Fluke: Our Definition of Jazz. Throw a mess of wild instruments into the pot and stir.
It starts with an unstoppable jazz drum pattern, a sound which sets the frenzied tone and jittery pace for the whole track. It swings so hard, it feels like the floor is rocking. The syncopation sets my teeth vibrating. I could almost just listen to that alone.
Then some trumpets echoing each other and, together with a sax, launch into a quick blast of a riff that will repeat during the song, in particular the sax spiralling down the scale over and over. Oozing in alongside them is a synth bass sound that is the first instance of something electro in this previously primarily swing track. Mind you, it is still just 30 seconds into the song – not much to get your teeth sunk into.
It’s this bass tone that dominates the track for the next 30 seconds. Until the minute mark when the trumpets and sax play their fanfare. A couple of judicious swipes on the drum kit as with the opening salvo taking us through the next 30 second mark upon which there is the first of a series of dull thumps, heavily marking the point at which you are invited to headbang.
The thumping continues into the general drum rhythm and the oozing glistening bass snake continues to fill out the sound for another whole minute – the track is cruising along at top speed now. The drum rhythm gets decidedly more complicated and it sounds like, at the 2 minute 30 mark, Django Reinhardt has dropped in for a quick strum accompanied by his double bass player.
A bold blast from the trumpet and then the sax player goes wild, repeating the sax riff some 10 times in quick succession. A similar number of trumpet breaks and then merry chaos as everything goes until the trumpet is left to slow down and fade out the track.
So jazz swing, then. But the number of times the instruments repeat themselves in quick successsion suggests these are samples mixed in and repeatedly played for rhythmic effect. Together with the synth sounds and electronic bass, this is a mash-up in style, not of song – an early form of electro-swing, I ‘d say.
I remember hearing this on Peel in the early 90s (one of the shows I recorded) and being blown away by what seemed so different to other music around at the time, (apart from possibly the one hit wonder that was Doop). In those pre-internet days, I thought I heard Peel say it was by a techno outfit called Fluke, but I had no way of checking. All the other music I heard from the band was good, but completely different to this – maybe I was dreaming and it was some other artist – all I had was a track on a compilation tape – somewhere between The Moonflowers and Build A Fire by KLF. Thank goodness for the net then, for confirming what I thought I knew with this clip: