Everything was going to hell. That was the feeling I had around the time the tracks on this particular album were made, roughly 1995-1997. It was getting more and more difficult to have our records distributed: the later Bunker albums started out in pressings of around 100 copies. The label soon quit afterwards, though we didn’t know back then that it would be back with a vengeance a few years later. Distributors went bankrupt and the remaining ones only seemed interested in polished club house junk. In Holland, mellow house ruled the big clubs.
The legendary Acid Planet parties in The Hague ground to a halt in an implosion of mind numbing hours-long sets of 180 bmp empty acid lines fuelled by every drug you can imagine, I-f closed the Hotmix shop and went even deeper underground. And remember, these were the days when the internet was still a plaything running on dial-up modems. Records were bought in shops and via mail-order, and no one seemed interested in ours: places like Clone and Rush Hour were still in the future.
Personally, I was also sick and tired of acid and had no idea where to go next, so a time of musical exploration started. On one hand I tried revisiting my industrial past, going for much more experimental jams and sounds, and building on darker themes. On the other hand new styles like jungle and illbient were taking shape, and it was a challenge to incorporate some of that spirit in a few tracks as well.
I had no idea if these tracks would ever see the light of day, so there was complete freedom and no conforming to any label, scene or audience. To this day all my tracks are based on jam sessions with analogue hardware and lots of handwork, and it was with the tracks on this release that I tried to explore the outer limits of that way of working.
That workflow also had big limitations: if I turned the machines off, the track was essentially gone. So it was also all about capturing the moment, that magical section of time, usually in the middle of the night, when suddenly all this wack stuff you’ve been fighting with all evening, comes together. You also know that it’ll all fall apart again if you move a fader the wrong way, work any longer on a sound, or if anyone opens the door because old analogue machines are super sensitive to temperature variations.
These tracks were my way of staying sane through a transitional period in the history of the West Coast sound and eventually, as is evident in these tracks as well, a new path towards electro, italo and wave became clear through the musical fog. I wasn’t the only one to find it, and the rest, as they say, is history. The tracks were indeed never released or even heard, and the tapes ended up in boxes in storage, only to be uncovered by accident this year. I hope that almost 20 years later, they still carry some relevance. I know they do for me.
Amsterdam, October 25th 2015
released October 27, 2015
All tracks by Rude 66, roughly 1995-1997
Tracks curated and partially edited by Cliff Lothar