2001 2011 ARC(ANE) downloads releases

Speech Emphasis

I’ve decided to skip over the small collection of remixes (ARCN04) for now. I’ll come back to it later. I appear to have lost the original CDr that Hardcell sent me so would need to produce a decent copy of his track. I tried to contact him a while ago but never received a response.

So, I’m skipping on to the next in the sequence, which is ARCN05, “Speech Emphasis”, released some time in 2001. Three of the tracks on this release have vocal sounds in them, but the title isn’t an intentional reference to anything in particular. It was simply two words spoken by my friend Ed during a conversation. I thought they sounded nice next to each other and probably noted them down somewhere at the time, for later use.

This record was subtitled “Elegant Manoeuvres part II”, the second in an occasional series of loosely related records that started with the first ARC(ANE) release. As such it had – to my ears at least – a subtle difference from the sound of ARC and the sound of other ARC(ANE) records. A little bit more funky, less dark…maybe?

The first track, “Got To Get Down Again”, uses the same vocal sample that featured in a brief skittish track on ARC02 (“This Weak Flesh”). The bass line for this track is the same sequence which fades up towards the end of “Divine Confusion” on ARCN02 (“Storyteller”). I almost never saved patches or sequences across studio sessions, and all these tracks appear in sequence on the same master CDr. This suggests that all of the aforementioned tracks, which made it onto different records at different times, were started and finished on the same day in March 2000. Except for some 909 ride cymbal from the Novation DrumStation, all percussion sounds are from the Boss DR-660 drum machine, and the synth sound which pops up came from the EMU Audity 2000 rack-mount synth. I manually switched between vocal sequences somehow during recording, to produce the sections in which it repeats more frequently. I’m still very fond of it.

“Mapped” is a deliberately plodding track, recorded in September 2000. That plodding feel is largely down to the TB-303 bass line, which is just three single hits on the first, second and fourth beat of each bar. The other sounds, which seem to combine a sound reminiscent of the TR-808 toms and another spiky sound, was probably created by me randomly hitting a bunch of keys and quantising the result in the Alesis MMT-8 sequencer. I think those sounds are from a percussion bank on the Roland JD-800, but I could be mistaken. I do remember that the spiky sound with a delay on it caused concern during the cut at The Exchange, almost making the cutting stylus jump off the lacquer. The only thing which does much here is a sampled sound which shifts up and down in pitch, giving the track a bit of momentum. I wanted to make something which was unexciting and uneventful but still hypnotic and engaging. I think I may have played this track during one of the warm up slots I played at Lost some years ago (2005/2006).

“Overcome” is next. Recorded some time during summer 2000, it’s a muddled affair. It combines a 6/4 rhythm pattern, two vocal samples, a vocal waveform from the Audity 2000 synth, and a filtered sample sequenced on the Notron, to finish up with a track that doesn’t really seem to know what it’s doing or where it’s going. Perhaps that’s a good thing. I’ve nothing against confusing a dance floor, in fact that has always been one of my aims. Still, I’m not sure if this would confuse for the right reasons.

Last on the release, recorded in May 2000, is “Electric Olive ver.2”. I like olives, but the title has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the source of the stab which appears in the first beat of every bar of this track. The looped synth sound and clapping sequence was pinched from somewhere else….I’m not exactly sure where…but it was off a friend’s CD lying around at home. I guess it was an electronic music CD and as such I probably was going a bit too close to home again for sample source material. These are combined with a kick/hi-hat rhythm and looped up into a simple, repetitive sequence which changes very little throughout. Because it hardly changes at all, one notices the few moments in which something does actually happen. A few times the stab lengthens and seems to unfold deliciously into a female vocal sound, and a TR-909 ride does the “techno thing” of notching the vibe up and down every so often. Despite the slight unease I now feel about the sampling, I like this track a lot; it’s one I sometimes listen to repeatedly as I find the feel of it very comfortable, and comforting.

Files are in lossless FLAC format, compressed from WAV files taken from the original DAT recordings.

download lossless FLAC version of Speech Emphasis

Please get in touch if you have any problems downloading, unzipping, or playing the files.

2000 2010 ARC(ANE) downloads releases

Body Conscious

ARCN03 was released around October 2000. Titled “Body Conscious”, it is one of the releases from my back catalogue that I’m most fond of. It follows on neatly from ARCN02, “Storyteller”, and may be the best example of the dark, disorientating techno that the ARC(ANE) label was created to put out.

The first track was recorded in September 1997. “Shiver” is largely sample based. Short vocal snippets and a sampled stab filter up and down, perhaps under my control or that of a random LFO. Most of the sounds, including the sampled and reversed hi-hat, are filtered through the Lexicon Vortex, a wacky rack mount effects processor which I think is great, and which played a crucial part in the formation of my “sound”, if such a thing ever existed. Once I found a setting I was happy with (a stereo delay with a bit of modulation) that patch was saved, and I used the same effect to one degree or another on almost every track I subsequently recorded.

“Partly Due To”, recorded in January 1999, is a murky, uneasy sounding track, with stuttering and echoing vocal sounds. I always liked the idea of dancers hearing voices in the darkness of a club, and never quite figuring out where they were coming from or what they were saying. This track is a particularly unsettling example of that idea, but having made that point I don’t remember ever hearing this track played out by anyone, including myself.

“Through You We” is probably the most easily “playable” track on the record from a DJ perspective. The kick and shaker sounds provide a steady rhythm over which two or three spooky synth patterns cycle up and down in tone and timbre. Simple but effective, this was nice and easy to play out yet dark and disorientating enough to get some interesting reactions (seeing people fall over was usually the aim). I seem to have lost a master CD containing the original recording of this and other tracks, but it must have been recorded in either 1999 or 2000.

The last track is titled “Start The End”, recorded in April 1999. This kicks off with a deep pulse and some sticky sounding high frequency snaps. The main feature of this track is a dramatic sounding looped sample which fades up slowly and bends in pitch here and there to create an uneasy feeling. I’ve no memory of where the sample came from. Although rhythm is provided by the sticky sounds and hi-hats, the kick drum doesn’t appear until the final quarter of the track, shortly before the whole thing fades out.

Files are in lossless FLAC format, compressed from WAV files taken from the original DAT recordings.

download lossless FLAC version of Body Conscious

Please get in touch if you have any problems downloading, unzipping, or playing the files.

2000 2010 ARC(ANE) downloads releases


The third ARCart release was also the second ARC(ANE) release. It came out in June 2000 with the catalogue number ARCN02, and is titled “Storyteller”. I think it was the first release I put out through Prime Distribution on a P&D basis. I believe that stands for production and distribution, but in any case it meant that I didn’t have to pay for the cut, artwork and pressing up front with my own money – Prime paid and took those expenses out of the sales revenue from the release.

The first track, “The Nowhere Express”, was recorded in April 1999. At about seven minutes in duration, it’s the longest track released on either ARCart label. The bassline is a looped section from something playing on the radio at whatever time I happened to make the track. This is overlaid with sounds from the Roland JD-800 that are heavily processed and filtered. I was manually tweaking the fine tuning knob for the tone settings up and down half a semitone or so throughout the track to create the barely noticeable pitch shift. It’s quite a chaotic sounding and noisy track for me but I like its hypnotic trancey vibe. It even has a couple of breakdowns.

“Divine Confusion” was recorded in March 2000, on the same day as and immediately before I recorded “Got To Get Down Again” which contains some of the same sounds and which will feature in a future post for ARCN05. The rich nature of the vocal sample meant that it was virtually impossible to cut it for vinyl without it distorting, so this is the first time it’s available with a pristine sound. It nearly wasn’t – when mastering these files I was dismayed to find the original recording (on an HHB so-called professional audio CDR, recorded on an HHB professional audio CD recorder) had degraded massively, along with quite a few other original recordings on a number of master CDRs that have effectively become unplayable and lost. By sheer luck I found a copy of this track somewhere on a DAT that I must have used to bounce the audio to a compiled master for the cut.

“Shift It”, recorded in February 1999, is a rare example of me using the Roland TB-303 in a released track. It’s a full sounding but very basic track, with a 3/4 bass throb under the beat, and a simple 303 pattern that pitch shifts up and down in semitones. There is also some subtle manual tweaking of the tuning knob. The 303 sounds like it has some chorus or flange on it to make it a bit edgy, and lots of stereo delay from the saved setting on my Lexicon Vortex which featured on pretty much every track I made for years.

The title track, “Storyteller”, is also the oldest on the release, recorded in December 1998. It’s more mechanical sounding than the other tracks on the record due to the incessant snare pattern. The only sounds which vary in this track are the delayed vocal samples and a high pitched synth pattern that (of course) moves up and down in tone.

All of these tracks were sequenced using the Alesis MMT-8, except “Divine Confusion” which used the Notron (I have the metallic blue Mark 2 model which is not currently pictured on that Wikipedia page).

Files are in lossless FLAC format, compressed from WAV files which are taken from the original DAT recordings.

download lossless FLAC version of Storyteller

Please get in touch if you have any problems downloading, unzipping, or playing the files.

2000 2010 ARC(ANE) downloads releases

Elegant Manoeuvres

The first release on ARC’s sister label ARC(ANE) came out in February 2000, was titled “Elegant Manoeuvres” and had the catalogue number ARCN01. All the tracks were at least 2 years old when released. It was distributed by Prime Distribution which had agreed to take on my labels following the dismal performance of Metropolis described in the previous post. By that time I’d had another release on the Chicago based High Octane label, which was arranged by DJ Rush who acted in a sort of A&R capacity for them.

The differences between ARC and ARC(ANE) were always quite subtle, but were probably most audible on this and the two subsequent “Elegant Manoeuvres” releases. They had more of a groove to them, I think, and were more house-influenced even if they didn’t sound much like house.

The first track, “Passenger”, is quite pacy at about 140 or 142bpm. It was recorded in late 1997, immediately after the track “Ambrosia” which was released some years later on ARCN07. It uses the same sample or synth loop as its main riff, but it’s sequenced differently. Derrick May played it once at a Lost party in Vauxhall. At the end of the night I approached him to say thanks for playing it. He asked me which track I meant, and I mentioned the title. He said “I only have white labels”. So I described the logo which would have been stamped on the copy I posted to the Transmat office in Detroit. He said “oh yeaaaah….I thought you brought the hi-hats in a bit late”. Cheeky bastard. I told him it would make more sense if he played more of the track. “oooh, yeah!”. Anyway, it was nice to hear him play the record, it certainly buffed my ego a bit. I once heard Kevin Saunderson play another of my tracks at a much later Lost party…and I didn’t like the way he used it at all. In fact I rarely enjoyed the way other people played my records, but I was always interested to observe from the dancefloor how a crowd would react to the tracks. I doubt I’ll ever hear the other member of the Belleville Three do the same but two out of three isn’t bad.

I seem to remember having problems with the bass sound distorting in the next track, “Hunk”. This track was recorded in January 1998. The sound that echoes throughout is, I think, a sampled TR-909 snare that was messed with and put through loads of effects. I’ve never played this track in a set or heard anyone else play it. It’s not particularly exciting to me now, and not one of my favourites of all the tracks I released, but I’d be interested to hear it on a big system one day.

“Picnic Cut” was recorded in July 1998. The main riff was a sample from a track that Tommy Gillard and I made together in January 1996 called “Life’s No Picnic” (that track can be downloaded here if anyone is interested). I used the dysfunctional time stretch function on the Roland S-760 to mash it up a bit and processed it through the sampler’s rough sounding filter while messing with a few simple percussion sounds. I like this track a lot, it was always my favourite track on the record.

Recorded in late 1997, the title of the last track, “Break The Laws” came from the vocal sample used, although I don’t think that’s what’s actually being said. Like “Hunk”, I never played this track in a set. I like the chunky beat it has, the shuffled sampled closed hi-hat and the low synths that appear a couple of times. I’m less sure about the two sections where the sequence of the vocal sample changes.

All of these tracks were sequenced using the Alesis MMT-8.

Files are in lossless FLAC format, compressed from WAV files taken from the original DAT recordings.

download the lossless FLAC version of Elegant Manoeuvres

Please get in touch if you have any problems downloading, unzipping, or playing the files.

2010 ARC ARC(ANE) releases

ARCart releases in digital format

Several years ago I updated a page on the ARCart website announcing that mp3 versions of all the ARC and ARC(ANE) releases would be made available. Some years later I removed that text as I realised I’d still not got round to fulfilling that promise and, like my vague ideas of ever making music again, might never actually get round to it.

Well, at least on one of these points I’ve finally managed to make good on my word. Over the coming weeks I’ll be making available digital versions of every ARCart vinyl release. The intention at this stage is to make them available in FLAC format, compressed from WAV files created from the original digital recordings made on Digital Audio Tape and in some cases, CDr.

The files will be posted in the order they were originally released. I expect I’ll write a bit about each one as well, giving some background information as well as sharing my opinions on how I feel about them all these years later.

I don’t know if anyone is really that interested at this stage, but it will at least serve the purpose of creating an archive that will sit alongside the bits of vinyl still floating around in various collections, bargain bins and landfill sites. And it will give me something to write about on this ever-sluggish blog.