Saturday, April 01, 2006


Renegade Soundwave

Described as one the great lost English bands of the late 80's early 90's, I must say I think this is a bit of an exaggeration, though they have proven to be very important in terms of what was to follow, and they always put a smile on my face and got my feet tapping and that can't be bad. Forming as a trio in West London's Ladbroke Grove their roots were as DJ's and warehouse party promoters. Their debut on vinyl was for the dance orientated rhythm King with a song that was to serve as their manifesto 'Kray Twins', nothing more London in subject mater than the Krays. A strong mix of hip hop and dub with Gary Asquith's half sung half spoken London accented lyrics overflowing with punk attitude.
The major minor Mute were quick to snap the band up and sent them off to the studio, the result was 1989's almost schizophrenic 'Soundclash'. This album underlined what was to hold them back from lager mainstream success, their almost uncanny ability to mix rock and dance music which was ahead of its time by a good few years. Nevertheless 'Soundclash' was graced with a UK top 40 hit in 'Probably A Robbery', a song that would not be out of place on a Guy Richie soundtrack. Again it was a song that dealt with the London underworld using strong local slang terms - a song that has always made me think of a more upbeat take on the Clash's 'Bankrobber'. There was also a close miss for a hit with the wonderful 'Biting My Nails' a nervous twitchy number heavily sampling 'Knock on Wood'. They followed up 'Soundclash' the next year with 'In Dub', a set of new and reworked instrumentals. By the time 'How You Doin'?' there second proper album was released in 1994 they were a duo. A very confident record with tales of London night life and mixing intelligent samples with their own brand of east end hip hop. The album's lead and their theme song 'Renegade Soundwave' kept up the gangster influence being based around Serge Gainsbourg's 'Bonnie and Clyde'. To celebrate the release they hit the road and toured just like a real band, but the success they merited was not to be and by 1995 they were no longer together. Had they hung on for a bit longer, they might have reaped their just rewards as there works layed the groundwork for Big Beat and Drums and Bass. It is no wonder that the Chemical Brothers have cited them as a major influence. They were also, during there life time, in demand a remixers for artists as diverse a Inspiral Carpets and Nitzer Ebb.
If you are looking for something to buy there is an very good compilation still available 'RSV 87-95' that gets the balance right between their different elements.

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