Running Back rifle through Fila Brazillia`s bumper back catalogue to deliver a dynamite 12 from the prolific – and highly influential – production duo of Steve Cobby and David McSherry. Slacker dates from 1994. Originally released on Hull-based Pork Recordings – this was PORK017 – it`s now presented as an extended 13 / 14-minute take. Opening with an accordion-like drone, and loose percussion approaching, off in its distance, the track soon develops a tribal, progressive, house thump. Serrated by searing, treated electric guitar arcs, too rude to be whale song, and laced with laser blasts, proceedings are grounded by huge Hoover-esque bass. Raw carnival congas are cut in-and-out, perhaps in a nod to Fabi Paras` then popular “Shiva Shanti” sound.
From 1991, Mermaids – PORK002 – was actually the pair’s debut: a blissed-out 120 BPM balancing act, of beefy beats, breaks, TB-303, and snippets of summery birdsong. Centred around a sampled “siren” – an operatic soprano aria – and riffing on the Robinson Crusoe TV Theme tune, with what could be a theremin, the track was a perfect response to the previous year`s Balearic smash – Aqua Marina by The Countach. While its fractured piano fragments prophetically predicted the dub-informed aesthetics of Basic Channel, it`s a simple, super effective, reminder of those more innocent daze, and absolutely essential, truly timeless, sunset to twilight gear.
A Demo Mix adds a fancier b-line, temple gongs, and fidgeting IDM details – lending the tune a more “future fusion” edge – and completing a desert island dance-floor disc straight outta East Yorkshire that rivals any of the sought-after, contemporary, early-to-mid `90s Italian “dreamy” stuff.
Steve’s been plugging away, privately, crowd-funding and pressing some of Fila`s seminal sides to vinyl. Hopefully others, following Running Back`s Gerd Janson`s lead, will now take note of these nuggets, step up, and offer Mr. Cobby a helping hand.
Fila Brazillia`s Mermaids is released today, on Running Back.
*The original 12 finds Slacker paired with Subtle Body – a Phil Mison / Cafe del Mar favourite. Subtle Body was also the tune that got Steve working with The Afghan Whigs` Greg Dulli. A collaboration that I’m not sure Steve savours.
**Steve also co-produced PORK1 – working with label-founder, Dave “Porky” Brennand, as Spokane.