Video Countdown: A Journey Thru The NY Underground (Part Two)

Following our story on New York techno in the early 90s, RBMA Radio honcho, veteran DJ and club music expert Yannick Elverfeld guides us through a selection of NYC’s forgotten classics and peculiar proto-rave anthems.

This is the second installment in Yannick's two-part series. Read part one here.

Go Bitch Go! - (Work This) Pussy

Go Bitch Go! - Work This Pussy (Dancefloor Records, 1991)

This whimsical creation joins the dots between jackin’ house, vintage rave sounds and a fair hint of ballroom demeanour. JP Aviance ripped Steve Poindexter’s classic “Work That Mutha Fucker” drum pattern in its entirety, adding a grinding acid line and vocal samples from the raunchiest divas around (google Sweet Pussy Pauline, A Bitch Named Johanna). The record was quite popular at the time, yet definitely overshadowed by tracks following a similar trajectory, particularly the countless classics from Todd Terry or Masters At Work’s Kenny Dope. I will never get tired of this one.

Turntable Hype - The Mario Brothers

Turntable Hype - The Mario Brothers (Go Bang! 1991)

Now, this is an 8-bit sound rave classic if ever there was one. Charley Casanova is somewhat of a NYC nightlife legend: a radio and club DJ with an array of other aliases and strong ties to the scenes in Holland and Belgium. He didn’t go down in history as a great innovator, yet the delightful Nintendo magic of “The Mario Brothers” sounded like nothing else in ’91. It was released on the Dutch Go Bang! label as the B-Side of the terrific “Set You Free” and still sounds fresh despite its silly novelty approach. Here’s some priceless early 90s footage from Casanova at Manhattan’s storied Limelight (check the hilarious interviews for Italian TV at 05:30).

Intellectual Harmonious Sanction - Drift & Dream

Intellectual Harmonious Sanction - Drift & Dream (Easy Street, 1991)

“Huh? Did somebody say something? It is I... your house!” The most ridiculous break in techno history? The rest of the record is equally odd, with a weird acid line, a pitched up Section 25 loop and a totally useless “Planet Rock” sample all making an appearance. What sounds like it should be awful is in fact a great record, and a staple at British raves and in continental clubs at least for one summer.

33 1/3 Queen - Searchin'

33 1/3 Queen - Searchin’ (Nu Groove, 1990)

While I tried to avoid some of the obvious classics, it’s virtually impossible not to mention a few of Nu Groove’s brightest moments here, like 33 1/3 Queen’s gorgeous “Searchin’” or Bobby Konders’s “Nervous Acid.” Daryll ‘Mandrill’ Harris only put out a handful of records, but truly brought the heat with this one. “Searchin’” is basically just a rough interpretation of A Guy Called Gerald’s “Blow Your House Down," throwing in some West End disco vocals courtesy of Debbie Trusty, but still remains a timeless piece of techno-infused house music until today.

Acid Masters - Deterioration

Acid Masters - Deterioration (Requestline Records, 1991)

Requestline Records was an obscure New Jersey label, releasing a string of cheap, sample-based house and Latin freestyle records. However, they also put out a fairly underrated 6-Track EP entitled Acid Masters Vol 1 by production duo Damon Wild and Ray Love. Over the years Damon specialised in 303 jams in all colours, shapes and sizes. While his Acid Masters project seemed to be a homage to the Chicago originators, his later explorations of the sound culminated in harder, monolithic acid techno like the epic “Afghan Acid,” a huge record in 1993/94, which picked up on the success of Hardfloor’s all-time classic “Acperience 1."

Jimmy Crash - Crash Course

Jimmy Crash - Crash Course (Nu Groove, 1991)

Brooklyn’s Jimmy Crash was a pillar of the original Storm Rave crew and managed the Sonic Groove record shop during its early years, later running the Direct Drive label with Adam X. For his vigourous debut “Crash Course,” he conjured the best of all worlds, almost like a child in the rave candy store: hysterical Belgian techno choirs, bruising breakbeats on top of stuttering 4/4 kicks and a demented breakdown – a formula that worked as often as it didn’t at the time. For Nu Groove, it did work a couple of times, for instance here.

Frankie Bones - From Kings To Queens (Kings County Perspective)

Frankie Bones - From Kings to Queens (Groove World, 1993)

Frankie Bones was a true pioneer, yet his signature sample-heavy stylings weren’t always original or musically innovative. “From Kings to Queens” was different, a rare breed of hard-hitting techno that actually had a groove. Effortlessly combining a booming kick (that almost seems out of place), a swinging acid bass line, metallic snares, Detroit-esque strings, Belgian techno roughness, tricky breaks and seductive piano sprinkles, this was clearly one of Bones’ best tunes ever. Someone play this at Berghain please!

By Yannick Elverfeld on September 25, 2012

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