UK Rave 1987-1990




1.01 M/A/R/R/S ‘Pump Up The Volume’ 12” A Side August 1987

1.02 Coldcut ‘Beats + Pieces’ 12” A Side August 1987

1.03 Bomb The Bass ‘Beat Dis’ 7” A Side February 1988

1.04 S’Express ‘ Theme From S’Express’ 7” A Side April 1988

1.05 Baby Ford ‘Oochy Koochy’ (Konrad Kadet Mix) 12” A Side June 1988

1.06 Jolly Roger ‘Acid Man’ (Original Mix) 12” A Side August 1988

1.07 Perfectly Ordinary People ‘Theme From P.O.P’ 7” A Side September 1988

1.08 808 State ‘Cubik’ Extended Pleasure Of Dance 12”EP October 1988

1.09 Humanoid ‘Stakker Humanoid’ 12” A Side October 1988

1.10 A Guy Called Gerald ‘Voodoo Ray’ 12” A Side November 1988

1.11 Unique 3 ‘The Theme’ (Unique Mix) 12” A Side March 1989

1.12 Eon ‘Infinity’ (Mystic Mix) 12” A Side May 1989

1.13 E-Zee Posse ‘Everything Starts With An E’ (Sir Frederick Leighton Remix) 12” A Side July 1989

1.14 Shut Up And Dance ‘£10 To Get In’ 12” B Side August 1989

1.15 Forgemasters ‘Track With No Name’ 12” A Side August 1989




2.01 Orbital ‘Chime’ 12” A Side December 1989

2.02 Sweet Exorcist ‘Testone’ 12” A Side January 1990

2.03 Rum & Black ‘Fuck The Legal Stations’ 12” A Side March 1990

2.04 4Hero ‘Mr Kirk’s Nightmare’ Combat Dancin’ 12”EP May 1990

2.05 Energise ‘Report To The Dancefloor’ (Full Alert Mix) 12” A Side June 1990

2.06 Tricky Disco ‘Tricky Disco’ 12” A Side June 1990

2.07 LFO ‘LFO’ (Leeds Warehouse Mix) 12” A Side June 1990

2.08 The Orb ‘A Huge Evergrowing Remix’ (Orbital Dance Mix) 12” Remix July 1990

2.09 A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd ‘Total Confusion’ (Confusion Mix) 12” A Side July 1990

2.10 Scientist ‘The Exorcist’ 12” A Side August 1990

2.11 Original Clique ‘AZ67’ North Of Watford 12”EP September 1990

2.12 Nightmares On Wax ‘Aftermath’ (LFO Remix) 12” A Side October 1990


   Myths are incredibly powerful things but rarely do they reveal the full picture. The truth is that history is never as straightforward or as convenient as myths would have us believe yet UK Rave is built on them. In the grand scheme of things, apart from the protagonists themselves, I doubt anyone cares whether acid house was first introduced to these shores via the Hacienda’s infamous Nude nights or by an elitist bunch of DJ’s transplanting the Balearic Beat of sunny Ibiza to a cold, wet London over the winter of 1987. Whatever the myth, the indisputable truth is that acid’s arrival lit the fuse for the biggest youth culture explosion this countries ever seen.

  Given how punk was such big news that may sound slightly controversial but even this son of ‘76 can see how rave’s largely apolitical, hedonistic, optimistic nature had a far greater impact than nihilistic punk ever could, even if it was built on a dodgy Ecstasy induced ethos of love, peace and unity. Not only did it democratise a dance scene that had grown remote, scarily retro and racially segregated, it also spawned the Second Summer of Love, the prodigious taking of a new drug, ridiculous media outrage, a whole load of parental paranoia, an illegal party scene and new police powers and laws to kill that scene. In short, a brand new British youth culture in excelsis.

   Yet strangely, while rave is rightly acknowledged as the youthquake that shaped a generation, the British made music it produced barely gets a mention despite the first significant homegrown records arriving just as acid established a foothold and raves very essence; the E’s, the beach bum clothes, the dance moves, the smiley, was being defined in members only clubs like Shoom and Future. A sudden influx of sample based DJ records; a style originated by Coldcut, were sufficiently uptempo to get swept up into the burgeoning scene and proved so popular that tracks by M/A/R/R/S, Bomb The Bass and S’Express stormed the charts.

   While these records marked a turning point of sorts, their connection to early rave was tenuous to say the least. Predictably, the first cash-in attempts at authentic Chicago acid were nothing more than identikit copies, weedy sounding pastiches of the real thing that often didn’t even feature the definitive gurgle of a Roland 303. Humanoid’s ‘Stakker Humanoid’ was a major step up yet even that brilliant surge was soon transcended by A Guy Called Gerald’s masterful ‘Voodoo Ray’, the first homegrown acid anthem and one of the few to be regarded as a classic by the original pioneers of Chicago and Detroit.

   Throughout the Second Summer of Love, long before rave splintered into a myriad of sub-scenes and micro genres, there was still some confusion as to what UK rave music should be called. Created by a wide array of electronic dance disciples, from thirty something ex-punks to teenage bedroom geeks, it was still a long way from being any kind of coherent scene, more a mish-mash of hybrid genres and regional variants that had all developed quite separately.

   The Northern house of Unique 3 proved to be one of the more influential styles by providing the impetus for the bleep and bass of the Warp labels early roster that included the Forgemasters, Sweet Exorcist, Tricky Disco, LFO and Nightmares On Wax. So called because of the bleep of the pocket-calculator synth-motifs and the bass of the floor-quaking sub-low frequencies, bleep and bass didn’t last long but it was the first uniquely British twist on all things acieedd.

   The best of the non Warp signings were Orbital from Sevenoaks on the South Eastern edge of the London commuter belt. Their debut ‘Chime’ was a huge hit that defined the E-inspired optimism of the M25 rave scene. Knocked out on a cheap cassette recorder and released on Orbital’s own self-financed label, it was typical of raves cosy, DIY, cottage industry ethic. For all the music’s futurism, more often than not the hordes of faceless, anonymous DJ’s, producers and self taught sonic adventurers created their tracks at home or in cheap local studios before pressing up a thousand white label 12 inch singles and selling them direct to specialist dance shops who had previously relied on imports.

   Throughout 1990, tracks like ‘Chime’ and the ever increasing swell of this new underground, aided and abetted by shock horror media coverage, transformed rave into a national phenomenon and a second, much larger wave of British kids began to tune in, turn on and freak out. Entering their late twenties and early thirties, the original Balearic hipsters were dismayed by this opening up of the rave scene and its new herd mentality. They may well have been right but nonetheless, still found themselves in the uncustomary role of old gits, unable or unwilling to understand what was going on.

   To add to their confusion, in a new climate of rapid evolution, another wholly British rave sound began to emerge that would alienate them completely. Hatched in the early records of the Shut Up And Dance collective and 4Hero, hardcore was an apocalyptic rush of drug fuelled energy set to destroy any lingering trace of American acid house or techno while forging a shocking, wholly European, electronic dance music future.


July 2013