Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Go Take That California Trip...

Depeche Mode - Route 66 (Beatmasters Mix)

Depeche Mode must be one of the most covered bands in history. There's an entire website devoted to all the different bands who've reinterpreted their songs. According to that website, 'Enjoy the Silence' has been covered a staggering 176 times - although admittedly the bands on that list whose names I recognise I could count on one hand. But for a band who have been covered so many times, they have only actually covered two songs themselves - 'Dirt' by the Stooges (which featured on the b-side of the 2001 single 'I Feel Loved') and 'Route 66' (on the flip of 'Behind the Wheel', released in 1987).

'Route 66' was written by Bobby Troup, originally recorded by the King Cole Trio in 1946 (as '(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66'), popularised by Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones in the 1960s, before the Basildon boys got their hands on it. It was when I was writing this piece that I found out that it was Martin Gore who sang it. I still can't quite believe that, it sounds so much like Gahany. Anyway, the Beatmasters version is a classic late-1980s flavoured remix, packed with snatches of film and TV dialogue and is also a megamix of sorts as it features elements of 'Behind the Wheel'. There is also an awesome bongo breakdown halfway through and a little drum break at about 4m 15s that I used to love so much when I was a teenager that I did a little re-edit of my own on a double cassette deck, looping it over and over again and extending the mix by about two minutes. A fledgling Beatmaster in the making? Not quite...

I'm going old school Mode crazy at the moment so keep an eye on my Twitter page as I'll definitely be lobbing a few tracks up on there -

Search eBay for 'Behind the Wheel'
Official Depeche Mode website
Depeche Mode MySpace
Beatmasters MySpace

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Big Two Hundred - Drum Spell

Since disbanding Bizarre Inc back in 1996 after their second album, 'Surprise', was a commercial flop, Andrew Meecham and Dean Meredith have been incredibly creatively fertile, together and apart, with less chart success but with an increasingly eclectic sound. They both dabbled in Big Beat as Sir Drew and Psychedeliasmith respectively, before coming together again as Chicken Lips in 1999 and exploring the outer reaches of space funk, nu-disco and leftfield house. On the solo tip, Meecham has been recording spaced-out analogue disco as the Emperor Machine for DC Recordings since 2003 (more on that one day - the 'Vertical Tones and Horizontal Noise' series is brilliant), and Meredith's White Light Circus project (also on DC) is Moroder/Kraftwerk influenced dirty old school electro and celestial funk (again, I should really cover this some day as it is equally good).

But my favourite post-Bizarre Inc incarnation for Meecham and Meredith was Big Two Hundred. Under that alias they recorded a solitary album, 'Your Personal Filth', released on DC Recordings in 2003; a rampant collection of dub disco, punk funk and psychedelic garage rock, very much in thrall to Bristol's late-1970s post punk pioneers The Pop Group and with nods to The Clash and PiL. It's a fucking freaky far out and hugely underrated album with a dirty, stoned sound enhanced by the fact that it was all recorded on vintage analogue equipment. Check 'Drum Spell', which sounds like an outtake from a Can album - 12-minutes of locked Krauty grooves, a bucketload of spooky echo effects and insane, voodoo-influenced, dubbed-out percussion that sounds like it's being played with human bones. And to think this fell out of the same heads that made 'I'm Gonna Get You'. I want some of whatever it was they'd been taking...

Search eBay for Big Two Hundred
DC Recordings website
DC Recordings MySpace
Chicken Lips MySpace
The Emperor Machine MySpace
White Light Circus MySpace