Each generation has a select few moments where disparate sounds and cultures coalesce to form a thing greater than the sum of its parts - for UK kids in the early 90's, this moment was the merging of house, techno, hiphop and reggae into early hardcore / jungle. Taking place in massive parties, club events and through pirate radio, the video documentation left over from this scene is a mishmash of various sources: Low-fi camera footage, promo videos made by rave organizations, occasional TV documentaries, and a select few music videos from when a song managed to break through to Top of the Pops / MTV. My first instinct when picking through these sources for a Network Awesome show was to go with the "coolest", most most obscure and low-fi footage. After all, my site blogtotheoldskool tries to all-but-ignore the most famous tunes of the era, going under the assumption that most readers have heard those tracks a million times before. Due to an endless wave of "revivals" via remixes, sampling, and homogenous "best of" compilations, it seems as if the top 15-30 tracks in oldskool get continually recycled, leading to a certain degree of overexposure and souring more seasoned fans on the most popular tracks (to the point where sets full of them are derisively referred to as "anthem bashing" sets).
Still, going through this underground footage made me realize that an hour straight of single camera clips of gurning teens writhing around to a barely audible-thud noise might not make the most compelling viewing for the average Network Awesome viewer. I certainly love watching videos like that... but I also have 2500 oldskool records neatly organized in a shelving unit in my living room, and I've spent countless hours digging through record store basements trying to unearth grimy low-fi, forgotten oldskool jams.
In contrast, going back over the music videos for some well known "anthems" has made me appreciate how fun those are. In the case of the videos featured here, even if I've heard the tunes a million times before, the addition of video manages to breathe some life into even the most overplayed tracks. This is despite the fact that the elements making up these music videos are modest at best : a dash of amateur claymation here, a tad of ultra-crude computer graphics there, loads of ridiculous rave dancing EVERYWHERE. However, much in the same way that a low-fi piano house sample, hip-hop breakbeat and ragga bassline can be diced together and transformed into a spine-tinglingly great hardcore tune, these video elements all end up cut together to form some really energetic, fun, and engaging video.
Yes, this Network Awesome show is a bit of an "anthem bashing" session - great for most people who don't have tons of background in hardcore/jungle, or who knew the tunes way-back-when but hasn't heard them in years - but admittedly familiar for more seasoned veterans who have already dug around on youtube looking for classic footage. I've tried to accomodate even those veterans by throwing in a few curveballs as well: "strictly for lulz" intro and outro snippets, culled from a children's video and a hilarious mid '90s US rave movie respectively. A great live PA by the wicked but lesser-known hardcore producers BRAINSTORM CREW. And a hip-hop track by Silver Bullet, which, while not strictly hardcore, highlights the stylistic overlap between early 90's UK hardcore hip-hop and early 90's uk hardcore/jungle. All in all, a collection of videos which I hope is interesting and fun viewing for both oldskool neophytes and nerds alike. Enjoy!
Pete Dev/Null owns a lot of records. Like, a LOT of records. Sometimes he brings these records to Boston clubs and DJs them. Sometimes on his own and sometimes as part of local DJ Crews Hearthrob and Thunderdome. Sometimes he samples tiny bits of these records and transforms them into needleslly overwrought splatterbreak tracks, as on his "E-Boyz Revenge" EP (2004, Violent Turd/Tigerbeat6) "Lazer Thrash" CD (Cock Rock Disco 2007) or "Shards of Rhythm" EP (Dross:tik 2010). Often though, he just sits around his apartment spinning these old records, occasionally ripping tunes for his site blogtotheoldskool, and searching for tracks he might have missed.