About a year or so ago, my dear friend and walking, talking, scratching Hip Hop encyclopedia DJ Mace asked me if I were up for writing a column of sorts for the Fremdtunes blog. I gladly accepted this offer, but never really got to actually writing anything. Up until now that is. I was told I could pick any subject I wanted, just as long as it had something to do with music. So I decided to go with simply picking some of my favorite tunes from the past (and present). Not necessarily hard to find or crazy obscure stuff, just the ones that come with fond memories, or songs that have always stood out to me because of their sheer weirdness. This first one isn’t all that weird or anything though, it’s just that I’ve loved it from the very first time I ever heard it, back when I first started DJ’ing in the mid 90’s.
I’m well aware that, without those memories, it might come across as a pretty random, run of the mill Trip Hop tune. But the thing that made it so special to me, is that it’s the flipside of a Hardcore 12″. In other words, when I copped this record for its A-side (early Hardcore staple “my nine is a classic”) I wasn’t expecting to hear a laid back, 108 bpm breakbeat joint. Back then I was a skateboarder through and through (still am btw, it’s just that I’m not “living it” like I was in those days), and though listening to Hip Hop did fit the skater mould, it wasn’t deemed appropriate by the skateboarding society’s narrow minded norms to even enter within the vicinity of anything related to hardcore (especially out here in the Netherlands, where Gabbers and skaters were arch enemies). Electronic hardcore that is of course, because listening to the rock/punk/guitar variety was not considered blasphemous. I abided by those rules for a short while, until I woke up and realized how much better my life could be if I would just let “another edition of Thunderdome “work its magic on me. So I went and asked one of my classmates to make me a tape with the hardest, fastest and nastiest tracks he could find, going in head first, full throttle etc etc. About two months later I bought my first pair of turntables and started frequenting Mid Town’s record store (the undisputed go-to place for Gabber wax).
In those very early days, my hardcore diet mainly consisted of Ruffneck and Kniteforce 12″s, until I heard DJ Maurice (of Rotterdam Termination Source fame, Poing Poing) spin Pilldriver at a local mini rave. For the two years following this epiphany, my entire world evolved around PCP, and Marc Acardipane (who, under countless monikers, produced the vast majority of the PCP catalog, including the tune I’m writing about right now) in particular. Though most of his releases were pounding Gabber joints, it was very obvious Hip Hop and Jungle were also a big influence on a lot of his productions. PCP even ran a strictly Breakbeat/Jungle label for a while (White Breaks FFM) and a lot of his tracks featured vocals that were lifted from ye olde Boom Bap tunes.
Anyways, so even though by then I’d managed to shake most of the insecurities that come with being a hardcore-loving-skateboarder, I guess it still felt like an extra bit of reassurance to find out I wasn’t the only one living in a world where it was possible for speed freaks and rappers to coexist in a harmonious manner. It’s kind of odd though, looking back on all of this right now, that for the most part, by the mid 90’s, these scenes were so strictly separated. Because Hip Hop, especially in the UK, was a very fundamental part of hardcore’s procreation. A large number of the early hardcore crews had MC’s and DJ’s with roots in rap music (the Criminal Minds for example), and most of Silver Bullet’s output threaded a thin line between these two genres. I wasn’t there to witness it first hand, but I was told by a number of people, that at least one of his songs (20 seconds to comply) was a staple at Rotterdam’s notorious Parkzicht venue, which is commonly credited with being the birthplace of the Dutch Gabber scene. But I guess that’s just what happens over time. The next breed of party goers enters a scene, without any knowledge whatsoever of its past, and without giving a hoot about it either, so yeah, can’t really blame anyone, right?
Back to business: this track is called “Your Special Attraction”, and given the facts that it’s laden with that world famous “ecstasy” sample (still don’t know which song that is from originally) and the name of the label being PCP, I don’t think it’s an ode to his girlfriend, but more likely a song of praise, celebrating all and everything that is wonderful about drugs in general and xtc in particular. Besides the aforementioned sample there’s also a couple of string chords, ravey melody, breakbeat and a spot of Bob James’ Mardi gras. Nothing more, nothing less. But it does the trick, at least in my opinion. Enjoy.