Friday, 30 December 2016

Back in time with Blockhouse Recordings

Words are taken from Blockhouse Recordings Soundcloud page:

" In the late 80's early 90's East London had some amazing breakbeat factories. This vinyl collection was recorded at the Blockhouse Recording Studio (est: 1987-1994) owned by producer Jezz Wright. Rare and deleted releases.

Blockhouse Recording Studio started out in a terrace house in Leytonstone 1987. Within a month of its launch the diary was fully booked. In 1989 it moved to Stratford Workshops, London E15 to purpose built premises where the adventures continued. The shutters came down for the last time in 1994 but not before a wealth of talent had passed through and left their mark. This is their story - told through the many vinyl releases that made an impression in such a short space of time. Whilst it’s true that Blockhouse never specialised in just one genre of music, a lot of breakbeat DJ’s & artists came here to learn, and craft their skills in the art of music production.

I’ve heard many question the narrow formulaic nature of breakbeat hardcore, hip hop or sub-genre associated with the rave era. Yet Punk, Ska or BritPop is generally applauded – genres of music that were equally formatted and repetitive in nature. The fact is, no-one can deny the influence UK rave culture has had on every aspect of today's mainstream music and media. Just like punk, it came along at exactly the right time: the country was in recession, unemployment was high, the music industry/charts were a joke and the youth of that day felt disenfranchised! The rave scene, with its musical anarchy and entrepreneurial spirit, gave rise to a new generation that questioned the status quo and in doing so, reinvented pop culture. It was probably the last time a youth movement embraced music as a medium for social change & influence.

I came across my Discogs listing a couple of years ago that various people had compiled - which inspired me to finally lift the lid on my box of vinyl and find a suitable USB turntable to transfer the recordings. Many of the recordings on YouTube were pretty poor (substandard/scratched vinyl - basically the pressings weren't meant to last 20 years or so) I hadn’t heard many of these trax since moving on to pasture new in ’94 - these tunes were meant for a brief moment in time and for a few - it's a testimony to their legacy that their infludence continues.

These tracks might sound a bit primitive to you now…. Bit like those old Punk recordings: raw, unmixed, edgy, even a bit unhinged BUT you have to remember the spirit in which they were made and that these tracks were produced without PC’s. There was no internet, no plug-ins, loop libraries or automatic BPM counters. All were recorded onto multi-track tape ('tape - what’s that?’ asks little Jimmy) Sample time and quality was er… ‘limited’ and most importantly studio time cost artists money! So these tracks HAD to be produced quickly – without pretension and with attitude. Loops were often shared, as was my piano sound, orchestrations & fingers - so forgive some similarities - every producer/engineer gives a little piece of themselves and stamps their mark. (whether intended, rewarded or not)

So a big thanks to all who passed by - some amazing memories and artists. Unfortunately some vinyl is too damaged for me to put on here (I'll restore what I can)and I don't have copies of all the releases that came from the studio.

Finally, I've only put the breakbeat tracks on here - So, enjoy the vinyl and if you’ve got a Blockhouse breakbeat recording that's not on here - upload and I'll link to it. (Other recordings of other genres will need to wait for another time"


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