I have decided to record digitally my entire StreetSoundsElectro compilation series.
I will record every single StreetSounds vinyl of mine into Protools, with as much digital restorations as possible and widened stereo-field. I do believe that I make the best vinyl-rips than most music collectors and bloggers out there. My 30+ years experience in pro-audio says so!
As I’ve stated in my previous StreetSounds article over a year ago, Electro since the early 80′s was electric funk and hip-hop music, mainly for break-dancing, bee-bopping, and body-popping. In my opinion, the word electro today has been hijacked in the form of 4/4 dance music and not anywhere near its true roots.
THEREFORE, STAY TUNED FOR DAILY POSTING OF EACH ELECTRO MIX.
Streetsounds was part of the UK Streetwave stable of labels created by Morgan Khan. A Hong Kong-born Indian who grew up in London, Khan had worked in the UK record industry since the mid 1970′s, working for such names as PRT Distribution (a division of Pye Records) and R&B Records, for whom at the time Imagination were the up and coming stars of the day.
Khan founded the independent Streetwave record label during 1981 to specialise in releasing Electro and Hi-NRG releases. Within a year of creation, Streetwave began the StreetSounds series of albums; compilations created from some of the hottest 12″ imports of the day. These releases made available a selection of the most contemporary dance floor hits within the financial reach of those wanting to hear the freshest sounds. In the early 80′s a 12″ single was priced around £2 and you would pay over £4 for an import 12″. The Streetsounds series offered usually 8 to 12 full-length 12″ mixes for under a fiver. Understandably, the Streetsounds series was met with considerable enthusiasm and, some might say, mighty relief.
This series would run for over 6 years and contain over 50 albums. By far the most coveted of the Streetsounds releases were the Electro series. These albums introduced the UK to the developing hip-hop scene from America – a stroke of genius that brought electro and early hip hop from the underground to the UK high street and, one could argue, helped in the creation of the UK’s hip hop scene.
The Electro series ran for a total of 27 albums (and one box set) from 1982 to 1988. The albums were initially labeled StreetSounds Electro with the title morphing into StreetSounds Hip Hop after release 12 in 1986.
All of the albums were competently mixed by a series of the best remixers of the day – predominately from the UK. A large proportion of the mixes on the early releases were completed by a London-based hip-hop sound system from the early 80s. Headed by “Herbie The Mastermind” (aka Herbie Laidley) the team also featured Kiss FM radio DJ’s Dave VJ and Max LX who were also members of UK electro outfit Hard Rock Soul Movement, responsible for the massive “Double Def Fresh” release.
My digital recording process & audio quality of vinyl records are top-notch …
click each image above to enlarge
Old video: recording session ripping vinyls Electro-6, 7, and 9…
Killer synth-R&B-dance track from 1986. Rumors… I can still take more more!
1986 was a great year for electronic R&B which incorporated the new urban sound, hiphop, funk, soul and dance music — a sound that later became known as the New Jack Swing in the late 80′s. New Jack Swing was pretty much hijacked by Teddy Riley [watch video] who took that genre to a whole new level. But Rumors was one of the very first tracks with that sound — a sound so poundingly raw, with a spine that keeps the drums, baseline and overall groove fused together as one. I remember this track hitting the top of the charts around the world. I bought a few different copies of the 12-inch records from Canada, USA and England. I’ve also bought Rumors on Canadian-issued maxi-single cassette tape. Why? Because I liked the different artwork covers!
Almost every artist of this genre was utilizing the very latest electronic and groundbreaking musical instruments at that time. E-mu SP12 [watch video] and Linn-9000 [watch video] were just the revolutionary sampling drum machines used in the industry. Their factory sound/samples that came with those two machines were legendary — practically used on thousands of tracks out there. The SP12 had 24 onboard drum sounds plus 8 additional memory allocations for loading custom/user samples. Since the SP12 had no built-in floppy drive for backup, I am not sure how the user samples were stored. However, the SP12 was quickly superseded by SP1200 in 1987 which had a built-in 3.5″ floppy drive and more sampling memory.
The TR-808 drum sounds on Rumors, to my belief, were samples of the real 808 drum-machine loaded into the SP12/1200. Most of the synth sounds, particularly the main melodic/stabby one, was from a Roland Juno-106 [watch video]. I know that Roland sound, because I, too, own a 106 and few other kinds.
Read more information on Timex Social Clubhere (wikipedia) –and– here (TSC official site).
Timex Social Club – “Rumors” (Social Club Mix)…
Artist: Timex Social Club Title: Rumors (Social Club Mix) Year: 1986 Label: AM Records Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.
Ah, this is one rarity from an outstanding, legendary British artist: Peter Gabriel. There was an actual 12″ record of In Your Eyes which featured the Special Mix. But what made this particular record more special was that the track In Your Eyes (Special Mix) was also featured on the B-side of a Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush 12″ single Don’t Give Up.
I have never opened nor played this record before. Thus, after nearly 25 years, I’ve unsealed it and recorded the track on the B-side to digital. Therefore, a triple special indeed!
Peter Gabriel – “In Your Eyes” (Special Mix)…
Artist: Peter Gabriel Title: In Your Eyes (Special Mix) Year: 1986 Label: Virgin Records Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.
I must be one of the few lucky ones to own this amazing track on a 12-inch record. I believe only few thousand copies were pressed back in 1984.
Where was I when I’d bought the record? Ah yes! It was sometime in late October 1985, after school, at Starsounds record store on Young Street in Toronto. Starsounds was a great record store that sold only 12-inch records of every genre, especially to DJ’s. At that time, I was looking for synth/techno/pop tracks when Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer was hot. Flipping through Starsounds’ bin of old/unsold records, my fingers came to a stop at this one particular vinyl with gloriously colored luminous-orange sleeve: Section 25.
I held the record up in a tilted-angle closer to my eyes just to read its center label. It was hard to read, because the words and fonts were ultra moderno that were printed with light, shiny luminous colors. Yeah… a record looking great in graphic-design but lacking in function (such as reading its textual content).
Even though I had no idea who Section 25 was, my gut said: This the record you’re looking for, buddy! Just the words 45 A Factory Record and Restructure From Fact 90 on the center label were enough to convince me the record was INDEED an electronic one that was meant for me. Still in my formal shirt/tie/jacket school uniform, I bought the record with my only $20-Canadian. Going home in the subway (the TTC), I was staring at the record and second-guessing what it might sound like. Once I got home, I ran to my room and dropped the needle to the record. The usual at the start of any record: few seconds of crackles, scratches and pops…
…And then there was music!
The track on Side-B starts with reverse tom-tom drums followed by reversed-&-gated 808 claps in 1/16th-note progression. Then –BAM– the beat drops like a cyber-atomic bomb: → Heavy industrial baseline → Synth bleeps/zaps all over the stereo-field → Lush synthesizer and Mellotron pads → Cyberpunk female lead vocals → Whispery male backup vocals. Electronic techno industrial pop bliss → → Hands down, an absolute electronic industrial masterpiece!
Section 25 – “Looking From A Hilltop” (Megamix)…
Artist: Section 25 Title: Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix) Year: 1984 Label: A Factory Record Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.
While the norm for most tracks go anywhere between 3:30 to 6:00 minutes in length, I prefer 15:00 minutes or longer, like the four seasons. Give me 4 long tracks to fill the hour, and I’ll be one very happy Iraqi. I love tracks that take me on long journeys through various movements. One of my all-time favorite synth-pop groups is PROPAGANDA from germany … who sound like twisted ABBA + Industrial + TechnoPop + Darkness. My favorite Proganda track is P:Machinery. I’ve taken two 12-inch vinyl versions of that track and conjoined them together as one … the way I want to listen to P:Machinery by:
Digitizing them into Protools; Spending two long months cleaning them up; Getting rid of every single scratch/pop/click; Restoring deteriorated sounds through various RE-SYNTHESIS processes and techniques; Splicing the tracks to separate clips; Re-arranging and layering clips to my taste; Throwing in my own synth-stabs, chops and other minor subtleties; Adding & automating series of chained top-notch effects throughout the mix, utilizing parameters some of you could not even pronounce ... thus resulting with more dynamic and reverberated DEPTH to the mix; Fattening the bottom-end; Widening overall stereo perception; and Mixing, engineering and mastering my version of P:Machinery the way I think it's supposed to be heard.
To my taste, P:Machinery sounds better than 'sick' ... more like master piece of shit which blasts sonically across the stereo-field ... not one element standing still but constantly moving all over the place.
Although he produced only a handful of tracks of renown and disappeared into obscurity almost as quickly as he had emerged from it, Manny ( Man ) Parrish is nonetheless one of the most important and influential figures in American electronic dance music. Helping to lay the foundation of electro, hip-hop, freestyle, and techno, as well as the dozens of subgenres to splinter off from those, Parrish introduced the aesthetic of European electronic pop to the American club scene by combining the plugged-in disco-funk of Giorgio Moroder and the man-machine music of Kraftwerk with the beefed-up rhythms and cut’n'mix approach of nascent hip-hop. As a result, tracks like “Hip-Hop Be Bop (Don’t Stop)” and “Boogie Down Bronx” were period-defining works that provided the basic genetic material for everyone from Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys to Autechre and Andrea Parker — and they remain undisputed classics of early hip-hop and electro to this day.
Man Parrish Boogie Down Bronx (dub version) PLAY TRACK
What made Trevor Horn’s productions stand out was his unique and genius production techniques and the heavy use of state-of-the-art pro-audio gear, which made him become the torch-bearer for the kind of technology-led pop music which was hip and incredibly disciplined. Trevor Horn’s 12-inch remixes were uniquely long (anywhere from 8 to 13 minutes in duration) and told stories which took the listeners through long instrumental journeys at the begenning of tracks until the climax is reached (around the 5/6 or 7 minute mark). After the climax, the original or alternate full vocal version of the track takes over from that point on to the end, lasting additional 3.5 to 5 minutes in length.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood Relax (12 inch Sex Mix) PLAY TRACK
Trevor Horn is the guy who produced and performed “Video Killed The Radio Star” world-wide smash-hit track. I did some major digging and discovered some fascinating, forgotten facts and hidden gem tracks from The Buggles. In 1980, the Buggles’ duo Geoffrey Downes (keyboards) and Trevor Horn (vocals) — who were coming off an international success with their new-wave album The Age of Plastic – to help out on a new YES album. Downes suddenly left Buggles when Trevor learned that YES’ keyboardist Rick Wakeman was leaving the band, and therefore snatched him as well as lead-vocalist Jon Anderson to work on the next Buggles album Adventures In Modern Recording. The Buggle’s second album was completed in 1981 but was never released or charted. The album was a gem masterpiece.
The Buggles I Am A Camera (12 inch version) PLAY TRACK
We’re back with five more days of blogger-curated showcases, celebrating 10 years of Hype Machine! (Though it’s only our seventh SXSW.) Each year, Hype Hotel, presented by Feed The Beat, brings the Hype Machine experience to life with lineups of the best new artists being discussed on music blogs. 2015’s excellent day and night shows […]
2015 opened on a vibrant note at Austin-based creative space, The Museum of Human Achievement. The 3rd installment of Living Spaces, Portals’ traveling showcase series, featured sets from JUBILEE, Ellie Herring, Holly Waxwing, and Wez, with an installation by artist Beth Link. We’re thrilled, as always, to have supported it. Piece together (or relive) the [… […]
Our 7th annual Zeitgeist! In our roundup of the best music of 2014, we have: An Album for Every Moment: We asked musicians, music bloggers, and friends to recommend a perfect album for every moment of the year. Use this guide to find albums you may have missed or make a new connection with something […]
Living Spaces is a traveling showcase series organized by our friends at Portals. Their next destination is Austin, on New Year’s Eve. We’re once again happy to be supporting the event, as the first two, in Brooklyn (pictured above) and Baltimore, were exceptional. In their words, what it’s all about: “Reaching out to old and […]
We’ve restocked our Merch shop with new tees. They feature a soft print of our logo bubble, and feel very nice. Get one! All of our t-shirts are silkscreened by Paul and Mookie at City Dog Screen Printing in NYC. Most of the screens have been reclaimed, but 1 or 2 of the old designs […]
Our Android app is finally out and you can get it here. It is very nice to use, has all the major features of the site, and does not have ads or monthly fees. Thank you to all the Android users for your patience; this is the fastest we could build something well-made given our […]
It’s almost CMJ week in NYC. There’s a lot to navigate, officially and unofficially, on both sides of the bridge. And like anything with music, it’s generally a good idea to see what the blogs are up to. So we built a thing that highlights shows in the music blog community. Have a listen/look at […]
Last Friday Living Spaces #2 took place in Baltimore, and it was special. We’re thrilled to have helped the Portals crew bring such a good mix of music, art, and people together under one roof. Much thanks goes out to all the artists involved (that’s Soft Cat pictured above) and to the nice folks at […]
Recently we teamed up with BBC Radio 6 Music to once again present a special half-year Music Blog Zeitgeist, looking at the most-blogged artists of 2014 thus far. Listen to BBC’s Tom Robinson countdown the top 20 here. In addition to the overall list, we refreshed our Ones To Watch feature for the second half […]
We’ve always been fans of the Portals community—what they do both on and offline. This led to supporting a rather adventurous balloon-filled night last October (that’s Emily Reo pictured above). And now we’re happy to help them continue their traveling showcase series called Living Spaces. The first event happened earlier this month in Brooklyn, […]
We've covered a lot of post-disco electro funk material here at Beat Electric, here's a little throwback with a more traditional straight ahead disco sound. This beautiful Canadian cut was included in a Trocadero Transfer mix we posted a while back. A friend of mine gave me this 12" around December and its haunting infectious sound has found […]
Happy New Year Beat Electricians! This is one of those highly unknown, un-googleable tracks that blows minds on the dance floor. I really did try locating some info on this boogie beast but it is mysterious! All I can say is that it was made in 1986 somewhere in the U.K. Anyway, I really like the lyrics to this track plus I have listened to the song a millio […]
Nothing to cure the Funkmosphere hangover blues like a new post. Firstly, just want to give one more shout out to Dam Funk and all of the Funkmosphere residents (Billy Goods,Laroj,Matt Respect, Ron aka Randy Watson, and Eddy Funkster) for keeping the funk strong in Los Angeles. I really says something to the quality of the night when they can stay strong for […]
This "torrential" downpour in Southern California has provided a great setting for trying to dig up some deets on Nathan McKinney and Desert Bone Records. Apparently, the info for this artist is pretty scarce, most of my search results are Youtube videos with "hynas" on cars and comments full of homies proclaiming how this is a "fir […]
Just wanted to second a couple of other comments on your site and say that yours is by far one of the best music resources I've found. A similar but now sadly defunct site called Retro Wonderland came a close second! Keep up the good work. All the best."
And all the best to you too, Elliot, for your lovely feedback you've emailed me :)
From: Yaron Sarel
"...just discovered your site, and I wanted to tell you that you make me one happy Israeli guy. I work as a sound engineer, living in Tel Aviv, and I love the 80's. In fact, two good friends of mine and myself formed an oriented-80's synth band. After years of playing rock, for some reason I have never imagined I would be playing this kind of music. I used to listen to as a kid (before I discovered the electric guitar). Your work brings back to life this music i miss and love so much. Thank you sir!"
And thank you, Yaron, for your lovely feedback.
Mp3's on this site are for sampling and promotional purposes only and will only. Most of the mp3 tracks on this blog/site are remixes, extended and limited versions which are deleted, no longer available for purchase and would not be heard otherwise. However, please support these artists. If you are one of these artists and would like your music removed from this site, please notify me, and I will endeavor to remove them as soon as possible.