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Steve Bicknell – Awakening The Past


Steve Bicknell - Awakening The Past

Sometimes, as Mick Jagger‘s character Turner observed in Nic Roeg‘s Performance, when going too far, it’s necessary to go further back and faster. This Steve Bicknell does on Awakening The Past by revisiting three tracks from his Lost Recordings days and concocting a fresh one for good measure to see if the old ways are still worth it.

Drawn from the highly regarded Why? And For Whom? album, the nineties numbers certainly pack a compression-heavy punch. The low end and mid-ranges are dense and occasionally crunchy, while the hi-hats ride the rolling rhythms with an insistent, naggingly fricative relentlessness that almost audibly carves notches in the groove of time as they chip on by. Judicious use of phasing keeps the psychedelic wibble quotient on “Physical Life” to a briskly dealt curve that shapes the sequences in all available (possible six) dimensions.

It’s testament to the simplicity and effectiveness of the genre when done well and done often that it has held its shape and sureness of its own convictions so well over the last three decades or so of keeping smoke machines, strobes and big bass bins in one form of gainful employment. Nothing quite says acid like a squelchy bassline either, and the popping rocks of a 909 pushed and prodded into giving the dancefloor what it needs; and “Natural Vibrations” says it all, typical tribal techno title included. “Feeding The Mind’s Fears” is another judiciously chosen slice of ticking and tweaking, loose-limbed and liquidly propelled in a accreting swirl of precision-cut and delightfully sinuous polyrhythms

And so to the new track, which juxtaposes noise-filled frenzy alongside the relatively restrained mood and movement of the rest of the EP. “Conscious Awakening” sounds like there’s an alarm clock jammed into rapidfire life, its urgent bleeping aggravating and stirring up an e’d-up hornets nest of synthesis and held-back percussive hits that are eventually unleashed into a doof-doof-doof-doof thud that soon goes astray. Just how a crowd would work with this one would be interesting to see, the shivery atonal brightness perhaps triggering some sort of Terpsichorean overload along the way.


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