A funny thing happened to me the other day. I received two artist album cds that each contain tons of tracks. They were “Wronger Than Anyone Else” by In Flagranti and “Proto Acid The Berlin Sessions” by A Guy Called Gerald. What made their receipt all the sweeter is that they are both brilliant.
‘Wronger . . .” weighs in with a hefty seventeen tracks, but Gerald’s has twenty four. I was only familiar with one In Flagranti track beforehand, the pitched up excellence of “Just Gazing” which is one of the tracks that opens Ivan Smagghe’s brilliant “How To Kill The DJ Vol.1” (Tigersushi). All the tracks are quite short, no longer than three to four minutes and incorporate a huge amount of decadence and sleaziness. From the medieval italo synths that open the album on “Are You Ready” (which could have come from any amount of places off either of IF’s two brilliant “Mixed Up In The Hague” compilations) , to the electro disco of “Incarnation,”the hillbilly techno of “Eight Consecutive Life Terms” and the euphoric funk of “Escapade,” there is no filler. This is essentially a compilation of earlier released tracks from the previous eighteen months, plus some other stuff. There are no gaps between tracks so the cd sounds like a meticulously – programmed unmixed dj set. There’s Gary Glitter in there too in “Futile Attempt.” I hope that doesn’t put you off though. It’s excellent.
“Marching Powder” kicks off “Proto Acid . . . “ and from then on in we’re in the miasmic world of A Guy Called Gerald. Gerald actually started his recording career in my home town, bringing out his first album “Hot Lemonade” and I think early editions of “Voodoo Ray” on Wallasey label Rham records. His mid-nineties album “Black Secret Technology” was by far the most futuristic take on drum and bass up to that time. So futuristic in fact that in my opinion it bore little resemblance to the genre it was pigeonholed in. It was one of the best from that decade and difficult to improve upon. Not that I think he’s been trying to do that with ‘Proto Acid . . . “ Coincidentally it plays like “Wronger Than . . .” with minute, or no track breaks, but I suppose for the most part the tracks mix into each other, acting as continuations of those previous, (a mix of sorts, if you will.) And, like In Flagranti, he’s gone for a collection of tracks that are aimed squarely at the dancefloor.
I think Gerald’s lp is superb as well. It’s upfront and raw. He called it proto acid because “ . . .it’s how I feel house/techno music would have sounded if the whole rave thing hadn’t happened in England.” Well, I guess we’ll never know, and if my aunty had a dick she’d be my uncle. Then he goes on to say “ . . . when I say proto acid I’m saying this stuff has a direct lineage to Chicago and Detroit in the mid-to-late eighties.”
That’s undeniably true, but it also sounds very European. To me it’s a more polished version of what I have always understood to be played at high volume in muddy fields across Europe at the many raves that still flourish there, France’s Teknivals, to name but a few. It’s better for the polish though.
Wronger Than Anyone Else (Codek) – In Flagranti: released 18/9/06
Proto Acid The Berlin Sessions (Laboratory Instinct) – A Guy Called Gerald: