‘THE FUTURE OF YESTERDAY’ – 1998 PLAYLIST BY LORNA CLARKSON
As part of our ‘The Future of Yesterday’ theme for EMC 2018, we’re bringing you curated playlists paying homage to some of the golden years in electronic and dance music from the last 4 decades – 1978; 1988; 1998; 2008 and 2018.
First up is DJ, music director, journalist, radio host, & event programmer Lorna Clarkson who has put together a playlist of her favourite electronic songs from 1998. Find out what these tracks mean to her plus read some of her favourite moments from that year.
- Tell us about the playlist, why do these tracks stand out for you?
Mood is at the heart of music for me so I’ve always been drawn to tracks that have beautiful subtlety, intricate complexity or ballsy emotion. And that also means I have a pretty eclectic palette hence the selection above.
1998 was an interesting year because there was a lot of electronic music nudging into the mainstream, especially in the downtempo sphere. Air blew up with their debut album Moon Safari, Massive Attack collaborated with 4AD legend Liz Fraser from the Cocteau Twins on Teardrop, Leila dropped her superbly twisted Like Weather album on Rephlex, and lets not forget that little duo Boards of Canada who revitalised the electronica movement for the post-rave generation with their debut album Music Has The Right To Children.
1998 was also the year that house music got its soul back thanks to a new wave of Detroit producers with a deeper feel for jazz and disco than their Detroit techno forefathers. Theo Parrish and Moodymann reconnected DJs – like me – with the feel and groove of live instruments, even though they were sampled and reconstructed through modern technology. And on the other side of the pond, producers like Herbert and Ian Pooley, were on a parallel trajectory albeit guided by their own predilections; sampling household noises (Herbert) and helping to define a the new broken beat movement (Ian Pooley with Jazzanova).
Electro and Jungle were also huge passions for me during this time so Italian producer Anthony Rother makes an appearance here with his incredible Red Light District and although drum ’n’ bass wasn’t in its hey day, Bad Company’s The Nine was a total stand out.
Dub has always underpinned the music I was – and still am – drawn to. I love the bass-heavy, rhythmic, body rumbling result when dub vibrations and house music sensibilities are merged by an experienced and sensitive hand. And no-one does this better in my opinion than Mark Ernestus & Moritz von Oswald, otherwise known as Basic Channel, or in this case, Round Four. Similarly the Eight Miles High Dub of Lovelee Dae by Blaze is one of the most joyous tracks I have ever heard. I love playing this on a big festival sound system. Its so stripped back that the soulfulness of the lyrics have enough space to resonate – both in the power of the basslines, but also the message that they carry.
Beastie Boys, Stardust and Verve are in there because they are just great pop songs! What else is there to say….
- What were you doing in 1998?
In 1998 I was living in London having the best and hardest time of my life. London is a bitch but you can’t help but love her for her tough love attitude. I was working by day as a music PR for some of the best record labels at the time. Our company was called The Italian Job and myself and my red headed Italian boss, Alessandra, managed all the music press for labels including R&S, PIAS, Solid, F Communications, Clear, Hydrogen Dukebox, and many more. You have to work for passion rather than a pay-packet in the music industry but at that time there were heaps of magazine, and club, and industry gigs that came as part of the package so my social life was rich. I was also DJing regularly at some of the best clubs in London – Mass, 333 Club, etc – so was having a lot of fun. I also had a great boyfriend at the time who introduced me to reggae and dub as well as a tonne of electro and great indie music. He was a writer for Melody Maker so music was in constant and rich supply.
- Could you dig into your memory bank and share with us one of your most memorable electronic music experiencesfrom 1998?
1998 saw Metalheadz wind up at Bluenote in Hoxton Square. This was one of my favourite clubs while I lived in London, not only because I loved the stripped back basement vibe, but Metalheadz was a night where pretensions were left at the door and I could rock up on my own, dance for hours, then walk back to South London when it closed (because I always missed the last tube). The crowd was there to be body slammed by the beats and lifted up by the energy before we had to face another Monday morning at work.
- What do you think electronic music culture and/or business in 2018 could learn from electronic music culture and/or business in 1998?
Be present. The party isn’t happening at the other end of a tweet or a post or a text.
You can also catch Lorna speaking at this years EMC. Tickets available here.