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Mighty Force Records' first ever release gets the remix treatment! 19 tracks including the Sonation "Can You Phase Me" Mix, with additional production from Tom Middleton. Evolution Records alum, The Horn, also contributes a mix, along with fantastic work from Puskin, Myoptik, Chuck Cogan, and many more. Fog City was Mighty Force honcho Mark Darby and Matthew "Wishmountain" Herbert (with Tom Middleton on Piano on one track as well)... All proceeds will be donated to Medecins Sans Frontiers. An almost accidental project set up by Mighty Force Records to remix the track “Sidewinder” by Fog City, written by Matthew Herbert and Mark Darby in 1993. The original track (not included in this release) was inspired by a rattlesnake moving across the desert sand at night. The project began as a question on a Facebook post, wondering if anyone would ever attempt a remix. Mark expected maybe one or two people might give it a go but this very soon spiraled into 19 remixes each of which has a unique sound. https://mightyforce.bandcamp.com/album/sidewinder-rewound
I believe that this notorious and at the same time unique festival deserves a separate topic. And given that relatively recently two channels have opened on YouTube, whose owners took part in shooting Britronica in 1994, there’s a chance that in the future we will see previously unpublished material. So, in order.
The first one is Programma «A» - the author's program of Sergey Antipov, aired on a state-owned channels from the late 80s to 2000 and in their archives the highest quality material, as they filmed professionally. Despite the fact that Sergey Antipov died five years ago, apparently one of his colleagues decided to upload the archives of his programs, all the videos were digitally remastered. They have already uploaed one issue dedicated to Britronica, but it was a replay of October 17, 1998, which showed some performances. At the end of the video, Sergey Antipov himself was shown, who said behind the scenes that they broadcasted Britronica live in 1994 on their program, so let's hope that they will release this issue over time ?
The second is Ryba Morze (Morse Fish) a program founded by enthusiasts from Izhevsk, which aired on local television. From the description to the video:
And as a bonus, I translated some author's answers on comments:
By Guest margaret thatcher
This is the article chronicling the Britronica festival in
Moscow, which featured Ultramarine, Seefeel, Bark Psychosis, Autechre,
Banco De Gaia and Reload performing (among others), and Richard James,
Alex Patterson and Paul Oakenfold among DJ's.
It is from the New Musical Express and is reprinted without permission.
COMRADE FEEL THE NOISE
by Rupert Howe
"Only a revolutionare dictatorship supported by the vast majority of
people can be at all durable."
"What?" - Richard D. James
It's Thursday April 14 and we're somewhere around Moscow on the
edge of nowhere when the weirdness begins to take hold. Straight off
Aeroflot and into full-on, no-holds barred disorientation.
The Aphex Twin is ready to puke; Alex Patterson is telling him -
for no particular reason - that his music will only be appreciated in 15
to 20 years time; the ground staff at the airport want $50 before they'll
get Ultramarine's gear off the plane. Shit.
Then we're on a coach, 60 of us in varying states of disrepair.
The driver keeps stopping, for no apparent reason, at the side of the
road. On one side there are unbroken rows of tower blocks with tiny
squares of light. On the other, darkness.
After a time we veer suddenly off the unmarked tarmac that passes
for motorway and onto what feels like a potholed farm track. Maybe we've
all been kidnapped and are being taken to some secret rendezvous. No, no.
Stop it. Tell yourself: Everything will be OK.
We're in Russia for Britronica, an ambient-techno/electronic
music festival organised by British promoter NIck HObbs and greying
Russian music guru Artem Troitsky. The basic idea is to show young
Muscovites that there is life in the contemporary music scene beyond FM
rock and MTV, beyond the Nirvana and Sam Fox bootlegs stacked up in the
kiosks which line the dirty streets as constant reminders of the
burgeoning cult of 'free enterprise' - a relaxation on controls of sale
which has had some obvious and disastrous results. Not the least of these
is the growing power of the Russian mafia.
In less than a century, Russia has moved from chaos, through
rigidly enforced dictatorship, and back into chaos. In a recent poll for
the _Moscow Times_, people were asked who they thought was in control of
their country. The largest proportion, 24 percent, plumped for the mafia;
Yeltsin managed a mere 14 percent. It's the harsh reality of Mao's old
adage about power growing out of the barrel of a gun.
We drop off the band's gear at the hotel and most of us travel on
to a reception for Britronica being held at a central club called
Manhattan Express. It's in an anteroom of one of Moscow's largest
Western-style hotels, situated just off Red Square. There's a camera crew
outside filming us as we get off the bus. Inside it looks like any other
London/New York/Tokyo rip-off joint, one of those places that exists for
one purpose only: money.
And it's not exactly the techno underground either, since the
people inside are almost entirely mafioso in ill-fitting suits and
prostitutes in their hard-currency designer glad-rags. It costs $40 to
get in, so there aren't many punters around - who knows what they'll make
of Banco De Gaia, who are supposed to play later in the evening? The rest
of us don't bother to hang around and find out; half-an-hour after we
arrive, everyone is back on the bus.
FRIDAY, APRIL 15
In the grey morning light we take stock of our surroundings. The
hotel is basically an old Communist Party conference centre on the
outskirts of Moscow, a run-down collection of high-rise buildings parked
between two expanses of scrubby, litter strewn wasteland. At the end of
the road outside the gates is a Metro station surrounded by kisoks
selling vodka, Snickers bars, cheap lighters, cigarettes, keyrings, copies
of _Penthouse_ and German heavy metal magazines. Old women sell carrier
bags to those with no means of carting off their purchases; old men drink
vodka straight from the bottle; and kids saunter around showing off their
Metallica T-shirts. This is the face of late-20th Century Russia
After breakfast we discover that Richard 'Aphex Twin' James has
been taken to hospital. Travellers beware: if you start running a
temperature in Russia they'll take you in as a matter of course. We're
told he's being held at Hospital Number One. Trouble is, no-one seems to
know exactly where it is.
The rest of the crew head off for the Youth Palace, the main
concert venue and a classic piece of lumpen Soviet architecture which
contains an 1,800 seat concert hall where Youth Party members used to be
herded to offer up their allegiance to the State. At the afternoon
technical meeting everyone agrees it's a great venue, decorated with fake
marble, gold trim and heavy Revolutionary-style stage curtains.
Across town at a club called Pilot, major problems are emerging.
Ultramarine and Autechre are supposed to play there that night, only the
necessary PA equipment hasn't turned up and no-one seems to know when,
ior even if, it will arrive at all.
It's almost showtime at the Youth Palace, but Pilot remains in
silence. It's emerging that Sasha, the dark-haired, chain-smoking, ageing
Nureyev-alike promoter, is losing control of the situation. He's sent
Alex Patterson over to DJ at jet another club, called Jump. only for him
to arrive, walk down endless, badly-lit corridors and stand around for
two hours in a converted sports hall waiting for anyone to turn up. Even
when they do there's only 200 of them and the capacity exceeds 1,000.
Toby Marks(Banco De Gaia) is the next victim. AFter the fiasco of
the Manhattan Express 'reception' he finds himself roped in to play an
unsheduled gig alongside Alex. He's knackered, has had hardly anything to
eat and doesn't relish the thought of going on in a half-empty venue.
"If this was England I'd have walked long ago, but ovbiously
you want to play to the people here if you possibly can," he muses. "I had
a real go at Sasha last night, though it's difficult trying to have an
argument through an interpreter. You have to talk slowly when all you
really want to do is scream, 'You fucking bastard!'"
Dreadzone, meanwhile, have been taking it all in their stride.
Being one of the only dreads in town, bass-player Leo has attracted a
certain amount of curious attention. A girl he met at Manhattan Express
took him and keyboard player Dan Donovan along to an art 'happening' at
the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, which involved a guy dropping his trousers
in front of a painting by Van Gogh, crouching down and shitting into his
Back at the Youth Palace they dub it up for the 150-strong crowd,
who shout back their appreciation in the echoing hall. One wired Russian
guy is so moved that he passes one of our entourage a little package and
insists that it be given to Leo. Inside are five meticulously rolled
joints, his gesture of appreciation.
Most of the Russian kids we meet are similarly generous with what
they have, even if in practice they have very little. DJ Eric from Moscow
has lent his precious Technics turntables for use at the Youth Palace;
Alexei from St. Petersburg gives out little handfuls of dried mushrooms.
Eugene and Artur (also from St. Petersburg) want to start up a record
shop and label, only they don't have any money and the one means of
getting it, going in with the mafia, would put them right in over their
heads. and Vadim, who works on the Estonian national radio station in
Tallinn, DJ's on tape decks (there aren't any turntables to be had),
reads NME in the library at the British Council and spends every spare
penny (much to the chagrin of his hard-pressed mum) on the few records
which filter over from the West. He hands out a few tapes made up in the
Baltic by a guy called Marko Sula, sticks it on a rewired record player
and reel-to-reel tape deck. "It's got some really weird noises on it,"
comments Richard James, in recognition of its value. "Maybe I'll sign it
up for Rephlex."
Over at the Pilot there's no gig. Paul Oakenfold has been kicked
off the decks for not playing commercial tracks, so the Russian DJ takes
over and slips on the theme from _The Crying Game_.
As the mafia and their molls start pairing off to smooch on the
dancefloor, questions like "Why are we here?" are asked. But when Julian
Liberator (a Megadog regular from the Bedlam sound system posse) is
finally allowed to take over, clearing the floor for the Brits with one
sweep of The Rising Sons' burbling 'Afghan Acid', the question is turned
around: "What are *they* doing here?"
The main reason, of course, is money. In Moscow, life and vodka
are cheap; everything else you have to pay for. Tickets for the Youth
Palace cost around ten quid. Those who want to go on to one of the clubs
have to pay again. For most of the kids this is more than they'd have
spare in a month. The result: a club audience of rich assholes who'd
rather stumble around drunkenly to Culture Beat than really get their
Ian from Ultramarine is understandably disappointed. "It's the
sort of bill you could take anywhere in the world and have a success
with, but here there was also the chance to open people's ears and minds
a bit. So it's a shame it had to fall through because of a few missing
wires and boxes."
All, however, is not lost.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16
This is the big day. If nothing goes right now then the whole
thing is off. A bizarre arrangement has been worked out where by the
electronic bands at the Youth Palace will play last so that the drum kit
can be driven over to Pilot for Ultramarine. A nervous Sasha, who looks
like he's been down on his knees all night praying this works out, lights
another cigarette. Pilot is, naturally, run by the mafia, who paid him
for the right to hve the bands and DJ's play at their club. If he goes
any deeper in hock to them he could wind up in the Moskva River with
concrete blocks on his feet.
The other news is that Richard James is out of hospital. So, what
was it like? Did they give you any weird drugs?
"Yeah," comes the slurred reply. "It was really strange. Stranger than
acid. I'm still seeing double now."
Apparently they'd locked him in a room on his own, thinking he'd
infect the whole place if they let him wander around. There were bars on
the window, so no chance of escape that way. He'd just have to get well.
And to help him, the doctors would stride in, turn him over and stick a
needle in his arse.
The gig at the Youth Palace that night is a revelation. More
people have shown up than for the Friday show, word-of-mouth here proving
stronger than advertising, and they're not disappointed. Seefeel play the
gig of their careers, with the frustrations of the last few days
(guitarist Mark Clifford is a vegan - not a good position to be in in a
country where fresh fruit and vegetables are both scarce and wildly
expensive) paying off in a mind-warping display of sonic pyrotechincs.
"Typical that it had to be in Moscow in front of 300 people," he
opines later. But the crowd love every spiralling second of it,
especially the moments when Darren hoists his bass above his head and
stomps around the stage wearing an open-mouthed grimace of primal intensity.
Bark Psychosis pull off a similar feat, even managing to get a
few of the less hardy souls cowering behind their seats during their
brutal, white-noise opening. What these people can't see, however is the
developing drama backstage, where Richard, Ultramarine's tour manager,
has appeared looking like he's been led on one wild goose chase too many.
The upshot is that if the drum kit (currently onstage with Bark
Psychosis) isn't at the Pilot in two hours there won't be anly gig
happening there, period.
Around 1am, Ultramarine finally come on, and for a while it looks
as if everything is going to plan. Their easy-paced grooves go down well
with the dressed-up clientele (just as Banco De Gaia's had earlier at the
Youth Palace); the trouble starts once they've come offstage and Bruce
Gilbert starts to DJ. Suicide are not these punters' preferred choice of
Saturday night listening. Wires aren't only getting crossed now, they're
tying up in knots.
The Russian DJ comes over and tells Bruce enough is enough, then
watched hawkishly as Richard James puts on a record. Finally he's doing
what he's flown 2000-odd miles to do and, as a few inoffensive, vaguely
acidic noises are released from the PA, it looks as if we might have a
party on our hands. The management, however, have other ideas. A pair of
soldiers appear, Richard is manhandled from behind the turntables and the
Russian guy puts on East 17.
This news is transmitted upstairs to the dressing room. Alex
Patterson grabs his record box and barrels downstairs. As he approaches
the DJ booth more soldiers appear and start jostling him away. Being no
stranger to a bit of argy-bargy (he is a Chelsea supporter, after all),
Alex tells the guy to fuck off. The guy won't back down. Alex looks him
right in the eye. "Fuck you," he says. "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you..."
The DJ fades in 'The Crying Game' again. Our intrepid
photographer tries to take a picture. Things go rapidly from bad to very
It transpires that you're not allowed to take pictures of the
Russian Army. They don't like it. Especially not if they're jumped-up
squaddies hired as security by the mafia. The camera is passed back to
Paul from Ultramarine, who then hides it under a coat. Alex, making good
use of the distraction, picks up his record box and storms back up to the
Bruce is up there shaking his head and looking apologetic. "I'm
sorry Alex, this is all my fault."
"No,no. Come on, what the fuck are we here for?" Good question, Alex.
Someone's hammering on the door. A soldier walks in looking for
the camera. Silence, the way it always is when extreme antagonism's in
the air. It seems, though, that the possibility of there being blood on
the floor has been averted. One of the interpreters does some quick
talking and the soldier leaves. Time to crack another bottle of vodka and
wait for the coach.
Two hours later it arrives. Alex has donned a head-band and,
looking for all the world like a stocky version of the _Beano's_ Little
Plum, is handing out various atricles of Orb merchandise to various
delighted Russians. We down the last of our drinks and prepare for a
It's left for Paul from Ultramarine to deliver the final blow.
While their tour manager distracts the DJ's attention, he moves along the
back of the sound system pulling out all the connecting wires. With a
resounding pop! he finds the power cord, the sound in the club goes dead
and they dash for the coach pursued by an irate army crew, an equally
irate management and a gaggle of bemused onlookers. Smart.
We travel back to the hotel buzzing. A few of us go up to Rob
from Autechre's room to watch his TV throw hallucinogenic patterns up on
the screen. "It's techno, this telly," he says, admiringly. Apparently
they do this all the time at home in Manchester, in various altered
states of consciousness.
Around 6am, having drunk all there is to drink and talked out the
strangeness of the earlier confrontations, we head for our rooms to sleep.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17
Next morning the strangeness is still there. People are beginning
to go fuzzy at the edges. There's semi-humourous talk of a giant snake
following people around on the Metro. Character traits are changing - Tom
from Reload(whose partner Mark is the second person on the trip to be
hospitalised - no more gigs for them) has grown almost completely into
Baron Munchausen and twists the ends of his gravity-defying moustache
with renewed vigor. Words like 'weird' begin to seem pathetically
That night's gig at Pilot is written off. Bark Psychosis are
banned for being "too strange" and Toby doesn't want to risk Banco De
Gaia there after the previous night's fracas. The Youth Palace shows,
last minute hitches permitting, will go ahead as planned.
Autechre decide they're taking no prisoners. They come on in
near-total darkness and let the machines do the talking, the hard-edged
electronic rattles and squeaks smoothed out by rolling electro-style
beats. Lasers mounted behind the stage swing into life and start drawing
spirograph patterns on the darkened back wall; people climb down into the
camera pit in front of the stage and start flailing around. At just the
right moment, madness has arrived.
Ultramarine manage to increase the Russian's ecstasy to the point
where the venue's security guards position themselves on either side of
the stage and start swinging their batons. Most of the crew retire to the
dressing room for a bottle or two of 2 pound Russian champagne and a
chance to relax. This is denied by Artem Troitsky, who calls an impromptu
'conference' in the hallway to inform us that a keyboard has been taken
hostage by the stage electricians, understandably miffed at not being
paid. The offending item is later 'stolen' back out of the promoter's
car. Confusion reigns.
Standing outside the Youth Palace Richard James points to his
record box and says "There's bits of dead people in there. Look." He
opens the clasps so it falls open to the night air. There's nothing in it
but records. "Smell it," he insists. "It smells of dead people."
It does smell vaguely musty, like it's been stored in a cellar.
Is that what bits of dead people kept in a record box smell like? Nobody
knows, including Richard probably. He's warmed to the task though. By the
time we get on the bus he's talking dirty, telling us how he shagged his
mum and killed her. Then he remarks that it'd be smart if it plane
crashed on the way back "'cos i'd be the only one to survive and then i
could eat your limbs". He's smiling now.
It's suggested that we go back to the Pilot, where the management
want to apologise and offer us a banquet. The general consensus is that
if we went back to the Pilot we'd risk getting ourselves into some very
Eventually we make it back to the hotel and set up camp in a
lounge on the 17th floor. More drink is served. Suddenly one of the
red-cushioned chairs appears on the balcony. Members of Seefeel, BArk
Psychosis and Ultramarine are preparing it for a crash landing. Everyone
knows it's going over the edge, it's just another one of those inevitable
things, like gravity or not being able to find a post office in Moscow.
We all just stand there as it plummets. It's surprising how little sound
a chair makes hitting the ground when you're standing on the 17th floor.
Some more good ideas emerge - looking down the lift shafts,
trying to get out on the roof - under the spell of Russian vodka
everything has to be explored. The party doesn't break up until around
8.30am. We've gone this far, so why stop now?
MONDAY, APRIL 18
Time to go. Sasha has reappeared despite one of the
Russian-English liaison team's assureances that he would "dissappear into
thin air" as a result of his dealings with the mafia. In a world where
all certainties have collapsed, where the only things that can offer any
form of security are US dollars, it's hard to hold out much hope for his
On the plane home there's a sense of relief tinged with
disappointment. It's in the bag, evryone achieved more or less what they
set out to achieve, but as Nick Hobbs points out, "No-one out there will
try anything like this again for a very long time."
And that's not only their loss, but ours.