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 However, the SP12 was quickly superseded by SP1200 in 1987 which had a built-in 3.5″ floppy drive and more sampling memory.

Almost all the drum sounds on Rumors were from the SP12/1200. I recognize that snare very well to be from E-mu Systems’ factory sample collection. Just that snare alone could be heard on Jody Watley’s – Looking For A New Love,  Janet Jackson’s – Control by the two big-time producers Jam & Lewis, and even Kraftwerk’s – The Telephone Call… just as few examples.

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 Club here (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.

Timex Social Club – “Rumors” (Social Club Mix) (mp3)

 

Timex Social Club – “Rumors” (Social Club Dub)…

Artist: Timex Social Club
Title: Rumors (Social Club Dub)
Year: 1986
Label: AM Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Timex Social Club – “Rumors” (Social Club Dub) (mp3)

 

Timex Social Club – “Vicious Rumors”…

Artist: Timex Social Club
Title: Vicious Rumors
Year: 1986
Label: AM Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Timex Social Club – “Vicious Rumors” (mp3)

 

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”…

Heatstroke Moments: Man Parrish

Man Parrish album cover

Play Man Parrish Tracks…

Man Parrish Tracks…

  • Man Parrish – Hip Hop Bee Bop (Don’t Stop)
  • Man Parrish – In The Beginning
  • Man Parrish – Man Made
  • Man Parrish – Together Again
  • Man Parrish – Hip Hop Bee Bop (Don’t Stop Part 2)
  • Man Parrish – Six Simple Synthesizers
  • Man Parrish – Techno Trax
  • Man Parrish – Street Clap
  • Man Parrish – Heatstroke
  • Man Parrish – Hey There Homeboys
  • Man Parrish – Hey There Homeboys (Dub)
  • Man Parrish – Boogie Down Bronx
  • Man Parrish – Boogie Down Bronx (Dub)
  • Man Parrish – Heatstroke (Club)
  • Man Parrish – Hip Hop Bee Bop (Don’t Stop Remix)
  • Man 2 Man – Action (Dance Floor Action)
  • Man 2 Man – Male Stripper (Original 12-inch 1986)
  • Man 2 Man – Male Stripper (Out Of The Ordinary Techno Mix) (1989)
  • The Information…

    When I first started buying record albums and 12-inch singles in 1977, I was collecting all kinds of pop music such as Gary Numan, Blondie, Boney M, Bee Gees, Grace Jones, Grandmaster Flash, etc., throughout the following decade.

    There were only few handful of electronic musicians and music groups who’ve pioneered electronic music decades prior to the 1980s, such as Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Jean Jacques Perrey, ELP, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and others.

    However, the 1980s decade began with a backlash against disco music, and a movement away from the orchestral arrangements that had characterized much of the electronic music of the 1970s. Music in the 80s was characterized by unheard of electronic sounds accomplished through the use of synthesizers and keyboards, along with drum machines. This made a dramatic change in music. 80s pop music experienced a revolution driven more by technology and consumerism than any resounding political message. It was that new electronic sound from synthesizers, samplers and drum machines, enhanced with unprecedented leap forward towards advanced and new production techniques of the time, where both analog and new digital domains fused together as one.

    Fairlight III CMi sampler, music workstation.

    Fairlight III CMi sampler, music workstation.

    Roland MC-202, the ultimate analog bass machine ... blows away TR-303!

    Roland MC-202, the ultimate analog bass machine ... blows away TR-303!

    Linn 9000 digital sampling drum machine and 64-midi channel sequencer.

    Linn 9000 digital sampling drum machine and 64-midi channel sequencer.

    By 1982, I was already tired of the old disco sound but hip to the new “rap” genre (which were heavily produced by drum machines and synths) and in love with all kinds of electronic-pop and electric-funk styles. However I was still hungry for something more but wasn’t quite sure what it was. Something was in the air … or ON THE AIR for sure.

    After Malcolm McLaren’s release of Buffalo Gals in late-1982, I knew something bigger was coming along. 1983 saw the big shift in electronic dance music taking place. In Europe (especially Germany, England and Italy), electronic dance music was essentially electric-disco — 4/4 drum beats + 1/8th note basslines — such as New Order’s Blue Monday.

    However, in New York, electric-disco became known as “high energy” with a twist: a new sub-genre was emerging as “electro” which was a blend of hiphop beats with electronic dance arrangements.

    Examples of electro music releases were:

    • Freeez – “I.O.U.”
    • Man Parrish – “Hip Hop be Bop” (listen to track in flash music player above)
    • Man Parrish – “Heatstroke” (listen to track in flash music player above)
    • Man Parrish – “Boogie Down Bronx” (listen to track in flash music player above)
    • Mantornix – “Needle To The Groove”

    I was enrolled in a boarding-school back then in England and was still listening to New Order and Grandmaster Flash on the Walkman. There was this fuckin’ Jamaican kid in my dormitory — David Yakabu. One day, David ran up to me and said, “Hey mon! Chek dis Mon Pah-rish wikkidest sound!” I put on the heaphones, he pressed play, and my socks were blown off my feet.

    I was listening to Man Parrish for the first time ……… “Hip Hop Be Bop” and “Heatstroke.”
    HOLY CRAP – THIS SHIT IS FIERCE !! — was my impression.
    I followed and bought every release by Man Parrish.

    Man Parrish links…

    Read  below, Sean Cooper’s Review of Man Parrish…

    Link to original source.

    MAN PARRISH REVIEW by – Sean Cooper, All Music Guide

    This ground breaking 1983 Dance-Urban Synthesizer album is considered by many, to be a DANCE CLASSIC and a MUST HAVE in any serious collection. Man Parrish is said to have coined the phrase “Hip Hop” from this classic, electronic dance record.

    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. A native New Yorker, Parrish was a member of the extended family of glam-chasers and freakazoids that converged nightly on Andy Warhol’s Studio 54 club. His nickname, Man, first appeared in Warhol’s Interview magazine, and his early live shows at Bronx hip-hop clubs were spectacles of lights, glitter, and pyrotechnics that drew as much from the Warhol mystique as from the Cold Crush Brothers.

    Influenced by the electronic experiments of his good friend and co – writer Klaus Nomi and Brian Eno as well as by Kraftwerk, Parrish together with “Cool” Raul Rodriguez recorded their best-known work in a tiny studio sometimes shared with Afrika Baambaata, whose own sessions with Arthur Baker and John Robie produced a number of classics equal to Parrish’s own, including “Wildstyle, ” “Looking for the Perfect Beat, ” and the infamous “Planet Rock.” What distinguished “Hip-Hop Be Bop, ” however, was its lack of vocals and the extremely wide spectrum of popularity it gained in the club scene, from ghetto breakdance halls to uptown clubs like Danceteria and the Funhouse. After he discovered a pirated copy of his music being played by a local DJ at theinfamous “Anvil” club ( NYC ), Parrish found his way to the offices of the Importe label (a subsidiary of popular dance imprint Sugarscoop and Disconet DJ mixing service), which whom he inked his first deal. He released his self-titled LP shortly after, and the album went on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide. He was signed to Electra Records and managed by David Bowie’s notorious manager Tony De Fries and the infamous Main Man Ltd management team. Tony De Fries had managed careers of David Bowie, New York Dolls, Mott the Hoople, Mick Ronson and Dana Gillespie to name a few.

    Following a period of burn-out that followed, Parrish recorded and remixed tracks for Michael Jackson, Boy George, Gloria Gaynor, and Hi-NRG group Man2Man, among others, and served as manager for the Village People and Crystal Water to name a few. While Parrish’s subsequent material has achieved nowhere near the success or creative pitch of his earlier work, he continues to record from his brooklyn studio and is a frequent DJ at New York’s eclectic night spots and SM clubs. His Sunday Underground Party “Sperm” at the “Cock Bar” on New Yorks lower east side, is notorious, to say the least ! He is main DJ and co founder for a circut party called “Hustlerball” which has parties in many cities worldwide. He also has several adult websites and online businesses which keep him busy as a webmaster, and “jack of all trades”. His second LP, DreamTime, appeared on Strictly Rhythm in 1997.

    - Sean Cooper, All Music Guide

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