Mantronix - "Simple Simon"

Spring 1988, Denham Village, Buckinghamshire, UK ….. on the way to Syco Systems (high-end pro audio shop — by appointment only — caters only to high-end clientele and famous artists such as Peter Gabriel) to pick up the gear for my first studio (see pictures below)  ….. I heard this track by Mantornix on the radio.

Notice: If you need to know more about Mantronix and the man himself, Kurt Mantronik, refer to my previous blog Hanson & Davis. Please read that first and then come back here and continue reading this blog/article.

I used to dream about having a Linn-9000 one day, so I could load my own drum samples and program beats with its sequencer; I used to sit for hours and drool over the brochures of the Roland D-50 synth and think about how breathy and paddy (also see video below) my tracks would sound along with the Linn-9000 drums pulsing underneath. The D-50 was revolutionary at its time (1987), because it was the first synth to have built-in effects, such as the the reverb, attack-transient samples and linear synthesis, among many other things. When I went to Syco Systems with my dad to buy the new gear, Kendall Wrightson (see quick shout-out below) informed me that the Linn-9000 was no longer in production, because its parent company went bankrupt; however, its designer Roger Linn had come up with a much better machine through Akai. He pointed his finger towards the Akai MPC60 at the other end of the room. It was GORGEOUS. It looked like a mean machine with a tilting LCD screen! Oh, those 16 square rubber finger pads. I didn’t hesitate to add it on the transaction. Kendall said something along the lines that he had one in stock, boxed and with Tony Banks’ name on it (yes, Tony Banks — the keyboardist of Genesis), but Tony didn’t want it at the time. When I looked at the box, sure enough his name was in fact printed on the shipping label.

After picking up my new studio gear from Syco, I stopped by Our Price record store, bought the 12-inch of Simple Simon and then drove home from London to my parent’s country-home in Denham Village. I love this track through and through. It’s very melodic and street-emotional, especially the bassline. Love the guitars (which are not real but tone-sampled and played from a keyboard sampler). The sound and style is very different from Mantronix’ previous releases which were more freestyle-based. Simple Simon sounded more mature but still had that “Mantronix” feel … perhaps it was the snappy, hard drum samples and programming coming from an E-mu SP-1200. Whatever it was, it certainly had the Mantronix‘ stamp with MC Tee‘s rap vocals. These two guys really stood out with this one.

I used to play both A and B sides of the 12-inch. Check out the amazing editing and fast-gating on You Dubba Regard mix, which were very hard to produce. Around that same time of year, the Latin Rascals were doing clever edits like this, with stutters, splice-edits and gated chops. Check out their sound/edits on Information Society’s – What’s On Your Mind which I’ve blogged about previously.

Quick shout-out to Kendall Wrightson:

Kendall Wrightson
who was my personal salesman at Syco Systems. He was very well-known in the pro-audio industry, for representing and selling high-end gear like the Fairlight (watch Kendall’s demonstration), SyclaviersSSL mixer consoles, etc.. There were times when Kendall used to let me and my best friend Noel Derblich to go inside one of Syco‘s studio rooms and transfer samples from the E-mu Emulator-III (also watch video here) to my Akai MPC60 drum-sampler/sequencer (64 midi channel, 99 tracks). Kendall was also featured in several documentaries about music technology.

Mantronix – “Simple Simon” (You Gotta Rock Hard)…

Artist: Mantronix
Title: Simple Simon (You Gotta Rock Hard)
Year: 1988
Label: 10 Records (UK)
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Simple Simon – “Simple Simon” (You Gotta Rock Hard) (mp3)

 

Mantronix- “Simple Simon” (You Dubba Regard)…

Artist: Mantornix
Title: Simple Simon (You Dubba Regard)
Year: 1988
Label: 10 Records (UK)
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Mantronix – “Simple Simon” (You Dubba Regard) (mp3)

 

My first studio with nice gear which I've bought from Syco Systems, London. Kendall Wrightson was my personal salesman. See his videos below.

Kendall Wrightson at Syco Systems, demonstrating the Linn-9000…

Kendall Wrightson at Syco System, demonstrating the Fairlight…

Roland D-50 synthesizer demonstration of its sounds/presets…

E-mu Emulator-II demonstration of its sounds/presets…

Mantronix - “Simple Simon”…

HansonDavis_03_600x450

Hashmoder's "STABBING BASSLINE" Stamp Of AprovalSpring 1985 Toronto ….. at Starsounds record store ….. I saw this record up on the wall.  I had no idea who these guy were, but I trusted its record label Fresh Records. Had several Fresh Records vinyls in my arsenal at that time. Bought this record, took it home and loved it. Electro freestyle, afro-latin electric R&B sound and production of Kurtis Mantronik (Mantronix). He did all the solid programming of tight 909 drums, staccato bassline (Roland Sh101), processed orchestra hit-stabs, synth chord shops and all other elements. It was really this record that got me into the new electro (hiphop’ish) freestyle sound from Mantronix before I got to hear or know about any of Mantronix own stuff to come out shortly later (such as Needle To The Groove). Hungry For Your Love style-&-sound foreshadows similar-sounding (afro-latin electro freestyle) releases yet to come from Joyce Sims such as All In All and other tracks also produced by Mantronix.

Other than that, I don’t know much about Hanson & Davis. According to wikidpedia:

Hanson and Davis was a Latin freestyle group that was composed of two African American session singers named Aaron Hanson and Edward J. Davis. The duo was known for its 1986 single “Hungry for Your Love,” which was produced by Kurtis Mantronik. The duo’s only album, Can’t Stop, was considered a one-hit wonder, which resulted in the group disbanding.

Perhaps it’s possible that Hungry For Your Love was Mantronix‘ first test-track shortly before unleashing his monstrous creativity and polished subsequent releases!

Hanson & Davis – “Hungry For Your Love” (Club Version)…

Artist: Hanson & Davis
Title: Hungry For Your Love (Club Version)
Year: 1985
Label: Fresh Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Hanson & Davis – “Hungry For Your Love” (Club Version) (mp3)

 

Hanson & Davis – “Hungry For Your Love” (Dub Version)…

Artist: Hanson & Davis
Title: Hungry For Your Love (Dub Version)
Year: 1985
Label: Fresh Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Hanson & Davis – “Hungry For Your Love” (Dub Version) (mp3)

 

Mantronix – “Needle To The Groove”…

Mantronix (Need To The Groove, 12-inch sleeve cover) and Kurt Mantronik (right)

Joyce Sims – “All In All”…

Page 1 of 1 1