Friday, 12 August 2011

Earthling - '1st Transmission'

Wow, this is almost Proustian in it's ability to vividly transport me to a particular place and time.

It's a Saturday afternoon in Leeds, 1994, and I'm round at Rob's old house on Brudenell Road. I lived in Manchester at that point, but moved to Leeds a year later. Ali was there too. We'd been record shopping at Jumbo Records, and I'd picked this up.

It's basically 4 mixes of the same song, but the first version is so strong, such a fat, trip-hop, of-the-moment production that it just sucks you in. The rudeboy sound-system swagger contrast with Earthling's naive, almost childish vocals in a way that found totally captivating at the time. So much so that I listened to all of the mixes one after another, much to the obvious annoyance of Rob and Ali. I think I might have been going back to flip the record over and repeat the A side when someone mentioned that, perhaps, that might be enough of that for now. I was a bit bemused by that then, as I am now.

This track combined everything that I loved about music and lyrics - fat production, someone with their own flow, lyrics that sort of told a story and sort of hinted at someone immersed in their own world. It totally inspired me to start writing lyrics and rapping, and I remember one night waking up and having to find a pad and a Bic biro, the rhymes tumbling out in an unstoppable torrent. Well, maybe not an unstoppable torrent, but a couple of sides of A4 written down as fast as I could manage.

Damn, I'm really happy to hear this again! To me, it's the sound of possibility, of performance without fear of pretension, of music production marrying with an emotion behind a set of lyrics, or vice versa. Happy days.

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