With Orwell's year just passed and being the space between Learning To Cope With Cowardice and As The Veneer Of Democracy Starts to Fade, Mark Stewart re - Mafia'd. Mark and Adrian Sherwood being the two constants, engaged with Furious Five - Sugarhill Gang musicians Keith le Blanc, Doug Wimbish and Skip McDonald. The result pushed Veneer to the extremes of mutant bastardised industrial dub electro hip hop, whilst keeping Sherwood's panned to eternal limits and EQ'd to fuck levels of Learning to cope....
Without a doubt this was an anti-establishment album, you'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to work that one out, (there was a lot of this going on, not just with On-U and Mark Stewart) but I'm not going to discuss the politics of this album...this is about never hearing a musical genre like this before (1985) and never hearing production techniques like this, in this manner....the politics (although important) are secondary.
We first got an inkling of direction when the Myths, Instructions compilation album came out in Oct 84 with The Wrong Name and The Wrong Number track.....12 minutes of absolutely beat cut up machine gun drum sample/loop mayhem which technically was an introduction to Veneer.
We are 6 years on from the advent of Hip Hop, take that technique, a studio rig of more effects racks than you could ever imagine. Guitar licks that would become the staple for Tackhead/Fats Comet. Funky bass and a drummer that was more like a drum machine, infact..half human half drum machine.....at times there are three records playing and it's still good....amazing...what should you be listening to...play it again, play it all back and listen to something new each time.
Ofcourse, CD's were still in their infancy (probably about 2 or 3 years old), so Mute Records only released this on vinyl......on first listening and reeling from shock, there was a constant need to keep checking the stylus for fluff...(anyone buying the album at this time will confirm this)...one of the extreme techniques of Sherwood was to boost the eq's to min and max...infact..all dials and effects were maxed...it's the sort of thing a 7 year old would have done if confronted with that amount of dials, knobs and sliders...your own sonic spaceship. There has been a lot written about producers using the studio as a tool...Eno, Plank etc....it gets boring after a while, because if you know your music, you know that the studio IS a tool.....but Adrian Sherwood took this to the limit...he'd been doing it with dub for about 6 or 7 years....he was a master experimenter and his work after this album took him to being the person you went to if you wanted an ON-U Sound Science Fiction Dance Hall remix....those repetitive stuttered beats so far up in the mix.....
It took another 3 years for Mute to release this album on CD.....oh why bother?...the shittiest piece of shit shit to the point that diarrohea would sound better....believe it or not...to this date it's not been remastered...I'm not even aware of a decent digital non physical copy available commercially.
Further Mark Stewart albums, up until 95 still utilised Adrian's unique and extreme production values and some of that returned in 2012's Exorcism of Envy. Ofcourse, the whole ON-U Sound is an incestuous EFX laden dub trip.....check out Tackhead and Fats Comet........and don't forget to check out my forthcoming Blog Post: Trevor Jackson Presents: Science Fiction Dancehall Classics
Only one person has managed to perform a hi res rip of Veneer from vinyl: Everything Starts With An A
Be warned...links only remain for 2 weeks on this blog...now, if you really want to be amazed by this masterpiece, leave a message and I can sort you out the above hi res Flac which no other digital copy can simulate. Direct from vinyl with no compression. (if you're going to listen back to it on iTunes...you can't, it won't, forget it..no point...you've been warned)...if you want to discuss DRM or copyright with me...feel free
What's my mission now?