Meat Beat Manifesto

Subliminal Cultural Recycling

"I've never been as excited with music as I am now since 1988/89" Jack Dangers' muffled voice tells me down the satellite link up between here and San Francisco. It has been a long time between albums for Meat Beat Manifesto - Satyricon, their last, was back in 1992 - and in the interim, Jack Dangers has relocated from England to Amerikkka, gotten married, done production work on numerous other bands' albums, notably Consolidated's Business Of Punishment, and Emergency Broadcast Network's Telecommunication Breakdown and a plethora of remixes. Best known for a single in 1990, Radio Babylon, Meat Beat Manifesto were the heads behind the much-sampled submarine 'ping' on Future Sound Of London's Papua New Guinea for which the Radio Babylon bassline was also sampled. A precursor to the current drum'n'bass sounds, Radio Babylon sounds as fresh today as it did six years ago. Now, with a new burst of energy brought about by his move to San Francisco, Dangers has released a double album, Subliminal Sandwich, and is setting about establishing a record label of his own to push some of the Bay Area's freshest sounds.

"Amerikka is totally different to England and Europe. There seems to be a much bigger divide between the middle class and working classes and that's really apparent. In the downtown areas you have massive opulence and the excesses of capitalism and a few blocks away slums and ghettos, then the terribly lax gun laws, the highly controlled media, and censorship. The size of things in Amerikkka is massive, and its much more-in-your-face. With the scary paranoia feeling of the culture you have something to work off . . . . its been very inspiring moving here and in a way I feel as if I've discovered music again . . . . there is a massive supply of vinyl here dating right back which you can pick up very cheaply, for twenty-five cents, whereas in Europe, where vinyl completely ran out in the early Eighties, you'd be lucky to get the same stuff for under a hundred quid. I think I have opened up to whole new worlds of music which I may never have had the chance to hear otherwise in England simply because there'd be one copy floating around and if someone else picked it up it'd be gone for ever or re-issued at twenty pounds on CD. So you have this big underground second-hand vinyl culture especially in the Bay Area, every three months at the markets you can pick up some unbelievable gems".

Some of these gems have popped up in Meat Beat's eclectic sampling that is one of the highlights of their diverse sound. From public service announcements to ragtime beats, kitsch advertisements to moog lines, Dangers explains the appeal of the sampler. "I think a lot of people got into a lot of different types of music because they owned a sampler and they'd go out and buy allsorts of strange records in order to sample them . . . . I feel it is all part of the postmodernist movement that has been rolling since the early Eighties creating new art from old art in advertising, architecture and music as well, something you just didn't have in the early Seventies. I mean, hip hop is 'old' music, Jesus And Mary Chain doing Velvet Underground, it seems to go in fifteen year cycles. All this 'punk' stuff coming out now, if you are sixteen years old you would have missed all the real action . . . . in some ways it is wrapped up by marketers and big companies but I also feel that it is just part of the end of the century culture and it seems to happen every century like the Renaissance revival in the late 19th century". End of the century culture or not, recycled culture treads a fine line between radicalism and conservatism - the creation of new cultural hybrids and the discovery of hidden alternative histories or simply the reproduction of outdated cultural values and a desire to return to a mythical 'golden age'.

Subliminal Sandwich, spread over two ceedees, continues Meat Beat's exploration of breakbeats. Slowed down hip hop and funk loops underpin Dangers' dub basslines, whilst elsewhere psuedo-junglist rhythms crash together with electro samples. For such a seminal influence on early English breakbeat especially of the dark variety, Meat Beat has steered slightly away from the probably more commercially successful route of drum'n'bass. "Britain was always really good at grabbing hold of American music and turning it upside down and sending it back, the Rolling Stones are a good example, and now with drum'n'bass emerging from US hip hop being imported into Amerikka it is happening again . . . . drum'n'bass is huge over here in San Francisco, and I'm working on a project with some friends over here for my new label. Otherwise we should have another album out in nine months or so, and, possibly another Australian tour . . . . the one in the railway workshop in Sydney was one of my all time favourites (Carnival Of The Mind)".

Subliminal Sandwich is out now through Shock Records. Two singles Transmission and Asbestos Lead Asbestos which features remixes by Luke Vibert as Plug, are also out and about, along with an extensive back catalogue including Radio Babylon on the Versions Galore EP.

Yellow Peril

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