The ‘3PeaceSweetz’ project returns on MPF this Friday, with a love letter to ‘90s London and the Pirate Radio stations that broadcasted the sound of London’s Underground dance music scene…
Anyone with a car stereo in London in the early 90s would be familiar with the sudden bursts of crackle and static, as mainstream FM broadcasts were drowned out by intermittent bursts of breakbeats that offered a window into a culture of underground dance music that spoke for London’s youth better than any of the commercial stations could ever hope to.
‘Pirate’ radio stations proliferated the tower blocks of inner city London, scattered across the metropolis.
It was the sound of the estates, delivered on dub plates and white labels by local DJs. The likes of Weekend Rush – eulogised in the album’s title – Kool FM, Don FM, Dream FM and Energy, all squeezed into the FM dial, broadcasting the latest Jungle, Hardcore and Garage tunes to an eager audience, alienated by mainstream dance music.
It’s an era I remember vividly, having spent many a lost Sunday night taping the latest Dj Brockie set ready for the bus journey into school the next day.
While other kids traded football stickers in the playground, I traded mix-tapes; too young to attend raves in person until long after the early romance of the Jungle scene had faded into commercial banality. But for a while, it felt like something special was happening, and the Pirate Radio stations were like ‘outlaws’ offering something more authentic than the latest pop-house hit.
It’s an era and energy that we have tapped into with our latest ‘3 Peace Sweetz’ project: Weekend Rush, which features beautiful artwork by Zer0 れい.
I should declare an interest at this point… as one third of 3PS – along with Jay and Thom, from Donor Lens.
One of the most exciting aspects of Vaporwave is how well it lends itself to concept albums, and the ability to harness nostalgia for the purpose of telling a story about the past.
As UK based producers we have a cultural heritage that is unique to people from these shores – particularly having grown up without the great homogenising power of the internet.
With ‘Weekend Rush’, we have attempted to recreate the energy of ‘90s London, with a collection of tracks that encapsulate the sounds of rave on the radio; inspired by those illegal transmissions and channelling a collective nostalgia for the 90s.
We place a refracted lens on the era, blending it with references to 21st Century internet culture – in many ways the spiritual successor to pirate radio. It’s Vapor(Rave) in thought and deed.
*THE SOUND OF UNDERGROUND LONDON*
While INNERSENSE focused on a fictional rave that took place in London, the new album shifts its attention from the raves themselves to the radio and features eleven tracks which encompass the diverse sound of early 90s underground dance culture, with a modern Vaporwave twist.
We’ve got two exclusive previews for FutureSounds readers from the album, which releases on Friday at 5pm on MPF.
‘Oh My Darlin’ is laced with rave stabs and fragmented breaks, augmented by a Ragga sample that calls back to the Junglist sound of early pioneers from the Suburban Base stable.
Anyone who played wipeout will be familiar with the main hook from ’Twistin my Watermelons (Man)’, which recalls Surkit’s Detroit Techno cut ‘Reel by Real’, itself famously sampled by LTJ Bukem in 1993.
‘B Reel’, the lead single from the album, takes ‘intelligent drum and bass’ into post-internet culture, offering an alternate take on Daniel Lopatin’s Ecco Jam; an Ecco Break, if you will. It features on the Nobody Here compilation, ‘Eccos of the Past’.
*LIVE ALBUM PREMIERE – THURSDAY*
We’ll be hosting a ‘live’ premiere of Weekend Rush on the MPF YouTube channel this Thursday at 10pm UK.
You can find out more and bookmark the stream HERE.
It features a vinyl mix that I put together using ‘lathe’ cuts of the album tracks, along with visuals by Jay on his eyesy video synthesiser. The aim was to repackage the album as an authentic lost tape from the era. Locked on, tuned in. It’s the sound of the Weekend Rush.
At this point I’d like to thank the Cardiff-based ‘Vinyl Art Co.’ – they produce some of the best lathe cuts in the game, and do some amazing work with picture discs too.
*ALBUM RELEASE DETAILS*
‘Weekend Rush’ releases on Friday at 5pm UK on My Pet Flamingo.
It will be available on vinyl, cassette and digital formats, including streaming on all major platforms.
The digital and cassette versions of the album will also include the ‘mixed’ version of the album. Recorded on two Technics 1210s using white label ‘lathe cuts’ of the tracks, ‘Weekend Rush’ is repackaged to present the album as an authentic ‘Pirate Radio’ experience; complete with crackle and static. A window into the world of the (semi)fictional Sweetz FM.
Written by Enzo Van Baelen