The Jack the Tab album, Genesis P Orridge, Dave Ball, Richard Norris et al's fake acid house compilation came out in 1988 and, while hailed as innovative (though not at the time and, actually, not in retrospect either by the majority of critics...bugger), it set a trajectory for acid house and electronica which never quite took off.
The album has a DIY amauterish feel to it that seemed to reflect the initial idea that Acid House would become the new punk; meaning that previous structural/ musical limitations would be taken apart or ignored, leaving a clean slate for new forms to slime over. Even the fact that it was Psychic TV pretending to be various other bands - 'Alligator Shear, Pearl Necklace (ho-hum), Wolves of the Sun, King Tubby etc' - reflected an unconscious intent to establish the illusion of an ever growing pulsating worldwide network of synapse-spunked musicians, scrabbling for acid tabs amongst the Ballardian wreckage of abandoned geetar-band studios, broken Roland drum pads and swapped oscillator coils.
We didn't believe. But we wanted to. This might change things.
And in a way, it did. The bedroom musician was being born again all over the place, science nerds abandoning their home-made radio cube sets and CB radios for the sancity of bended circuits and thumb tacked synthesiser patches. Aphew Twin's digeridoo was just around the corner and Orbital were already preparing their own freakbeat spin on Techno by sampling The Butthole Surfers on Satan...
For a while, it looked like everything would merge. Rock, acid, house, techno would open up and come apart. Maybe these categories wouldn't even exist in a few years time - the music would just keep fragmenting, finding new ways to settle briefly before being shaken up again.
Some people even attempted to add Acid to Jazz.
But the opportunity got lost somewhere. While the Jack the Tab record lurched from the fairly straightforward party acid of Meet Every Situation Head-on to the odd, almost bluesy Only Human, taking in frazzled 60s psych pop (this was late 80s PTV after all) and electro-gristles along the way, the other 'acid house' artists seemed content to ride the wave and produce sub-Chicago house standards with uniform bleeping and cursory glances towards words like 'Energy' and 'Flash'.
And, of course, there was money to be made. Aciiiieeeeeed!
From here, we got the sometimes interesting, often formulaic 'ambient' house (which opiumed for the masses) and the patronising Intelligent Dance Music (and it's retard cousin Thick Dance Music / Gabba). Many of the artists adopted a smililar multiple identity syndrome to the Jack the Tab boys and girls with the main difference being that most of the chosen names now often related simply to matters of tempo, while the Jack the Tab monikers seemed to relate to matters of intention or form; each track on Jack the Tab is by a different artists because they're attempting to explore the different directions which 'Acid House' might take.
Jack the Tab didn't really sound like the rest of the late 80s Acid House but it sounded like the music I imagined when I first heard the term 'Acid House' as a power-drained skinny dip of a 16 year old Somerset lad, excited because the music seemed to relate to, gulp, drugs and because it meant I could do my stupid hand waving, spirit fingered, spazz march dance without anyone phoning the St John's Ambulance and asking for a epileptic trauma crash-kit.
For a long while, pretty much every Acid House record I bought was disappointing. None of them seemed to be taking Jack the Tab ecelecticism and hyperdelia on. The covers seemed to hint at mysterious amalgams - remember that Balearic Beats compilation, the one with the Psych-Eye? - but never really delivered past a fairly trite take on 4/4 slap-bassing and dry squelches (and even PTV later when on to make the frankly uninspiring bass-nasty epic Towards the Infinite Beat)...
I only half remember Jack the Tab, having lost the album many years ago now in some Swansea pit, and these memories may be rose-tinted and schematically reworked according to a latent post 30 miserablism / nostalgia but somehow it seems that Acid House was an opportunity missed. I remember it sounding hopelessly disorientating, cluttered with Freak(s)ish movie samples, skewed rhythms, half-spent voices, stuttering beats, brass stabs, psych-fuzz and obscure attempts at real songs...
Isn't that what Acid House says to you?
Two questions: 1)Anyone have this album and like to post a track? I'd love to track it down. 2) Anyone suggest any other music which actually sounds like a combination of Acid and House?