A GUEST POSTING FROM SWISS ADAM
Echorich’s A Certain Ratio ICA covered the group’s career is such a fashion that an ICA from me probably isn’t necessary but ACR have such a wide ranging and high quality back catalogue that finding another ten songs isn’t difficult. It goes without saying that Do The Du, Shack Up and several some others that Echorich chose are essential. So are these.
A two note ten minute tribute to a hill north of Manchester, site of an air crash and reputedly a strange drone, recreated by some skinny young Mancunians in 1981.
Like Do The Du and Shack Up this is the mutant funk that they made their name with pinned down by Donald Johnson’s drums and the monotone vocals of Jez Kerr. Dark grey music.
And another one, even stranger, more abstract funk but with blood pulsing through its veins.
From an Italian ep release to promote a gig in Italy, driving drums and skronky brass.
A 1985 12” single, this is what happens when punk goes jazz. Streets ahead.
This is something else- a Lou Reed sample, a steal from the Beach Boys and a huge wobbly 808 squiggle. In 1989 Manchester was the centre of the known universe and with this song (and ep) A Certain Ratio were making records that were part of it.
And on the ACR:MCR album they made a lost classic (due to be re-issued this year following their new deal with Mute.) Be What You Wanna Be is all drums and percussion and Denise Johnson.
Echorich rightly praised The Big E, a late 80s pop masterpiece. It was remixed by Bernard Sumner into a Hacienda dancefloor gem. The drum machine rat a tat tats, the backing vocals coo and Jez’s lovelorn vocals sound lovelier than ever. This version gets played more than the original round our way.
From the Rob’s Records period in the early 90s, a label set up by Rob Gretton. 27 Forever proved that they still had it (and their current run of gigs proves that even now they still have it.)
1992 saw an the release of the Up In Downsville LP. From that record, Mello is perfectly pitched house-pop of the kind that saw New Order become enormous (and wealthy). Meanwhile ACR all have day jobs.