Saturday Night Coming Up

Posting Silence by Delerium the other week had these old knees yearning for the days when I was young and thin enough to go clubbing, so I started digging out some of the old tunes I used to love hearing when I was out.

I realised – or, rather, I recalled, as I must have noticed this at the time – that often the crowd pleasing moment of any tune was the breakdown; that part of a club record where it suddenly goes quiet before it all either comes crashing back in again, or the bpm is reintroduced, increased in tempo along with the decibels until it all…er…comes crashing back in again.

I have never felt so old as I just did trying to explain that, when I could have just said “You know: the quiet bit about 2/3 of the way through”.

Anyway, I say ‘I must have noticed this at the time’ because I once bought one of those “100 Best Anthems…Ever…!” type compilation albums, only this one was called something like “The Greatest Trance Breakdowns….Ever..!”

Sadly, it was a document of hypnotist shows which had gone wrong, but it was awful.

Not because the tune selection was poor, nor was the mixing so bad as to make one of Friday Night Music Club mixes sound like John Digweed had done. Oh no.

It was so awful because all you got from each tune was the breakdown section; no sooner had one finished, then it got mixed into the build-up to the next. All context, all life, was sucked out of each and every one.

Thankfully, I was unable to locate the CD in question. I think I may have skimmed it into a lake so that it never accosted my ears again.

When I first started writing this now-resurrected series (and that’s what it is like it or not), the idea was that I would write about some of the fun times I had in my clubbing days. But for what I guess I should call “legal reasons” I can’t really continue with those, since pretty much every story involves the people involved having their nights, shall we say, “chemically enhanced” in one (often not legal) way or another.

Giving them pseudonyms to protect their identity only stretches so far; there’s one guy who I would love to write at least one post about, but he was only known by his nickname, which related to his stature. I could flick through a thesaurus and find an equivalent, but anyone who was out clubbing in the same era as we were would undoubtedly recognise him.

He’s a police officer now, so would probably prefer not to be identified in this manner.

So instead of a story (although they will doubtless crop up from time to time, where false names, or those who have given permission to use their real ones, are the only ones involved), I thought I’d simply feature some my favourite tunes which have majestic breakdowns in them.

Starting with this one.

Now in it’s normal guise, this is by no stretch of the imagination my favourite, or even one of my favourite, New Order tunes. But in the remixing hands of Lee Coombs, it becomes a majestic thing of beauty, especially the breakdown.

The first time I heard it was also the only time I ever heard this being played out, at Cardiff’s now defunct Emporium, the greatest club I ever went to (and we went there a lot), for reasons which I will go into another time (yes, I know I keep promising this whenever I mention the place).

But alas, non-plussed with the choice of New Order track the DJ had chosen, I was making my way away from the dancefloor when the breakdown kicked in; there’s a twinkly piano motif which made my spine tingle and I wished I was still out there amongst the hedonists, savouring the moment.

New Order – Crystal (Lee Coombs Remix)

Just beautiful.

More soon.

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