Makers of Movement - Seven Hills Presents Precise Daily Rhythm 94-98 (Seven Hills, 2020)
Updated: Jul 18
Power meets meaning and emotion on this excellent release that brings together some timeless gems and previously unreleased gems from the Makers of Movement.
We've said it before here at Endless Grooves, but its always worth repeating - the 90s truly was a groundbreaking time for dance music, in so many ways that is difficult to form into words. The musical landscapes, soundscapes and subscapes began to shift in ways that perhaps will forever remain unprecedented, with the explosion of electronic orientated genres that followed on from the grand designs of dub, disco, house and techno something that broke through the imagined doors of possibility and drew new boundaries out beyond all realms of imagination and thought. Around the world, many were inspired by the sounds of Chicago and Detroit to pick up electronic instruments and try their hand at crafting machine driven beats, with the amount of heart and soul, pulse and rhythm, or expanse or narrowness melded into it, creating a spectrum of genres that catered for the ravers, the deep thinkers, and almost everyone in between. The UK in particular became a real hot bed for innovation and musical development during this time, inspired by the bleak surroundings of 80s Britain and fuelled by the emerging rave culture that captured the hearts and minds of a generation, numerous producers began to create their own interpretations of the forces behind the originators, and in the process crafted some truly unique contributions to the previously mentioned genres. The British take on house and techno always looked to blend much of the strengths of their American counterparts, utilising beautiful melodic tones on top of hearty beats and powerful dynamic transitions, with a real identity developing from the artists who emerged during the start of the decade, and is something which when you become more immersed within it you can see the characteristics of it all shine through. Techno from a UK perspective in particular had a real drive to it, and whilst many other countries explored primarily the aspects of the second wave UR driven sound - a harder, intense pulse - UK artists were more drawn towards a combination of the 80s side of things alongside the infectious energy that ran through the veins of the 2nd Detroit wave. It was this combination of deeply melodic key expressions, underpinned by enticingly dense drumming patterns, that really helped the UK to stand out amongst the rest of the devotees, and helped to elevate the artists involved to iconic status in the process. The sheer amount of evolutions and additions crafted and nurtured during this time lead to much joy and adoration, where people became entranced by the intoxicating music on display, its blend between driving rhythms and melodic excellence matched by the overall atmosphere and tonal feel provided. The overall picture began to emerge of a community of producers and musicians who fed into a like minded conscious, with all manner of thoughts harnessed to delve as far as humanly possible in order to achieve futuristic computer driven human led excellence. And oh how they exceeded all expectations.
The infatuation with the sounds that swirled around during the 90s is founded in the notion that a lot of what was released then was truly fucking excellent, with many a label cropping up over the past few years who spend a fair amount of time reissuing forgotten yet timeless gems that deserve very much their chance to shine once more. For a fair bit now, Seven Hills have been operating within this mantra, and their small but superb discography really speaks for itself in relation to the quality and depth of the music found on each release. The label has since 2018 released an astonishing array of UK techno orientated records, all of which demonstrate the absolute pinnacle of 90s dance music, be it from the progressions, overall mood or technical quality, each release seemingly shines as brightly as the previous, adding further to the label's reputation as one of the most dedicated to exploring the decade and its hidden treasures. Alongside the sub label Zeitnot, which focuses more so on contemporary producers who craft music in the same way, you have a collective mindset focused solely on delivering a invigorating sound that bridges the past to the present and beyond, a hefty dosage of extremely dense melodic and percussive goodness that sounds as good as it feels. The releases from the main label really do feel like the important cross overs, the references point to which truly inspired you to keep digging and exploring new labels, scenes and individuals, and thats testament to the selection on offer from the Hills label. Our selected highlights include the brilliant debut, 'Seven Hills Presents Nation Of Noise 91 - 93', which came out in 2018 and features the works of Xes Noiz, Lockgroove and Super Bubble demonstrating their early 90s sound via dub techno expanses and delicate considered acid house tinges; the excellent 'Subconscious Exploration EP' from Ron's Mobile Disco, that arrived in the same year, which covered a couple of his deep moody tech tunes from the early 2000s; the excellent 2019 'Never Owned A 303' release from Binary Digit, who was fresh off two further releases on the Zeitnot label, which further showcased his considered and progressive approach to techno and acid; the dark, deep and brooding 'Space Cadets' release from Adam Pits and Lisene, with the release again demonstrating the power and dynamism of newer artists on the label; and finally, the mesmerising tones of the 'Outernational Wah EP' by Mongoose, which contained 3 cuts of mid 90s techno tinged cuts that will make you groove way into the night. The blends on display here between new and old, the current generation and the one that came before, allow for a listen back through the discography to read so beautifully, to make sense and flow with ease, and that in itself provides a powerful narrative for us to get involved in. The DNA and identity of the label has been forged over shared passions of music that remain strong from the past and resonate so much today, giving the releases threads in which to work off each other, and provide us with the most enriching musical experience possible.
And now we arrive at their latest offering, that gives up the best of both worlds - a reissue of a superb early 90s record, with an additional collection of unreleased tracks. All that is found on 'Seven Hills Presents: Precise Daily Rhythm 94 - 98', which is a collection of tracks from the creative mind of Andy Jones, who released these tracks under the moniker Makers of Movement. Like which much of the labels previous releases, the feels and tones that begin to ooze out of this release is truly something else, an unbound energy that festers and grows with each passing second, its rhythm and direction dictated by the mind behind it. The direction it seems becomes perpetually forward in momentum, but not for one second does any of the track become uniform or monotonous - instead, we see before our very eyes the most organic series of evolutions that ever graced the UK techno scene, developments which happen in an instance but change the course of the track, and the emotional response to it. Each cut has an intrinsic feel to it, all cut from the same cloth but always looking to deviate and explore around the crux of the sound, which at its foundation is incessantly progressive but provides a basis for which all manner of free willed elements to move the songs into the realms of outer existences. Its very powerful, very intuitive, and throughout the experience, endlessly brilliant. So, lets jump into this.
Up first we have 'Make a Move', which begins the 1997 EP 'The Moving House' half of the album. The singular kick drum is the commencer, crafting the initial pulse of energy that will become the foundation for all that is to come next, being quickly joined by a series of hats and cymbals. The kick plays around a bit with its rhythm, crafting half time moments that signal the clap to join in with proceedings, with the choppy breaks providing a sense of intrigue paired with urgency. Before long, the drums cut out and we are greeted with a two chord progression that begins to swell down but then rises far beyond the clouds, its progression allowed to play out for a few runs before the drums and bass line take over, and its a transition from the gods, literally. The movement into a stripped back melodic section follows suit, with a little acid like line taking over on top of an ever evolving percussion backdrop, with claps and hats constantly moving around the consistent kicks and hi hats. The drums cut out once more to accommodate the beautiful chords, that wash over all they see, and like before the drums smash back in, this time the section is joined by the chord stabs that persist on top, crafting a hypnotic sequence for us to get lost within. In full flow its quite a sight indeed, the drumming patterns crafting a sub base full of movement and interaction, the simplified harmonic features doing so much on top to craft mood and feel, with the track content to continue evolving and flowing from there. The first half of the track looked to dip between the meaty drum lead sections, before breaking into the melodic onslaught, before combining the two so effortlessly and seamlessly you find yourself in a trance by the 6 minute mark. Truly brilliant shit. Up next comes 'Short Change', and the beats begin us off in truly upbeat fashion. The kicks and higher end toms combine brilliantly with the cymbals and hats, before moving into the more smooth section with ease, as the bass begins to make its presence known. Before long, we are greeted by the key line, worming and weaving its way around the tracks pulse, acting perfectly in relation to tone, moving in and around the parameters of sound that are set by the track. Rising high before moving down low, the progression moves way for a moment to allow the drums to breath, their rhythmic quality enough to keep the fire burning, before the key line resurfaces once more to craft yet another moment to savour. The simple melodic work oozes over the drumming patterns excellently here, crafting such an interesting dynamic for the track to feed off of and keep moving forward, the kind of track that makes the screws turn around the 6am mark. 'D-Cyfer' arrives next, and oh how the energy levels have been upped here. The kicks enter us into this world that brims with momentum and interconnectivity, with the feeling only intensified with the introduction of computer dictated sounds, crafting a melody akin to a series of flickering lights and flashing images. The overall feel becomes somewhat intoxicating, the song throwing all manner of moments, scenes and contexts at you, but what becomes apparent and intriguing in equal measure is the relationship between the melodic sequences and the drums that persist underneath. Their interplay is fascinating to behold, a duality that seems to never run out of space to grow and multiply, their essences becoming intertwined in relation to setting the mood and feel of the track. Some straight up ness to really work your mind out, a sensory experience that will make you move all night long. Up next comes 'Armadillo', and is the final track from the original EP. The kicks signal the start of proceedings, ominous in their delivery but always providing room to grow, as additional elements grow from the ground in order to support the kicks, with a metallic drum sequence injecting yet another texture into proceedings. The subdued bass line pumps away in the distance, as the drumming continues to grow and grow at an unprecedented rate, the atmosphere and environment painted by it is so beautifully considered and developed, by far the best progression so far (and thats saying something!). We are really whipped up in this slow paced whirlwind, totally involved and immersed in this beautiful percussive structure, and as it reaches its apex, there is surely something special lined up for us. Jones teases us, as the drums then up themselves again, but then the chords arrive, and its just masterful. Their tone, feel, spread and texture is just so on point, something to truly marvel at, and the manner in which the track continues to evolve from this point onwards is something special indeed. The chords seem to contract then explode with space and time, their never ending capacity to fill space on full display here. Combined with the paired back drums, along with the little key line that chimes in, this track is a stunning end to a first half of a reissue record that has so far been eye opening, incredibly in depth and thought provoking in more ways than we ever imagined.
We now move into the second half of the release, with the opening track 'Millenium' kicking things off. The kicks are just as hard and precise as ever, moving and grooving within their own little realm of existence, with the cymbals and hats following suite to craft another superb rhythmic progression. The metallic bass lines and keys that begin to surface amongst the beaty goodness create a compelling narrative to proceedings, their beautifully considered feel adding much to the track in relation to density and tone, with all kinds of cosmic sounds floating in and out of time and sight. This track is all about the dynamics of powerful beats, where the under currents look to swirl up wards to craft a flow of notes and chords that do so much to take us away. Its like being surrounded by a flow of movement and energy so powerful and mesmerising, its feel like that of water as it compels us to keep involved and feeling its every movement. Damn. Up next comes 'Illuminate', and the tempo switches up a notch once more, as we groove into proceedings almost immediately. The high end hat combines with the kicks so effectively, as the breakdown leads to yet another surge in energy, moving the track forward on its upward spiral into the clouds and beyond. The chiming key line emerges from the dense cavernous sound, its spell binding quality simmering on top, moving between the beat structure, as little notes and chords permeate through the kicks and cymbals. The track slowly moves into its first significant transition, as the chords become more reverbed and the drums become more spacious and precise, crafting an experience that went from the full and dense and into the more spacious and otherworldly, and its pretty fucking incredible, not going to lie. To sit here and experience that change in dynamic is something to marvel at, and its yet another feel and mood that Jones pulls off flawlessly. 'Sonoluminescence' comes next, with the bleak futuristic chords bringing us into this one. The kick then joins quickly afterwards, adding purpose and meaning to the track, helping to create a sense of foundation for the ever evolving and moving chords that continue to dominate the backdrop. Everything drops out save for the claps, and before you know it we are back into full on pulse mode, with the bass line that emerges something to truly lock you in to anything you are doing right now, as the percussive elements begin to evolve on top with all the incessant energy in the world. The chiming aquatic like synths that abound on top begin to add continual intrigue to proceedings, as the song remains content in its own direction of weaving and diving around the pulse of a life time. The force of nature that is this track keeps us on our toes, constantly drawn to so many minor changes and notions that continue to present themselves throughout the track, with all the little transitions being pulled off once again with such mastery. Like a never ending train journey that insists on one final stop, you get pulled along for the ride, and its quite the ride indeed. Finally, we have 'Wired Moon' to finish up, and we are greeted by the bass and the fast paced shakers to get us going one final time. This sequence becomes the crutch for everything to begin to peel away from, and from its understated introduction we move into an intensely melodic section of the track, with ethereal synth lines moving in and around the sides of the track, which is only added to by the addition of the drum line, that begins to crop right through the middle. The overall ensemble is the most reserved track on the album, but it packs a punch in its melodic beauty, that remains the main driver of the track rather than the beat. Its a wonderful tune to place yourself within, to get to know, to delve within and explore, its dynamics working overtime in order to accommodate your headspace, your visions, your ideals. Like all the tracks on this record, you feel welcomed into the pace of it all, no matter if its hard or slow, you feel involved within all the sequences, the flows and movements. Its a world that offers its hand out to you, and you can't take no for an answer. A beautiful, beautiful end to a record full of surprises, dips, weaves and flows, and one that will last a lifetime, perhaps even beyond that.
The consistency in sound and dynamics that persist on this record are of such a high level, you can't help but not get lost within its perpetually deep environment and subscapes. From the minute where the first kicks groove in to the last bass line that eases our minds into hazy dreams, we are locked into a series of musically driven spaces that rely on transition, variety, boundaries and melodic tenderness in order to succeed, and succeed they do, in the most powerful and explosive kind of ways. Jones crafts techno tracks with such cunning and intelligences, a deft blend of beat with keys, that you feel very much like you are listening to his music and no one elses, such is the uniqueness of the soundscape and all the elements that live within it. Its a world unlike no other, where one can meander and get really lost in a sea of kicks and ominous visions of the future, and we are all for it. Reissue of the year?
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