Clockwise from main: Mark Jones, Jaques Lu Cont, The Visitor and Themroc
Wall of Sound might be old in dance music terms but they’re still cranking out the quality tunes. Here’s how. Words: Mark Robertson
had no idea this would last] exclaiins Wall ol' Sound
supremo Mark Jones. ‘()ur remit was to sell records
some school kid would be proud to own and I think we've managed that.‘
A simple enottgh plan. perhaps. but things were \er) diI‘I‘erent back in the l‘ar-I'lung decade that was the 90s. In the come-down ol~ the raw age. clubbing was dri\en underground again and the music. as opposed to the tabloid headlines. took centre stage. Also. man) ol' the musical divisions we etttplo} lodtt) were in their most embryonic stages: drtnn ck bass was still a bastardisation of hardcore and breakbeat. trip hop and garage w crc all inerer twinkles in some programmer’s 808.
A quick glance down the track listing for the label's annitersar) compilation (lift/iv Il'ul/ )ou'll see Jones is justified in his claims: Propellerheads. Blak 'l‘wang. the Wisegtiys. the Bees. loot Woman and Royk‘sopp all contribtttc tracks to a label which I'I\ttl.\ most lol‘ consistency and qualit}.
While Junior Btws ()wn. .\lo'Wa.\. Rephlex. Warp and Ninja 'l‘tme were all turning heads with their burgeoning rosters. Mark Jones and Marc Lessner were taking their first I‘ledgling steps "l‘here wasn't an) pre-concehed plan. I was doing \isuals at clubs and met Marc ll.essner| who had a table selling record in clubs. We heard all this great music which was struggling for decent distribution and we thought. "wh_\ not do it ourselxes'.’" So we did.'
The result was (iirt' 't'm lz'nuug/i l)()/)t. a true document of what was happening musicth at that time. It had contributions Irom Kruder and Dortmeister. Howie B and the Wisegtt}s among others. and it set a standard that Jones and Lessner prelt) much kept tip
26 THE LIST f 1.: A...;
consistentl) throughout the l‘ollow ing decade.
The thread connecting the Wall ol' Sound back catalogue is a celebrator) spirit: their house st}lc in presentation is notieeabl) less wilIti||_\ c\clttsi\c and obscure. something that has been the downl'all ol' man} other labels I'octtssed on cool rather than tltialit). This is something i‘clilccti\e in Jones who. l'or someone who's been in the inusic business Ior l5 )ears. remains a ball or kinesis. brimming with enthusiasm.
:\Iid thc_\'\c littd their littll' \llitl‘e til. \tleeess \ltH‘lL‘s [00. There “its the earl} l-lltslI Ul- c\cilcment t)\el‘ it school kid called Stuart l’rice who. as Jaques l.tI (‘ont and Les Rli_\thmes l)igita|es. pre-einptetl the whole Stls rexixal thing b_\ haxing \ik Kcrshaw guesting on his debut album. Said school kid is now entrusted with the trajector) ol‘ Madonna’s musical career. whose l)i'owncd World tour he llIlIsledll} directed. .'\I'ter l.R|) came l’ropellerhead's gauging tip with legcndar) di\a Shirle} Bitsse) on ‘llistor) Repeating' and the WiscgtI} s' assault
on the charts with '()oh la la. Willi a
‘Our modest dip in I'ortunes post-big heat
things were shaken tip when some tapes
to l‘l’tilll Ntrt'wu) ttl't't\ ed on .ltIlI'cN. desk. some school . _
. was not the bass. as in the lrequenc). bttt k'd the base elements. Its so blood} simple proud to own’
‘I heard ‘liple' and what struck me
there's nothing going on in it apart li'ottt a big lat beat and a rill and when l lirst heard it I knew it had to be a Wall ol‘ Sotmd record and I‘m so proud that it is.‘ And so he should be. Rn} ksopp's debut albtnn. .llt'lot/i MI. was showered with acclaim and became the soundtrack to 3003.
.-\s a lilting celebration. laces old and new come together l‘or this head to head with Slam with 'l‘hernroc. the Visitor and Jaques l.ti ('ont prm iding more e\ idencc to suggest Wall ol' Sound w ill be here a l'urthcr ten _\ears I'rom now.
Wall of Sound 10th Birthday tour is at the Arches, Glasgow, Sat 9 Aug, Zoot Woman play King Tut’s, Glasgow, Sat 9 Aug.
The wrest c/t/t) news
RADIO MAGNETIC ARE AGAIN broadcasting some amazing exclusives over August. The Live Sessions schedule includes Breakestra. 13 August. Little Roy. 20 August and Joseph Malik, 27 August. all at 2pm. with even more to come throughout the rest of the year. Check www.radiomagnetic.com to catch the action.
Join the Jelly Lab
PRESSURE lS MOVING BACK to its three room format come 26 September and to mark the fact they have a shit hot line- up to celebrate. Felix da Housekat. Layo & Bushwacka and Marco Carola join Slam for the session.