Dark beats and braggadocio; deep, resonating kick drums and sci-fi thriller synth oud pluckings; urban gothic vocals, gas masks and black cloaks, chic music for tony post-apocalyptic clubs. Along with these sonic touchstones, A Guy Called Gerald and Two Lone Swordsmen share a few distinct historical points: With his own "Voodoo Ray" and his single as part of 808 State's "Pacific State," Gerald Simpson is arguably the producer who pushed acid house on an unsuspecting Europe. Two Lone Swordsmen's Andy Weatherall was an early champion of the sound as a deejay, and his production of Screamadelica by Primal Scream was a turning point in acid house's impact on the mainstream.
Now TLS and AGCG have each released discs that rewind club culture while fast-forwarding club music, past the glorious neo-disco of deep house and club jazz, past so-called intelligent dance music's bleeps and glitches and sound experiments, to something more future-primitive: music that holes up inside Lee Bontecou's womb-like wall-mounted sculptures, waiting for a day when the earth's air is clean enough to breathe again.
Like "Showbiz Shotguns" on Two Lone Swordsmen's Big Silver Shining Motor of Sin EP -- at first listen, it could be a 21st-century electroclash single, what with its robotic beats and metallic clangs, and its rising and falling synth stabs. But when Weatherall's horrific, unpracticed vocals slam in, modified to sixes and sevens, it's obvious that "Please don't hurt me / with your big white teeth / noble savage / give me crime-porn treats" isn't a written lyric so much as a spontaneous emotion.
And like "Call For Prayer" on A Guy Called Gerald's To All Things What They Need: Just like his use of premier organic dance-music vocalists Ursula Rucker and Finley Quaye elsewhere, Gerald's Middle Eastern club banger comes out as an alarmed computer-minaret approximation, rather than some greenhorn's invocation of foreign sounds to prove their worldliness.
Proof positive that the Manchester Class of '88 still has genius within its souls, even if those souls are making music on the run, frightened of dark spirits and jackbooted thugs.