Second Circle`s first archival release is in complete keeping with the imprint`s tribal-edged electronic aesthetic. The Sandoz E.P. collects 4 tracks from Richard H. Kirk’s side-project of the same name. Licensed from a pair of the Cabaret Voltaire founder`s early 1990s 12”s – released on his own Intone label. Kirk, an early advocate of house, was partly responsible for the birth of “Bleep”. Sharing the producer`s chair with Richard “Parrot” Barratt – The Crooked Man – for Sweet Exorcist`s Testtone (that`s how it`s pronounced – the folks at WARP didn’t like the 2 Ts). Human Spirit swapped the Cabs nag nag nag for sampled chants and set a template for Detroit meets Dakar that can still be heard in places such as Esa Williams and Auntie Flo`s Highlife workshops. Sheffield present in the sharp, steely percussion – the music of hammer on anvil. Its industrial roots showing. The connection to FON Studios and WARP betrayed by the woofer-blowing bass. One of the tune`s hooks is the same strange ancient alien whistling that defined Balil`s Nort Route (both pieces were released in 1992) – and it also shares something with the sounds coming out of London`s Addis Ababa Studios. The warriors dance of Bang The Party, No Smoke, and particularly Tony Thorpe`s Moody Boys.
The more muted, and possibly more hypnotic, Chocolate Machine, from 1993, has a b-line more obviously in debt to Jamaican dub***. Rocking a proto-jungle breakbeat like Black Dog`s Cost II on the run with Dee Patten`s (Who’s The) Badman.
You can order a copy of the Sandoz E.P. directly from Music From Memory.
***Sandoz would ultimately chase Tubbys Hi-Fi further into the echo chamber, with these later releases subsequently being revisited by Soul Jazz.