Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Watch Yer Bassbins...

Higher Intelligence Agency - Ketamine Entity (Axiom Mix)

It's been ages since I've thought about speakers, though there was a certain point in my life when everyone I knew was completely obsessed with them. I wasn't really into cars, but I was capable of having lengthy conversations about speakers with anybody who'd care to listen. God knows what the content of these conversations were, it has all thankfully dribbled out of my head now. What boring gits we must have been.

Speakers are important though. Especially if you want to piss someone off. I used to live above an absolute dickhead in Halls at college, and once borrowed my next door neighbour Mark's gigantic bad boy Wharfdales, rested them face down on the floor, stuck the Hypnotist album on repeat at an insane volume and went out for the day.

And what about speakers in cars? Judging by the sounds I hear emanating from vehicles careering about the streets around my house in South London, we were pretty clueless back then when it came to souping up a soundsystem for the car. I can remember a particularly cheap car stereo exploding when John Peel played the KLF and Extreme Noise Terror's collaboration on his show one night when we were driving around. Smoke was pouring out of it and we were in hysterics. My mate Russell had the right idea. He wired in some ancient yet fuckingnoisy 5-foot high speakers and lobbed them in the boot of his camper van. Now that was what we called a car stereo...

These days, we've got the same Missions that my wife has had since 1992. They do the job, especially considering these days I like my neighbours and rarely play music louder than speaking volume unless I am paralytic or off my face. In which case, they do the job nicely. Not bad considering they're 15 years old.

Back in the day, if anyone wanted to test out the power and capability of their new speakers, there were certain songs that always did the job. 'Ketamine Entity' by Higher Intelligence Agency was one of them. You won't get it if you just play it on your computer or iPod. You really need to play it through some serious speakers to properly understand the ridiculous levels of sub-bass at work here. The song was a wibbly-wobbly anthem in praise of everyone's favourite horse tranquiliser, with echoey dubbed out drums, twisted acid lines and a fractured vocal from an alien being. And that bass line of course. Give it a rinse and piss your neighbours off for old time’s sake.

Higher Intelligence Agency hailed from Birmingham, and pioneered the ambient dub movement during the mid-1990s through a series of brilliant albums, and the Oscillate club nights in Birmingham. 'Ketamine Entity’ is lifted from their debut album 'Colourform', after originally featuring on the first 'Ambient Dub' compilation, released on Beyond in 1992. It's weird, because when I looked up HIA on discogs.com, there was one comment from someone about ‘Colourform’, which says - "My friends and I used to use 'Delta' as the standard test of bass response for speakers." Despite preferring different tracks, we weren't alone!

Search eBay for Higher Intelligence Agency
Higher Intelligence Agency at discogs.com
Higher Intelligence Agency website
Read about the Oscillate Sound System here
The home of Mission speakers