ZTT Remastered Singles

Discuss 808 State and related.

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Re: ZTT Remastered Singles

Post by Mark808 »

Hi. Are we getting TORTB 99 and Pump EP's added? Loving the tribal gathering mix of Cobra!
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Joined: 02 Apr 2002 01:00
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Re: ZTT Remastered Singles

Post by nickking »


MC Tunes vs 808 State - Pump -ZTT singles collection. Out 11th November 2022 Digital Platforms.

Continuing with the ZTT MC Tunes vs 808 State digital remasters last Friday they released PUMP. 

I will attempt to piece the time line of these later rogue MC Tunes vs 808 State tracks plus two lot 808 instrumentals that appear on this EP.
They were post Gorgeous ,pre Don Solaris so likely to be 1995 /96
There was a period of working with various vocalists in the lead up to the Don Solaris album ,Billie Ray Martin ,Robert Owens ,Pete Hope and one day MC Tunes jumped in the van with us over to Sheffield because we had a Hip Hop flavoured mid tempo track cooking at FON studios
I think Nicky had started up his Dust Junkies project at the time but not unleashed it as yet.

He liked a rock vibe and MORE as it became had a tasty riff that I was quite chuffed with played on my new blue Les Paul guitar using a Sovtek BIg Muff into a WEM Dominator amplifier.

Coming back off a short US tour with New Order I had picked up quite a few new instruments.

Buying a guitar is like Harry Potter buying a wand ,Diagon Alley in this case was The House of Guitars in Rochester New York. My Les Paul waited for me there . But also in weird serendipity my old friend and musical compadre Graham Clark also bought his Les Paul unknowingly from the same shop some months later when he toured with Gong ,We only noticed when we had the same stickers on our cases. I also picked up a cheap Fender Musicman short scale bass at the same time and that also goes through the Big Muff on this track played live.

Check Your Head by the Beastie Boys was always on in our van at this point in time and pretty much an influence on these two tracks as far as the music goes.

Nicky would have had a first draft written to a demo cassette ,then put a first version rap down.

I remember all of us doing the chorus chant in the live room at FON leaving the microphone at a distance for maximum terrace effect ,then stacking a few takes up in the Akai S1100 sampler.

The brass is a sample but there is actually a trumpet solo in the track that I played on my pocket trumpet . Im no trumpet player but it was compulsory in the days of Post Punk to have a bugler in the band , my technique involved shoving the microphone right in the bell of the instrument and wiggling the valves until they got hot.

Daz got to do some wiki wiki on the record deck and he had started the track off with various drum breaks from his Kwik Save bag of floppy discs.
We started PUMP later that month also based around a couple of samples that Daz put together

Occasionally at Lunch time in Manchester we would go to Yanks records ,it was a vast basement that sold dead stock vinyl records for next to nothing,for a tenner you could probably get 6 or 7 discs that would possibly be sieved to reveal a little gold dust .In this case the Pump Your Fist sample from 'Humpin' by The College Boyz . I have a memory of trying to reproduce the sample to fit the groove better.I think you can hear the difference if you compare the two versions here .

At the time digital manipulation was crude,you had to mess about with time stretch and pitch to crow bar things in.
I remember taking the train to London to visit Peter Beckman who had Sound Tools (early Pro Tools ) ,like a black smith he melted the sample and banged it into shape and we did some edits. We got the track written at FON Studios ,but we honed the track further at Jacobs Studio near Aldershot on the 17th 18th &19th of May 1995,Our new manager organised a weekend of cheap time at this residential country pile. I have a video of us all playing Tennis and Croquet in slow motion ,things were perhaps well relaxed. Al Stone was our engineer for this session and he suggested bringing in a singer he knew to do the BV s who was called Beverley ,possibly Beverley Knight (as Al had worked with her on Jamiroqui's album)

I worked a bit more on the drums was quite pleased with the human feel achieved by off setting the computer time code to give a sloppy feel ,the lilt and lope of the track is sweet !

Tunes laid down the rap under a barrage of instructions ,I have a Cheech & Chong like cassette of the talkback mic as he did it .

The relentless cajoling eventually results in the raw & edgy tones you hear him deliver on the track ! In yer face !

MC Tunes came and performed these two tracks at various gigs for a while in the mid 90s if he was n't doing his new band ,they were fun to do live .Pump did nt see the light of day until it appeared on the Japanese only "Thermo Kings"10 inch ,then they both appeared on the Deluxe version of The North At Its Heights in November 2011 ,again a Japanese only release on CD this time .

As DAT tapes were expensive ,they often ended up at the record company with unrelated tracks that we had recorded that week.

I'm guessing that's why Relay appears on this EP ,I think this is a second draft of that track as I remember the first one had that Manamana sample on it (and was titled Manama Jazz) We decided that was too annoying and did this new mix .

The pursuit of fresh beats was often to the fore during these sessions , new movement and textures to move on from the House music tropes of the day .I think the version of Relay from The Wool Hall is more successful ,do your own playlist by typing in Relay 808 State. We started off our live set with this track for a while in the 90s ,you could go proper freeform on it to loosen up .I used to cart a Yamaha CS50 around just for this tune ,thats a heavy keyboard , some one gave it me because it was knackered, Never mended it but made some great sounds for 10 minutes then would fizzle out , Another reason it was the first track in the set ,if there s any reason to it at all to these things.

Also on this DAT was a version of Cobra Bora that we put together at FON when we were due to play Tribal Gathering Festival on the May Bank Holiday 1985-Headlining were Orbital , The Prodigy & Moby ,two of our ex support bands . Then 808 and The Chemical Brothers and a host of name DJ s such as Jeff Mills , Richie Hawtin and Carl Cox , The Vets !

We did nt release this mix at the time as I felt it was too cluttered .When you speed up tracks to increase the energy ,throw in breakbeats and try and get intensity,you’ ll need to empty something out - Its appearance here may be of interest as a period piece .All music seemed to have sped up by 95 ,and we addressed a number of tunes in our set at this point .Drum & Bass was the sound that summer we were searching for a new identity in sound -The Don Solaris album would be our statement on that . These are the experiments leading up to it.
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Re: ZTT Remastered Singles

Post by nickking »


The last single in the ZTT remasters of MC Tunes vs 808 State is The Only Rhyme That Bites 99 -ZTT singles collection. Out 18th November 2022 Digital Platforms.

!n 1998 we did a 10 year retrospective of 808 State’s catalogue and released some 12 inches around the compilation 808 88 98-The Only Rhyme remixes were held in a queue until February 99

808 State ’s Only Rhyme 99 was a complete rework ,off on a tangent to the original ,We knew we wanted to use the Big Country strings and we used just one phrase from the rap ,well two if you count ‘ugh ugh’ .”Those who can’t funk ,why don't they funk off ?“ is chopped and phrased over a very strange sticky beat that feels like walking in wellies in a foot of mud ,contemporary funkafide filth ! It felt fresh and very danceable if you perhaps a contemporary dancer ,there is dancing for the masses and dancing in leotards.
We spent a couple of days on the remix at PWL studios in Manchester .Pete Waterman was always friendly if he popped in ,but would throw a puzzled look at Jason the engineer on the way out .Pete had bought out our old hang out” Eastern Bloc Records “at this point.He ran it for a year or so ?John Berry one of the original owners then bought it back and still runs it now in Stevenson Square.

PWL ’s northern studio was based in an old church where Deansgate meets the Tram & Railway bridges at Knott Mill in the centre of Manchester.Upstairs were some roomy offices ,Johnny J who was MC Tunes’s manager at that point had a desk there ,but we all know that Johnny’s office was in a plastic ASDA bag that he took everywhere.Someone should do a whole overview of Johnny J’s work over the years ,he’s still very active these days and works out of a different studio around Knott Mill around near where the Boardwalk Club was ,
I believe this is the first time this 99 mix is available digitally ,the remastering makes it a little bit clearer than the CD version. I am very fond of this mix ,glad its out in the wild again.

By the end of the 90s there were a set of younger A & R people at ZTT who were out and about
in London and they loved to get a short run of vinyl cut for specific clubs-Drum & Bass was well established and the retrospective 808 88 98 was received by some of the current producers like a relay baton .Goldie once told be that Cubik was an important track at RAGE ,the club that birthed that movement to a certain extent.Pacific too ,MC Tunes was also collaborating with his old neighbour A Guy Called Gerald and making some tracks for Juice Box around the mid 90s-Grooverider had remixed Pacific for the 98 project and now Optical delivered a great mix of Only Rhyme that appears here. Sounds awesome on a big system ,very useable to this day.
There is a super rare 12 inch pressing of Grooverider’s Pacific remix and Optical’s Only Rhyme remix on the Tape To Tape label from this time. The Only Rhyme 99 came out between 2 CD and Vinyl releases on ZTT in February 1999 , one with a blue cover and one red . Lets have a round of applause for the Piranha art work by Matt Maitland 


The Only Rhyme That Bites 808 ’s Instrumental is from the original 1990 sessions ,possibly an edit-was possibly on the B side of the original 12 inch

The Only Rhyme that Bytes Recut - Im loosing the plot when it comes to the difference between Bites and Bytes versions-different drums ? Different Studios ,one may be the Sarm West and Bytes the Sarm East was possibly the B side of the original 7 inch - Help me ! 

As you may have noticed these notes are work in progress and I do edits as the day goes on ,might need to dig out the vinyl to compare these last two instrumentals and their origin.
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