Boomkat Product Review:
Rave music’s magna carta comes up hardcore 24 years since it altered the minds of a generation, now reshuffled and augmented by original and new reworks from siblings and antecedents; 2 Bad Mice, Luke Vibert, KiNK and Shadow Dancer.
When Zomby’s debut album decried Where Were You In ’92?, most of his fans probably answered in primary school or not even born yet. But practically everyone, young and old were aware of what he was referring to - the world of air horns, boiler suits, white doves and Full On .. Mask Hysteria best defined by Altern-8, who were almost a household name during that epoch, appearing on Top Of The Pops and even foreshadowing Aphex Twin’s promo pranks in legendary style, from hot air balloons dispensing ecto cakes to standing (unsuccessfully) in a British General Election.
After rave’s syncretic energies ran out of steam and morphed into myriad new mutations in the mid ‘90s, Altern-8’s catalogue remained a touchstone for many, many ravers, and by ten years later they were straddling two circuits, with one foot in “reunion”-type raves and the other in contemporary techno, breaks and electro, which is testament to their enduring, iconic appeal across generations of gurners.
Fast forward another ten or so years and this reissue refreshes and reprises that manic energy with a newly remastered vinyl cut by one of their spawn, Keith Tenniswood, now fronted up by the pie-eyed, lip-smacking breakbeat and hoover rush of E-Vapor-8, and cycling thru seminal anthems such as Infiltrate 202, the majestic madness of Activ-8 and the ruffneck dancer Armageddon with the thee most sample-happy, itchy trigger fingers in the game.
We’re not going to lie, the remixes are unnecessary beyond giving context for younger ravers, but it’s great to see the original material in circulation again, even if simply as a timely reminder of that era’s uninhibited intentions.