Everybody needs a 303


The latest issue of The Wire arrived today. Maybe it was the appearance of Julian Cope on the front – but my brain suddenly started obsessing about the Roland 303, that legendary squelchy synth, responsible for some of the best bass ever that wasn’t played on a, well, bass.

The Wire does some wonderful primers that have led to me seeking out all manner of wonderful stuff I haven’t really heard before whether it’s been digital reggae or psychedelic folk. So…in honour of one of the most legendary bits of kit ever, and based on some records I tracked down, ladies and gentlemen: fifteen classic cuts featuring the 303:

From the days when it was starting to make its’ presence felt; if only in the background…

Blancmange -‘Living On The ceiling.’ mp3

Paul Haig -‘Justice.’ mp3

Orange Juice -‘Rip It Up.’ mp3

It starts to come to the forefront…

Alexander Robotnik -‘Problemes d’Amour.’ mp3

Heaven 17 -‘Let Me Go.’ mp3

Shannon -‘Let The Music Play.’ mp3

It could’ve been a contender in the Hip-Hop scene, it just seems that (largely) it wasn’t…except for these tracks…

Ice-T -‘Squeeze The Trigger.’ mp3

Mantronix -‘Bassline.’ mp3

However, it really shapes early acid house…including these three tracks, generally recognised as being the first three tracks from that scene in the US…

Sleazy D- ‘ I’ve Lost control.’ mp3

Phuture -‘Acid Trax.’ mp3

Armando -‘Land Of Confusion.’ mp3

…and acid house comes to the UK, becomes the biggest counter-cultural movement since punk and frightens the moral majority.

Baby Ford -‘Oochy Koochy.’ mp3

Humanoid -‘Stakker Humanoid 12″.’ mp3

Into the nineties, the dance scene pulls in hundreds of different directions, and most people struggle to keep up with what’s what. Especially those of us who got distracted by grunge and britpop. But some classic stuff takes the 303 into the decade…

Hardfloor -‘Acperience.’ mp3

…and the dance music of the Britpop era…big beat!

Fatboy Slim -‘Everybody Needs a 303.’ mp3

Five festive Fifty Favourites for Friday

…um, nice alliteration, I guess!

First up, one of those genuinely life-changing bands, Sonic Youth. The first album of theirs I heard was Goo, and while this may be indie heresy, I even prefer it to Daydream Nation (a few years ago, I played in a band with the working name of Daydream Nation. Our bassist hated it, and it transpired there is already a band of that name. Oh well). Never understood how ‘Dirty Boots’ from Goo didn;t make that year’s Festive Fifty, though…

Sonic Youth -‘Kool Thing.’ mp3

Sonic Youth -‘Tunic (Song For Karen).’ mp3

Does anyone else think this is a bit similar to ‘Kiss Them For Me’ by Siouxsie and the Banshees, which came out about the same time? Either way, cool record.

Chapterhouse -‘Pearl.’ mp3

‘I wanna die…I wanna die…’ Nowadays, a fifteen year old would embrace/shun this track for being ’emo’ with that lyric. But when it came out, I was fifteen, had never heard the word emo, and just thought it was drop dead cool. more than cood be said for me at the time.

Jesus and Mary Chain -‘Reverence.’ mp3

Fast forward to 1998, Britpop has gone down the plughole, and Norman Cook has yet another rebirth. This still makes me dance, really badly, mind…

Fatboy Slim -‘Rockafeller Skank.’ mp3

As I near to my 500th post, there will be more weird and wonderful music here. Watch this space…