Saturday, November 11, 2006

Banging Like A Barn Door In A Force 10 Gale

CJ Bolland - Thrust

I really should post more techno. For a start, I LOVE IT, but it also completely defined my life in the early 1990s. I still have friends that call me Techno, such was my devotion to the genre during this period. So I’ll start by offering up this mighty bullet from the Yorkshire-born, Belgian-bred DJ Christian Jay (CJ) Bolland. ‘Thrust’ is taken from the album ‘The 4th Sign’, CJ’s full-length debut for the R&S label, released in 1992.

‘The 4th Sign’ is an album of forward-thinking, granite-hard underground techno, the product of a child raised by parents who ran a club in Antwerp and who grew up listening to the Belgian New Wave and Industrial music of Front 242, Neon Judgement and Klinik. Pioneering at the time, now it just bangs like a barn door in a force 10 gale where the barn the door is attached to is rammed to the rafters with bangers and someone lobs a lit ciggy in. The album consists of 9 quality tracks with no fillers, which was rare at the time as many of the DJ-turned-producers had difficulty stretching out their material to fill an album. CJ didn’t even need to include any of the tracks from his previous classic ‘Ravesignal’ 12” releases on R&S (not even the phenomenal ‘Horsepower’ which is easily the equal of Joey Beltram’s ‘Energy Flash’, but doesn’t get the props).

For ‘Thrust’, CJ keeps the beats just the right side of 130bpm to stop it becoming nosebleed gabba, though it is still harder than most. A thumping bass drum and distorted acid line drive the track along, with a succession of wild bleeps, squeaks, junior hoovers and shrill whistles that eventually give way to a proper ‘reach for the laser’ Jean Michel Jarre synthesiser moment, before it all takes off again. The climax is utterly loopy, with what sounds like a room full of wind-up monkey drummers doing battle with the whistle posse from hell. Maybe not genius, but approaching greatness, especially when you consider how fresh it still sounds over 14 years after it originally dropped.

CJ Bolland's official website
Full CJ Bolland discography
CJ Bolland at My Space
Search ebay, for 'The 4th Sign' as it's been deleted for ages