Crowded clubs, loud music, euphoric dancing, sweaty people, no restrictions – with every month this lockdown continues things like this feel more and more like a fairytale from a distant past. And whether you’ve been a big fan of club culture or not you can’t ignore the huge impact it had on our society. Especially the early days of this movement continue to fascinate me. In the 80s techno and house music made its first appearance in the underground and the first spark quickly ignited into a fire that burned quite heavily throughout most of the 1990s. I already told you about my love for the Acid House movement before and I think a time of forbidden crowed gatherings is a good moment to revisit it once again. I decided to do that via the power of the music and the medium of the DJ-set because that time was also the time when the DJ became the star of the scene. There’s a great scene in Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 movie 24 Hour Party Peolple in which actor Steve Coogan sums it up perfectly:
In the quite recommendable little film Coogan pays Tony Wilson, an iconic figure of Manchester’s cultural scene of that time. He founded Factory Records in the late 70s, discovered bands like Joy Division and the Happy Mondays and later also built the temple of the new rave culture which saw rock and electronic music finally merge into one grooving mélange: the Hacienda. There are countless stories about the iconic Hacienda club and depending on whoever you ask about it it was either a huge triumph or a giant flop. Like most of Wilson’s endeavours it was a financial disaster on a longerm basis because planning wasn’t the strength of the gang around Factory Records. Some of you might remember the fun fact that the design of New Order‘s Blue Monday single was so expensive that the label actually lost money with every sold copy. And it’s still the most sold 12-inch-single of all time. Needless to mention that both Factory Records and the Hacienda went bankrupt in the 1990s but then rave culture already lost its innocence a long time ago.
But the early days were exciting, the sounds were fresh, the productions still quite analogue but also packed with experiments. The acid house movement of the late 80s was driven by a general positivity and sense of love (and also drugs but they are not mandatory to enjoy this). The music was the equivalent of that spirit – it was quite warm, psychedelic and funky and groups like Primal Scream, New Order or Happy Mondays really understood how to transport that vibe onto the stage. The DJs in the clubs extended that feeling on the dancefloors with … well, literal extended mixes and clever edits and over the past years I’ve become a huge fan of digging for these tracks from the Madchester Rave era and luckily there’s always a lot to be discovered. Even better: The sound of these times is making a subtle little revival over the past years. There are bands and producers who try to bring the vibes and beats of these times into the here and now. It’s just one of the many branches of modern electronica but I’m glad it exists. Under my Burnout Sumner moniker I produced two sets that focus exactly on that – the past and the present – and today I’d like to share them with you. Why? Because we could all use a good party right now, even if it’s just for ourselves. We all need a reminder of the potential music has when it comes to bringing people together. A good groove can help you in troubled times and that’s what my Hacienda Mixes are all about.
Hacienda High Times: Remembering The Past
I actually produced this one two years ago but it hasn’t lost its magic after all. This first mix is a direct jump into the high times of the Madchester rave era, compiling some of my favourite tunes from the years 1988 to 1993. If features some of the era’s big players like Happy Mondays, New Order, The Farm, The Future Sound Of London and 808 State but also some lesser known artists and tunes that deserve your attention. It’s the recreation of a great night out back then and I hope you’ll enjoy this throwback adventure.
Hacienda Now Times: A Modern Take On It
This is the sequel that never happened in reality but in our minds. Recently I found myself asking: What would a night at the Hacienda sound like 30 years later? Obviously they might have adapted to a modern sound as well but the tracks I thought of try to capture the essence of the past but with a fresh tack. Back then the rave scene also saw cool indie bands getting introduced to the dancefloor so my selection features some of the finest new artists of today in a floorfilling context: Fontaines D.C., The Orielles, Working Men’s Club, Shura, Foals, Pumarosa and there’s also a bootleg mix of Sleaford Mods which I produced by myself. Like the first mixtape this one also starts with Hallelujah by the Happy Mondays although this time it’s a modern 2020 rework by producer Ewan Pearson. And you might spot a few other modern favourites in here as well. These days our imagination is a crucial ally when it comes to facing the harsh reality of the 21st century. But the music can also help to turn it into a better place. Utopian ideas are still as important as they have been over the past decades; now maybe more than ever. I hope you’ll enjoy this ride with me.
Both mixes are also up for free download. For more regular mixtapes don’t hesitate to follow my Burnout Sumner profile on Soundcloud as well.