Otherworldly atmospheres, a sense of harmonic purpose and energy, and inventive and unique vocal work come together on this most brilliant of reissues.
The intersects of 90s Dance culture have always found themselves being properly represented within the endless list of great music that has come out of this era. For as long a time as can be remembered, we have seen so much morphology, progression and innovation come forth, with records that stand at the crossroads tall and proud as inventions of great minds and wide visions. The 90s was a great time to be around this, a musical landscape shaken up by the summer of love, the injection of US styles, and then a predominately British attitude of 'how can we repackage that into our own view of genres'. This created some truly memorable moments in time and place, abet perhaps moments that become overlooked and left to the ages too many times. The underground culture, defined by acid house, then followed by European versions of techno, IDM, Rave, Trance and Breakbeat, came the harder UK originals such as Drum and Bass, jungle and garage. All this fluidly interlinked, in some ways or another, a pure representations of the different scenes and cultures that passionately threw themselves out there to define boundless leaps forward in the era's musical pedigree. Boundless expressionism that left everyone involved at the time with fond memories, and with the rest of us left with legacies and memories to divulge in. This enthusiastic and ground breaking series of leaps caught on around the world, and now many are influenced by the 90s sound and indeed way of doing things. Melding, morphing, creating and crafting the future, but as much at the same time, creating something very tangible. For the dancers, for the thinkers.
The New Morning released 6 EPs and 1 LP, all on Global Rhythm Records, in the early 90s, but their legacy within the pantheon of musicians who moved the 90s sound to unconfirmed places is definitely secure. And now, Emotional Rescue have revisited their brilliance discography with three volumes of their finest work. The label, headed by all round vinyl digger and DJ Stuart Leath, have since 2011 released a series of fantastic timeless gems, that span the most broad of genres. The spectrum is on full show, from French industrial, New Wave oddities, to Italo tear jerkers, to reggae infused disco, the label has consistently delivered for our own benefit, bringing forth mysterious former glories to shine them in a new light, a new light we bask in in eternal glory. Its the depth we come for, its the feeling and the emotional response we leave with, and we only lap it up. Some selected highlights include Rare Silk's stone cold classic 'Storm' from 2019, Elaine Kibaro's brilliant 'Pour L'Amour' compilation from 2018, Hawkwind's 'Rangoon, Langoons' from 2019, Glen Rick's boogie masterpiece ' I've Been Waiting For You', and Ernest Ranglin's BRILLIANT 'Be What You Want To Be', that is a must for any disco fan. All their releases may seem different in tone, sound and feel, but they are threaded together by a label with a shared conscience for serving up timeless grooves that embrace the depth and scope of brilliant, brilliant music. And now we turn to the New Morning, and the labels three part EP retrospective. The group operated in Germany during the early 90s, with each release embracing many of the facets of the 90s experience, delving into the crossroads where these many genres operated. Few took that which came before, and made something new and somewhat groundbreaking, but these guys truly embraced the core ideals of experimentation and taking a chance on combining genres into a truly intrinsic and original experience. Here, we get the full menu, with each of the volumes dipping between down tempo tribal, uptempo breaks, drumming patterns from the gods, along with beautiful vocal work that comes in at all the right moment. if you want the full complete 90s experience, then check out all of these volumes. But today, we will focus on the last one in the series. So lets take a dip.
The opener, 'Kona Bina' (Trance Vocal), really gets the pulse going. The kick is set way back within a a endless void, as the bass brings itself up to the surface. The lone cow bell then joins in with proceedings, the percussive feel of the track one of how will these spaces be defined going forward. Congas then come into play, the beat almost now complete, the stage is set for magic to occur. Then comes the arpeggio, out of nowhere, moving and weaving, like a spirit animal, floating and dreaming. The claps join in too, as if to prop up the weaving synth line that is now intertwining with the beat. The vocal line comes into it all, a wonderful series of lines that follow the beat more so than the synth, the woodwind note providing the basis for the vocals to follow. It feels very left field the combo, the African singing style not usually associated with this trancey techno esq synth line, but it just works. Beautifully. The voice acts as this intermediate between the drums and the synth line, a point of contact for both elements to be held together, meshed together and enjoyed side by side. The way this track grows and grooves is a real joy to experience, at 8 minutes long it will surely have you in its warm embrace before too long. Next comes 'Roots and Culture', and oh yeah now we are talking. The kick drum begins straight and true, the mixed in vocals on top a real joy, 'Come On', with interlaced sliced up vocals adding to the ever increasing energies on display. The drums morph into a break beat palette, but so subtly it drastically switches mood. The keys slot in on top, adding in that extra level of melody that at this moment, is just perfect. The drums fall away for a minute, revealing the core of the harmonic elements, before it moves back into it. The kinda moment on a dance floor when it all washes away, your worries and your cares. It's truly magical, and as a track has this beautiful blend of so many styles, beginning with the vocal lines that interact with the drums, both of which are looking to tell their own story through their shared conscience. Sheer bliss. Finishing up side A, we have 'Flatline', that begins a little more filled out than the previous efforts. This one has a proper leftfield vibe to it, slowed and chuggy drumming patterns, with a proper heavy hitting kick, form the bedrock for a series of swirling key lines and cosmic sounds. This one feels like a proper 6am curveball, where the dancers might have kicked into outer worldy areas and have their arms swaying by their sides. The track continues its looping nature, never swaying or deviating, just maintaining its steady groove, right through our hearts and minds.
Side B begins with 'Satan Dub', and once again the drums signify it all. The drums feel utterly unique, content in their identity as pulling from both breakbeat and house, as they give up a proper fucking riddim. The drums then allow the space for some guitar work and bass to continue in the background, before a proper synth line workout takes place. Damn this track has groove, fuck me. The drums continue on their steady journey, the guitar riff acting as a kind of harmonic foil, but its all about that key line with this track. if this is indeed Satanic dub, then take me straight to hell. The synth is so thick, it carries this new dimension to the track whenever its played. Perhaps this is the New Morning's greatest achievement; their tracks are all about balance, balance particularly with the drumming styles they look to mix together, but also with the harmonic elements, that always exist in all the right places and strike the best chord at the best time. Next comes 'Riddim of Inari (Tribal Mix)', and here we see the tone for the first time set mostly by keys rather than drumming work. Soft keys and that groove along, before that all falls away to give us perhaps the most enriching beat yet on the record. Deep crashing cymbals and kicks, all done in a sort of slowed yet sort of sped up Afro funk/beat style, with congas and high lines abounding perfectly. The bass line kicks in, giving you that proper deep set feeling, then the vocals provide that extra level of fullness. Chanting, harmonic, and full of feels, this is the moment we have waited for since the keys fell away at the beginning of the track. The tune just keeps growing and swelling with these sets of energies, flowing beautifully through the motions. To finish things up, we have perhaps the most perfect ender, with the track 'Anthems' taking the vibe wayyyy down a notch. Beautiful soaring chords dive deep and true, with soft drumming in the background adding extra spice to proceedings. The series of sampled vocal key work is interlaced expertly with swirling keys, hypnotic lines, creating this unreal level of emotional depth and tone. The track feels very operatic, moving through the motions, always turning back to the backdrop chords, but always evolving, every intro of keys slightly different than the last. The previous experiences were in some ways excursions in how perfect drumming patterns and vocal lines can get us all to dance. Here, the mood is very much eyes closed, appreciation, food for the mind. Stunning, just stunning.
Many 90s groups looked to as many styles as possible when creating their stuff. They wanted to create feels and tones that emphasised their global outlook, to explore the unexplored, and capture what might have never been captured before. With these three volumes, and in this writers opinion particularly the third one, we truly see what artists from this era were capable of. A collection of peerless, timeless tunes, grooves and atmospheres, where we feel as equally at home listening or in the club. An album that at times defies convention or genre, one that demands constant re listening. What a fucking record. Check it out immediately.
Support the troops: