softcore dance

blissblogger

Well-known member
A couple of things made me think of this sequel to the hugely successful Softcore Rap thread - a moment in dance similarly indexed to the wave of end-of-Eighties / very-early-Nineties positivity and vague hopefulness / hopeful vagueness.

1. reminded for the first time in decades of this group and this 1990 track, which has a breakbeat, but slow and hypnotic


2/ remembered that earlier this summer Bob Stanley put out a compilation called Fell From the Sun about this moment in UK dance - 1990 essentially - when everything slowed down and got dreamy + floaty + "dubby"

Well, not everything - indeed the converse tendency was going on at the exact same time - things getting faster, harder, more brutal and riff-nasty. Belgium!

Still it was a thing - the 98 bpm movement, which according to the Fell From the Sun blurb was a Andy Weatherall initiative (although I seem to recall Danny Rampling was also pushing it).

Names like Sheer Taft, One Dove, The Grid...

Fell From the Sun includes an artist with the name Elsi Curry which for some reason amuses me even though Elsie and Curry are both perfectly normal names.

Others around that time vaguely in this zone would have been Fluke (not as slow and dreamy - perhaps better slotted into the category "amalgamation dance" - recent exponents: Bicep, Overmono... earlier would be Leftfield. I.e. eclectic versatile stylistic smorgasbord-y - album-oriented or at least home-listening compatible).

A lot of this 98 bpm stuff is indie-dance, linked to the Heavenly Records / Creation nexus. Some edges into the chill out Orb zone (a haven for aging postpunkers - Youth's transformation from Sid Vicious wannabe to Goa beach bum / head = archetypal and unmatchable).

It's pointing towards progressive house (another haven for ex-indie, the beats simple and chugging enough for them to cope with, and the "dubbiness" connecting for people who had liked an On U Sound record or two).

Then another "development" a bit further on - and lurching lairily upward in bpm / vibe - would be Big Beat.

So a succession of dead ends - but in this case, a pretty little cul de sac.
 
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Benny B

Well-known member
I remember many years ago someone on ILM, Tim F probably, came up with 'softcore continuum' as a term. I don't think it was a very fleshed out idea, but iirc it was to trace the lovers (rock) thread running through jungle etc. But you already started a thread for that kind of thing a while back, didn't you @blissblogger ? Anyway, I thought it was quite neat
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
I remember many years ago someone on ILM, Tim F probably, came up with 'softcore continuum' as a term. I don't think it was a very fleshed out idea, but iirc it was to trace the lovers (rock) thread running through jungle etc. But you already started a thread for that kind of thing a while back, didn't you @blissblogger ? Anyway, I thought it was quite neat

that is a nice idea. i think this stuff I'm talking about actually fits better the Finney coinage - because the softness in the hardcore/jungle/UK garage is woven inextricably with the tuffness - you'll have a gorgeous lover's rock or soul vocal and then some raspy murder-him-gon-kill-im type ragga vocal but also a bit of orchestration from a film soundtrack or jazz fusion but then ruff breaks and bass Although there is a lighter dolphin-y smooth grooving kind of thread through the nuum as well.

another word for the stuff I'm talking about would be "lightweight continuum" hehehe - it is stuff that played well within the rock press. partly cos of the links to Heavenly / Creation and often having a song element (One Dove). but also it's dance music you didn't have to take drugs to keep up with the bpm.
 
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boxedjoy

Well-known member
Big Beat to me feels like a rock approach to dance music - big recognisable riffs, gimmicks over grooves, icons over anonymity - in a way that streetsoul and Fell From The Sun doesn't. Or at least, big beat is to Britpop what this stuff is to shoegaze.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
Yes that sort of intersection of ethereal Goth-lite / shoegazey quasi-Medieval vocals with lolloping beats is a strand in the vicinity

e.g. The Beloved sampling Gothic Voices: A Feather on the Breath of God, that LP of Abbess Hildengard of Bingen plainsong

 

blissblogger

Well-known member
Big Beat to me feels like a rock approach to dance music - big recognisable riffs, gimmicks over grooves, icons over anonymity - in a way that streetsoul and Fell From The Sun doesn't. Or at least, big beat is to Britpop what this stuff is to shoegaze.

But institutionally it's the same people - Heavenly Records / Heavenly Social. Creation starts this dance-oriented sub label label Infonet just a year or so before it gets the Oasis juggernaut rollin'

I think they are phases of the same lineage - Madchester/indie-dance to Big Beat / Britpop. The Chemical Brothers featuring Noel G "Setting Sun" is the climax / swan-song of the whole era - or its book-end, maybe, with Happy Mondays Rave On EP and Stone Roses's "Fool's Gold" at the start of the era.

And of course pre-Oasis Noel G actually tried to make some acid house apparently!

(So did Shane McGowan, or at least tried to persuade the other Pogues to make a 20 minute track called something like "You've Got To Get Connected". The power of pills!)
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
I was surprised Bob didn't go for this One Dove song rather than "Fallen" - I think it distils this moment and what it has going for it perfectly


Vocally/lyrically walking that saintly / sexual / chemical line with exquisite ambiguity

I feel like there's a mix where the wordless chorus bit is even more deathgasm swoony but I can never find it - maybe it is this radio edit that I've amplified in the memory

When you factor in the 'dove' in the name and the title 'White Love' and lyrics like

"White love, this love
This powerful, this pure
Behind our eyes
And when I trip, when I fall
It's just like velvet"

it seems clears there's a for-those-who-know element to the lyric
 

thirdform

Well-known member
for all this lots invocations of dub reggae and on U Sound, this is the whitest form of dance music, even more than belgian techno, which is no mean feat, really.

Weatherall got much better when he started playing minimal dubby house and longform trippy techno.

Diabolical ecstasy casualty piece and love hippy crap, deeply irredeemable in every conceivable way. Brits need to stop having fun, and get real, sometimes.
 

thirdform

Well-known member
the 98 bpm movement was Tong and Oakenfold iirc. Oakenfold of course one of that shed lot, wouldn't be surprised if the cunt had a dalliance with the national front in the late 70s.

I will still defend the late Weatherall but how his mate Farley was also shed is beyond me.

Still, good thing they lost to Zagreb. sure their nazi fanbase is ranting on the flight back tonight about red Croats.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
Football / indie-dance hoolie-hippie intersection


too bumptiously lively for 98rpm moment but proximate

the song is like a second-div mod / freakbeat sneer plucked out of '66 and plopped into '90 chuggathonic houserock
 

thirdform

Well-known member
Although it goes without saying that the black dog completely bossed this style when they went there. still give this album a listen at least 3 times a year. probably the best techno album ever, precisely because none of it is exactly orthodox detroit techno, even the stuff with the most detroity cords.

 

thirdform

Well-known member
more Basic Channel goes hip hop than softcore dance proper, but what a beautiful cocoon of dubbed out sound.

 

thirdform

Well-known member
Football / indie-dance hoolie-hippie intersection


too bumptiously lively for 98rpm moment but proximate

the song is like a second-div mod / freakbeat sneer plucked out of '66 and plopped into '90 chuggathonic houserock

dainton connell - aka. the bear of highbury (arsenal hooligan) was mates with Neil Tennant from the petshop boys. A lot of football hooligans made the wrong decision, but safe to say he didn't.
 
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