Turn That Noise Down - The Shamen

Album artwork - Computer drawing of a red and blue drum surrounded by shamanic runes on a black and green background.

So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1992 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week, Susan Bangs on about Boss Drum...

"A great philosopher once wrote…"

There is a very special place in my heart for The Shamen; Aberdeen-born, I think of them as my “hometown band.” I vaguely remember seeing them in Aberdeen in the late 80s at a club night, but it was not until the turn of the decade, after the addition to the line-up of rapper Mr C, that they really hit the big time with a change in vibe from Acid House prog to Rave. The rest, as they say, is history.

But what of Boss Drum? If you were a fan of the 90s sound of The Shamen, you owned this album, which was, surprisingly, their fifth album release. It has most of the chart hit singles you’d recognise on it – starting with my favourite Shamen track, LSI (Love Sex Intelligence). Then we have Phorever People, both of which feature the wonderful vocals of Jhelisa Anderson, Comin’ On [you know they keep comin’ on – Ed], the title track Boss Drum, Re:Evolution, which harks back to their psychedelic roots using a sampled speech by Shamanic ethnobotanist Terence McKenna, and, of course, the ubiquitous [before it got banned by the BBC – Ed] Ebeneezer Goode. To be honest, the only huge Shamen hit missing is Move Every Mountain, originally called Pro>Gen, from their previous album En-tact. That track was remixed by The Beatmasters and re-released in 1991 to become the song that broke The Shamen into the mainstream, their first top 10 hit.

Other than the singles, we have Space Time which is superbly scifi synthy sounding, Librae Solidi Denari which has a highly recognisable tinkly riff at the start and is a simple, almost tribal, pure electronic beat, Fatman, which is gloriously bassy, and Scientas, which is a meditatively moody track and the closest you’ll get to a ballad on the album, with a shiver-inducing bend in the synth notes, superb guitar solo, pan pipes and nature noises. The CD [the only true way to buy techno back in the day – Ed] had two extra tracks; a remix of Boss Drum and a dub mix of Phorever People.

So, yeah, if you were a fan of The Shamen back in the day, you owned this album. If you’re not yet a fan, this is the album to get. Now, with flashing images, has anybody got any Veras? Lovely ...

[Addendum: Looking for the above video, I also came across THIS version - and almost acoustic, almost live performance of the song on TOTP in September 1992 which really showcases the mastery of Mr C - Ed]

Image - Amazon

Powered by Blogger.