Monday, February 16, 2009

Smokebelch II

On a strange Monday morning, in a week of titanic upheavals at work, unemployment and financial disaster hitting across the Western world, a redundancy of one of my friends, two funerals of my friends family members in the last week (one I attended, one I only knew about), it's a morning where you look for the best.

Back in the early 90s, "Smokebelch II", by Sabres of Paradise came out and simply stopped me cold. I first heard it on Radio 1 in the UK, in it's remixed form - turned in to a clattering monster by David Holmes of Belfast. I laid hands on the 12", and played it till I wore it out. Then there was the original Sabres version, which was far less clattering, more emotional, but still underpinned with the deep thud of a dancefloor kick.

In truth, Andrew Weatherall and Sabres stole the tune - lifted it wholesale, from L.B. Bad's "New Age of Faith", to whom the credit must go. But despite the theft, which is one of the most blatant I've ever heard, there can be no denying that the Sabres reworking of this idea is simply amazing.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best incarnation is the Sabres "beatless" mix.

I remember the first time I walked in to a 'proper' nightclub - it was the Sub Club in Glasgow, probably some time in 1992. Weatherall was DJing (at least 4 hours himself, it went on till past 6), and I was curious enough to want to see him. I walked in with a friend, on a voyage of discovery, down the steps, in to immense heat, huge volume, dark corners and a heaving crowd, and deep in the basement, in the middle of the night, found the furnace of the dancefloor in freeze-frame meltdown to the overwhelming emotion of this tune.

An incredible work of melodic guitar guide tones, angular resonant corners rich in 5ths and portamento, backpedalling pads in the background, plucked string basses, and the richest arching synthetic string line.

In the middle of the night, deep in Glasgow, or on a pensive Monday morning in Dublin, this tune has all the answers.

1 comment:

rudegary said...

Good post Dave, sorry to hear about your recent bad news