Terry Farley Presents Acid Rain: Definitive Original Acid & Deep House 1985-1991
Each of the five CDs has a title and theme, tracks sequenced with the flow of a DJ set. CD1’s The Birth Of Deep House is self-explanatory, especially handy to redress the balance for a term so abused these days. Tracks such as William S’s ’I’ll Never Let You Go’ and M.E.’s ethereally string-drenched ’School Hall’ establish a basic template of subterranean bass, stately keyboard riffs and haunted string melodies, Ace and the Sandman’s ‘Let Your Body Talk’ adding muted disco chants. But this music was more than that, bathed in a lysergic luminescent shimmer unlike anything heard at that time or even now, the glacial strings wafting like glacial clouds of heavenly meteor particles. Virgo 4’s ‘Take Me Higher’ spaces into dub territory, while Jungle Wonz’s ‘Bird In A Guilded Cage’ (Marshall Jefferson at the controls) adds African sounds and percussion. This disc also shows the influence of the European synth-pop which humped disco to produce house, the great Jamie Principle sounding uncannily like Marc Almond on the previously-unreleased ‘Bad Boy’ with Frankie Knuckles, while Charles B emotes on ’Lack Of Love’ as the 303 nibbles at his nads and potty-mouthed Candy J pioneers XXX haranguing on ‘Desirable Revenge‘. Many of the tracks here were classics at London house epicentre Shoom (I’m reliably informed; I was living in New York at the time), including Pleasure Zone’s breathy ’Fantasy’.
Maverick acid pioneer DJ Pierre is justifiably all over this set, popping up on CD1 with the spectral acid dub neo-classicism of Pierre’s Phantasy Club’s ‘Dream Girl’ and the fiercely pumping 303 assault of ‘Box Energy’. He throws another double-header into CD2’s In The Dark We Live selection with PPF’s ‘Got The Bug’ (eerie prototype of ‘Fantasy Girl’) and ‘Your Only Friend’, the chilling flip-side of Phuture’s ‘Acid Tracks’ unleashing the ‘This is cocaine speaking’ anti-drug message. While Mickey Oliver uses a speak-and-spell robo-voice on ‘In-Ten-Si-T’, the Phuture voice of doom peppers a spate of tracks, including Liddell Townsell’s ’As Acid Turns’, Cool McCool’s compulsive ’World Turns Round’ and Dr Derelict’s ’That Shit’s Wild’. Never a truer word, things are getting decidedly unhinged, also steamier (Knuckles’ definitive rumpo vamp ‘Baby Wants to Ride’) and sinister (Gene Hunt’s mercilessly jacking ‘Living In A Land’). Having said that, Virgo 4’s ‘R U Hot Enough’ is sheer piano house bliss, with chomping acid bass and bottomless strings – a deeply atmospheric masterpiece (as are ‘The Jungle‘ by Jungle Wonz and Mario Diaz‘s Hot Mix 5 tune ‘Can You Feel It‘).
And still they come, with two long time personal obsessions – Larry Heard as Mr Fingers with the seminal ultra-wobble transmission of ‘Washing Machine’ and Master C&J’s legendary dub of ‘Face It’, one of a clutch of back alley night-stalkers they released on State Street (some with Liz Torres, in here somewhere). One of the few none Chi-Town entries comes from Canada’s Big Shot crew in the form of Mr & Mrs Dale’s sultry Miami bass house hybrid ’It’s You’ (one of the inspirations for my own Secret Knowledge project).