The first Trackman EP went out on Ideal Trax in 1995, a six-track, two-vinyl EP spanning trippy, classic acid cuts, Detroit and Chicago influences, Sheffield Bleep and Manchester Hacienda rave era overtones—many of which still get played out regularly by top-tier selectors today.
The EP has now been lovingly remastered and re-issued on Function's Infrastructure label, with a bonus track Paradise included, which featured later on the 1996 "Don’t Stop" EP—also a classic in it’s own right.
Ahead of the EP's September 18 release, XLR8R spoke exclusively with Mark Archer and Function to learn more about the release, with snippets available to stream below.
Back in 1995 when these tracks were originally released, what was the energy? What was your inspiration for these tracks?
In 1995 I'd kind of lost touch with the techno scene having gone headlong into the whole UK hardcore thing with Altern 8 and then had been working more of a US house sound with the Slo Moshun project and Dansa records alongside Danny Taurus—so when Neil Macey asked me to record some tracks for the first release on the label I wasn't totally sure what he wanted. I asked for a description of the style that he wanted rather than hearing anything and being influenced that way—he said it was sort of techno with housey drums and jacking acid house so that's just what I did.
How do you think the significance of these tracks, and their impact is able to adapt to techno in 2015?
Techno has and always will (hopefully) be timeless—a music of the future. A lot of it doesn't date unless it's made for the now. On the odd occasion I've been to techno events I've always heard old tracks dropped in the middle of sets to great effect and hopefully the reissue of the Trackman double-pack will be received in the same way by people who know it and possibly seen as something new by people who have never heard it before.
I was actually recently asked if I was an up and coming breaks/fidget DJ after playing a set of old hardcore classics by someone who was too young to have been born when the tracks were made.
What sparked your decision to re-release Trackman's double-EP from 1995? What significance does this record have to you and your musical career?
I met Mark for the first time at a gig in Edinburgh in 2011 and we quickly connected. We were at the hotel before the show talking about his early days as Nexus 21 and Altern 8 with Chris Peat and his later solo work as Trackman.
Nexus 21 tracks like Self-Hypnosis and Real Love; and Altern 8 tracks like Move My Body, Frequency, Armageddon and Infiltrate 202 had a huge impact on me growing up, circa '90-'92. They were a real sign of the times. Then a few years later Surgeon turned me on to the Trackman double pack—both on Ideal Trax—and said it was one of the guys from Altern 8. I was totally blown away by the record because it was more straight, acid-house, techno and bass and bleep oriented, which I think has helped the record remain timeless. But you can still hear Nexus 21 and Altern 8 in there.
Anyway, as we got into talking, I asked about the Trackman double-pack, he mentioned that he still had all of the original tapes and got the rights back. I asked if he would be up for reissuing it and said he was up for it. It took a while to get it out but we're finally here and think it's the perfect time. The record sounds as fresh as ever and I love how we've added Paradise to the release. More than anything though, Mark's such a lovely guy and I'm such a huge fan—we're honored to be giving the record a second release.