of trouble recording this mix. I had to do it five or six times due to repeated technical difficulties, and it made me laugh because these are the songs I learned how to DJ with, and it was like my skills had reverted to that beginner level all over again. I should have left a great big train wreck right in the middle of it for old time’s sake.

Past>Forward Vol. 1 – The 50 Pound Note Retro Mix
(Original upload date 28 March 2007)

DOWNLOAD (81.8 MB, 192kbps, 59:29)

Big Strong Man (Wild Boys Remix) by Tanz Waffen
Cccan’t You See (Razormaid! Mix) by Vicious Pink
Always On My Mind (Razormaid! Mix) by Pet Shop Boys
You Think You’re A Man (12″ Mix) by Divine
Homosapein II (Icon Mix) by Pete Shelley
Give (Dance Mix) by Missing Persons
Knocking On Your Door (Mark Saunders Remix) by Erasure
Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat
Rush Hour (7th Heaven Remix) by Jane Wiedlin
Keep In Touch by Re-Flex

“Well keep in touch, won’t you?”

After spending several years doing a dance music show on my college radio station, in 1995 I switched over to an early Saturday morning shift and began Past>Forward which explored the history of electronic music. Beginning with Edgard Varese who is considered the godfather, I sought not to explore just dance but all forms of electronic music. Did you know that in 1967 The Monkees were the first band to use a commercial synthesizer on a pop record? With the success of Wendy Carlos, Gershon Kingley’s successful single Popcorn and Kraftwerk’s Autobahn the listening public gradually became aware of synthesizers but the watershed moment (for me) would have to be Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, created by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte in 1977. The melding of affordable synthesizers and sequencers with disco rhythms would give birth to an explosion of danceable pop bands all through the ’80s, which brings me to this new series.

Based on our mutual adoration of Vicious Pink’s Cccan’t You See, my friend Denny asked me to put together a retro mix for him to listen to at the gym. I thought this would be a good excuse to bring back the Past>Forward name and create a mix series that pays tribute to the music that made me want to be a DJ in the first place. While there may at times be some crossover between this series and Kiss The Future the bulk of Past>Forward will be songs released between 1980-1990. I’ve also considered doing an all-disco mix (pre-1980), and I’ll have a chance to focus on specific labels like San Francisco’s Megatone Records which raised the bar for high energy dance music.

Most of you will be familiar with all the artists in this first mix. Re-Flex is the same band that did The Politics Of Dancing, and their only LP (sharing the same title, released in 1983) was a strong early influence on me. Keep In Touch was the last song on the album. The one artist here that almost no one knows is Tanz Waffen. The name is German and translates as “dance weapon” but the band was actually a male/female duo from Austin, Texas. Big Strong Man was their only official single (although other songs were released by the Razormaid! remix service).

I liberally borrowed “past forward/passed forward” as a name and concept from a Die Krupps singles compilation released in 1991.