Hi-Five: Hercules & Love Affair's Favorite Bits of Industrial and New Beat
- Words: Jay Donaldson
Hercules & Love Affair's self-titled debut was essentially declared a contemporary classic upon its arrival in 2008, and the group's subsequent albums, Blue Songs and the freshly released The Feast of the Broken Heart, have entrenched the ever-evolving outfit as one of the last true bastions of New York's resolutely eclectic '90s club scene. From the beginning, Hercules & Love Affair has flown the flag for rave-pop and disco-tinged house, but the latest album finds the group exploring what founder Andy Butler describes as "fiery, rough, tough, and ragged" sounds, adding, "I didn't want polite, I wanted aggressive." Given that, his contribution to our Hi-Five series is far less surprising than one might assume. Instead of disco darlings and dancefloor divas, Butler has elected to mine some darker musical territory, and has come up with a rather idiosyncratic selection of industrial/new beat live-performance clips from the depths of YouTube.
Front 242 "Controversy Between"
This track was on the original tracklist for my !K7 compilation that came out in 2012, a more melodic version of the Front 242 that came later. Geography [Front 242's debut album] was a like a tougher Kraftwerk at time. I have a lot of respect for them.
Meat Beat Manifesto "Live in Nighttown 1989"
Meat Beat Manifesto was a huge influence on me. My first piece of vinyl that I was playing out was Helter Skelter, with a song I did not know the significance of on the b-side called "Radio Babylon." On the front cover of the 12" was a picture of Jack [Dangers] and Marcus, the group's dancer, who is interviewed in this clip. This collaboration of modern dance/ballet and dance music has inspired me to this day, most recently this year with the [Hercules & Love Affair] video for "I Tried to Talk to You."
Liaisons Dangereuses "Los Niños del Parque"
The first time I heard this track was in a DJ set from Mark Farina I had recorded on a cassette tape from 1994 or something. That was my first clue that it was a Chi-town classic. Little did I know at the time that Mark Farina originally started as an industrial DJ in Chicago.
Psychic TV "Black"
Genesis P-Orridge as a musical and artistic figure has definitely had a big impact on me personally as an artist. My first exposure to Genesis' ethos came through participants in a short-lived [collective] called TOPY [Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth], who were the most extreme and rebellious of the "club kids" I knew. Subversion was the way. This clip is a highly danceable Psychic TV moment, along the lines of the Sugardog productions at the time, which I was a fan of as a teenager.
Consolidated "America Number One"
Of course, I had to include my friend and longtime bandmate/co-producer Mark Pistel's project Consolidated in this list. They were seriously political, and at a time when I was just coming out of the closet, seeing their music videos on MTV talking about equality and tolerance was really what I needed. Their scathing criticisms of America and late-stage capitalism kind of dictated my political leanings for life. Their sampling techniques were major too.
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