Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Classic 12"s of the '90s - Radio Babylon

Meat Beat Manifesto's single Helter Skelter was released in the US in May of 1990. It featured Helter Skelter as the A-side, and it's B-side was Radio Babylon. Helter Skelter had a clattering breakbeat, dub and industrial elements, odd vocal snippets - "it's in my brain" & "this is it!" - and was pretty much the pinnacle of their output to this point. It was a perfect distillation of all that they had tried, and saw them perfect the trademark Meat Beat sounds - rumbling bass, submarine pings, that sort of thing. As much as I love Helter Skelter, it is Radio Babylon that hits me the hardest. Made up of a bunch of the parts of it's A-side, it was a spacier mix that boasted more roots reggae appeal. From it's opening beeps, "Babylons" and menacing bassline and the crucial "burning with ecstasy" blurb it rumbles on to shred your speaker cones with vital energy and "riddims full of culture, y'all". In the end it remains, IMO, one of electronic dance music's greatest moments.

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