22 October 2006

Stakker Humanoid



I first heard Stakker Humanoid in a field by a fire next to a Victorian Folly in the middle of the night on a nastily handpainted (spray would've been irresponsible) Rural Blaster somewhere at the edge of Yeovil (maybe Alan Partridge had suggested we went there, I can't remember). I heard a lot of music that way. Back then, it wasn't all that clear whether or not we were listening it Humanoid by Stakker or Stakker by Humanoid or both. It didn't matter because even at the time it seemed like something new was in the air, something alien this way comes.

I never got the Chicago House thing, still don't get it. Too much humanity, too warm by half. We'd all assimilated the Chip E and Marshall Jefferson and Steve 'Silk' Hurley and, while a zeitgeist was clearly there to be made, it seemed even at the time too transitional, as if this was only the first step into dragging the human soul* out of music and forcing people to dance to robots. Those records never felt fully formed. Liking things like S-Express were a bigger step for me but even they seemed resolutely disco , which in turn seemed human all too human. Beat Dis and Pump Up The Volume had gripped me more, but even there the focus was on the samples, on the human voices interjecting and takin control over the robots. Even the inevitable trainspotting that acccompanied those records was evidence of human contact - in my mind's eye I could see those little fellahs putting the needle on the record and clapping like billy-o when the words fit the beats.

Humanoid wasn't human at all and everything else seemed like a step too small.

You have to remember that I'm of the generation who, at one terrible unconscious level, were utterly disappointed when there didn't end up being a Nuclear War. All that childhood emotional energy wasted and not even the sniff of an anecdote to tell the grandkids over the Werthers Originals. No energy expenditure over rising house prices; we wanted total war. The Robots taking over was about all we could look forward to be scared about.

The cowbelling at the start wouldn't have caused any concern to the people around the fire; they'd all have one or two Electro albums (probably tapes, actually) from the days when Yeovil town centre was covered in stolen bits of kitchen floor and the beginnings of headspin induced male pattern baldness**. But then the machines take over and the little backwards noises start and everything builds and builds until it's all electricity, complete with fake whistles and fake dog barking, as if the machines are taunting humankind by imagining their future dancing to this kind of stuff in fields full of wet dreadlocks, dogs on strings and bare-chested young men trying out for the sheep trials (i.e. every West Country Rave ever and, er, stuff at Shoreditch).

Pretty soon, they'll take over. Autechre and the Artificial Intelligence brigade (no surprises about the choice of name there then, and no surprise that it didn't really catch on either; we've all seen Terminator) are just around the corner, tiny metal wings rubbing together in glee, giving off some awful Iron stench. I still can't listen to Autechre without thinking of Francis Bacon and I think I have Humanoid to thank for that.

Is it any wonder that the FSOL boys gradually wound their way back to humanity via their recent AA albums (the abbreviation says it all; the (1)2-step plan - "My name is Brian Dougans and I am a roboteer... I have let them in and now I have to let them out again")?

Stakker Humanoid - Humanoid




A Yousendit bio-podulating spermGODdoddin




*why did anyone think this was a 'bad' idea? Pretty soon, souless became a byword for electronica - and let in the likes of Jimi Tenor - but that's always what I liked about it. Have I missed something?

**incidentally, in non-Loki life I was recently shocked at how much lino actually costs - such a flagrant abuse of high quality vinyl flooring is a better predictor of the Bust after the Boom in the mid to late 80s than anything The State We're In comes up with... way more bling than those knock-off gold ropes that the Piddy's wrestle with now...

21 comments:

kek-w said...

Lino: yeah, it's bloody expensive, innit...

sean orr said...

Being from Vancouver Canada, references to small, southern English towns usually escape me. But I've in fact been to Yeovil. I took a small ghetto blaster out to a field near Camelot and plasted Hardfloor (Harthouse) to see what happened.

Some cows surrounded me. I dropped acid.

I have not been the same.

Loki said...

Sean, it's happened to all of us, you can only lie back and hope the theraoy kicks in... if it helps, those probably weren't cows in the first place - more likely the Goat Boys from Chard, a notoriously noxious gang of brigands and animal impersonators, hoisting the mainfields allover Somerset during the mid-80s through to the late90s when their leader, Sylvester Manley-Gherth, finally expired due to taxation policy..

if it was them then there's always www.goatboytrauma.co.uk, where like-wasted people can discuss their problems on open fauna...

kek-w said...

"Manley-Gherth"...LOL!

I once bumped into a random stranger in a warehouse party on the London Docks in around 1986 who told me he'd only been to yeovil once and that he'd taken drugs on that hill round the back on tescos (Summerhouse Hill)...

It's the Yeovil-Chard-Crewekerne Acid triagle, innit!

kek-w said...

Triangle.

W.h.f.'s a triagle? Sounds like a dog...

Loki said...

I'm more interested in whatthefuck WHF stands for... World Helicopter Foundation (yeovil link), Walled Holly Federation (taking the 'too much smoked bracken' angle), Wasted Hedonist (Fucked)???

i think i can see what's happening... the comments are taking over... pretty soon everyone will be caught in a spastic slitch of ambient background Freudian slippage, a paraprax in time when everything they attempt to say gets hopelessly grizzled and attenuated by 'careless' typing and bad intentions...

only a rock-solid superhero team-up of massive proportions could save us now...

Bring back the Uber Typing Pool Tag Team....

kek-w said...

Werewolf Horn Farm

Why's Hercules frowning?

"Who hath farted?"

Whores, herpes, fannys!

Woverhampton Homicide Force

Where herrings flock.

Worm Home Foam.

When heroin's funny.

Why hate Freud?

Anonymous said...

a "Triagle" is the unfortunate result of a (slightly incestuous) Fraggle threesome...

*nobody knew* who the real father was, only that it was one out of two cousins from Danglebury-Upon-Hull.

the X said...

a "Triagle" is the unfortunate result of a (slightly incestuous) Fraggle threesome...

*nobody knew* who the real father was, only that it was one out of two cousins from Danglebury-Upon-Hull.

Sean Orr said...

Oh good Christ, its all coming back to me now. You're all in on it, innit? I've never even left Canada, yet somehow, Freud, whom I hate, would be hard pressed for answers.

everything disconnected seems connected, when curtain twitches seem to be resonant of morphic changes or moonshadows or Holy Guardian Angel attacks, when glances and whispers are everywhere and even the radio is leaking enough alien radiation for me to start unwrapping the bacofoil.

I was there, and so was Sylvester Manley-Gherth, except he was the manager of the Camelot-themed Tescoes that had sprung up in Horsington (Why Horsington Fellows?). The cows were indeed the work of animal impersonators, but this time it was the Animal Liberation Front, not the boys from Chard. They were protesting the dwindling numbers of Triagles, and hired a gang of thugs called the Woverhampton Homicide Force, armed with paperback copies of Undoing Yourself with Energized Meditation: The Split Brain Conspiracy and a packet of Digestive Cookies, wearing...yup, you guessed it, JFK Halloween Masks.

Autechre was playing, but not a wet dreadlock in sight. it was glorious. Then the helmet I was wearing, with LCD Display, started showing me visuals of everysingle AFX Twin master-file being deleted, one by one.

Turns out it was just Erotomania.

sean Orr said...

Now, when Samson has ostensibly left the firm, his involvement could be crucial. And the person who needs him most is young Sylvester Manley, an innocent witness with a missing finger, who is too scared to come forward at a time when racial hatred is as live an issue as ever in inner-city London.

dweller said...

On the pirates you'd get things like "good life" and then "We calll it acieed", but I never got just straight acid!!

I used to play stakker humanoid a lot. It and bam bam "where's your child" were the two acid-house record twelves I bought at the time, which were a bit post the first acid house appearance.
Stakkers cow bells and the bass line were too human for me. I wanted that acid sound from beginning to end but they didn't supply it.
And on 'where's your child' I just wished he'd shut up. I wanted to hear that pure tweaking acid sound, take your silly menacing voice elsewhere mate.

Quite a while before I bought those I remember hearing 808 State with their very way out there peel sessions on the radio. They gave me the purity I desired. Then they kind of ruined it by releasing much more "human" records.

Loki said...

with you on the early 808 State stuff... I remember someone playing me it with the recommendation "this is what happens when you just get really clever with drum machines" and I guess i translated this into "this is what happens when the drum machines get cleverer than you" meaning that they appear to mount a takeover bit that's only arrested by the creeping humanism that came after Pacific State...

but i did like the creepy voices on 'where's your child'...

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