Posts Tagged ‘Renegade Soundwave’

Renegade Soundwave


There are three acts that shaped my beginnings at music production and behaviour towards the music industry. One of them is Renegade Soundwave. If you don’t know them, think of unique dub basslines, really cool deadpan style vocals and funky beats. Add really great sampling to that, and fantastic obscure yet nonchalant references and you’ll get an idea of how RSW is awesome. Just an idea. It’s got a laid-back vibe with an incredible energy that I miss in music and in life these days. It’s simple yet deep, it’s hard yet soft and like Martin Hannett would say, it’s fast yet slow. They’ve been around since 1986, and in 1994 they ruled the world to me, when Howyoudoin’ was released.


That was it, I thought. That was the record. In my naive mind that release was going to make them as big as they undoubtedly deserve(d). It was a complete album, with a couple of hit singles and without any compromise. All tracks were unique, different and most importantly GOOD. It also came with two booklets. The main inlay, giving not enough information, making me even more interested and curious. The second, as usual, their catalogue displayed over four pages using the Futura typeface. What’s not to like? The whole catalogue was obviously purchased over the following years, in several versions, including the japanese promos of HowYouDoin? and In Dub, the latter with a bonus disc.


They split shortly after Howyoudoin?, a year later or so. But until this day their music surprises me. Until this day I listen to them, and they still sound fresh. Until this day, they rule the world. Long live Renegade Soundwave.

Funky Alternatives


Funky Alternatives was one of my first CDs and my first international mail order. It came from Germany and for the following 10 years I received an illegible catalogue twice a year with hundreds and hundreds of random releases from different small labels sharing 24 pages. Since I already had all albums, my attention to New Order was then re-focused to singles and other releases and this record was purchased mainly because of Evil Dust, so far its only CD release  – an instrumental version of Angel Dust.  But there were also Cabaret Voltaire and Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft tracks on it, so it wasn’t a total gamble. When I finally got it, it made me discover the joys of England’s post-punk electro, with sensational bands like 23 Skidoo, 400 Blows, Quando Quango and Chris & Cosey, the latter being the first band whose music I downloaded on the internet years later. Legally by the way. Like the KLF tapes, this great record had very little information – and that sort of thing has always captured my interest. A sentence from James Brown and another from Arnold Shoenberg and a few thank-yous. Until this day a heavy influence and the cemented path to, one year later, discover and appreciate the great Renegade Soundwave.

This record also holds another story.

The aforementioned Evil Dust has an Islamic sample that always intrigued me. In 1992 if memory serves me right I heard the same sample on another track, Boneyween by the magnificent 808 State, just a small part, speed-up and equalised but I’ve always been good at spotting samples. Then I heard it on an Orb record. Years go by, and I hear it again on an Byrne and Eno track. For years it’s bugged me, not only the origin of this sample, but also the reason all these people decided to use it. Then in 1998 I’ve met Yusuf Islam – also known as Cat Stevens. I told him that I was a producer and that I would be interested in working with his music. I had his attention for a moment, and then I suggested we could sample some Islamic chants  – primarily influenced by this sample, but also because of my ignorance and the stupidity inherent of youth. He was really offended. He said that it shouldn’t be used for that, saying it was a prayer and not to be made fun of – which in my defence I never did. Anyways, until 2010 I never knew which sample that was – and now I know. I still have to ask around to know hy everybody sampled it, maybe there was an excess of stock in Manchester and London – or maybe everybody was listening to Brian Eno. Do you want to know about the sample? Send an email to asking me and I’ll tell you.