Monday, April 7, 2008

Andrea Parker - Groovetech Radio sets (RARE!)


For those who don't know, Groovetech was an online powerhouse of electronic music - featuring a record shop and internet radio entity which spanned many cities across the globe. They had some of the best DJ sets featured weekly (live) including the Electrochair Sessions, bringing DJs like Andrew Weatherall, Radioactive Man, Tipper and Andrea Parker to name a few. I was lucky enough to find someone in Canada who somehow had amassed a handful of the .rm files from select radio sesssions. I got the DVD, and spent at least 2 months painstakingly going through the .rm audio and taking out the little pops and clicks, cleaning up the audio and converting to mp3. Even with my seemingly expansive knowledge of underground Electronic/Electro tunes, there are only a few tracks from all those sets that I recognize! These Andrea Parker sets are some of the best from that batch. She plays a ton of classic Electro and Miami Bass, including 2 Live Crew - along with a bunch of obscure dark Electro that I had never heard before.

So grab these sets - I seriously doubt you will ever find them anywhere else! Groovetech went out of business seemingly overnight (sometime in 2002 I believe) and there's hardly any record of them existing anywhere online. Maybe one day someone will release a huge archive of the DJ sets from Groovetech Radio, but right now it seems I am one of the very few who has archived sets. Enjoy!

Andrea Parker - GT Radio 2002-03-22 Part 1 download

Andrea Parker - GT Radio 2002-03-22 Part 2 download
Andrea Parker - GT Radio 2002-07-04 Part 1 download
Andrea Parker - GT Radio 2002-07-04 Part 2 download

Here's a short bio, well written by John Carney for www.tangents.co.uk:

I guess that in the same way Kent Records took soul music beyond the clubs, then in the early ‘90s labels like Warp took electronic music into new surroundings with a series of active listening full-length sets. These recordings by the likes of LFO, Nightmares In Wax, Black Dog, B12, Autechre, Speedy J, Aphex Twin, Seefeel, and Sabres of Paradise seemed to open up all sorts of new possibilities. This was the future.

Back in the clubs some of the old soul crowd had been converted to the new electronic sounds. Neil Rushton ran the Inferno label, and in 1980 released the Out On The Floor collection, which featured northern soul favourites like Gloria Jones’ 'Tainted Love', Barbara Mills’ 'Queen of Fools', and Eloise Laws’ 'Love Factory'. It also featured 'They’re Talking About Me' by Johnny Bragg, whose story would be told in passing in Jonathan Lethem’s monumental Fortress of Solitude. By 1990 Rushton was running Network Records, and released the Bio Rhythm collection. In his sleevenotes John McCready wrote: “This is the sound that Salvador Dali would have made had he bought an 808 drum machine instead of a paint brush. This sequenced surrealism is a new music for an old age, the kind of sonic art created when human beings fall in love with machines and computers. This is special.” He went on to draw specific links between the new music and Joshie Jo Armstead’s 'I Got The Vibes', a northern soul classic, and 'Tell Me' by Life, an early ‘80s electro torch song on the Factory label.

Jeff Barrett, of Heavenly Records, was a huge fan of 'Tell Me' by Life, and he was the first to tell me about Andrea Parker. This would have been in 1993, and then Andrea was going to do pretty much everything better than anybody else. She was from Kent originally, and knew the classical avant garde, could DJ and create the best techno, electro, hip hop, and just about anything. She could sing with the best of them, and had the looks and presence of a star. He would have signed her but for some contractual difficulties, and anyway she was involved with the Fat Cat crew, at what was then an ineffably cool record shop in a Covent Garden basement selling the most essential electronic adventures on anonymous 12”s.

Andrea’s career never quite took off in the way it should have. Early on she collaborated on some electronic adventures for the Sabrettes label as part of Inky Blacknuss, producing gems like 'Drumulator', which still sound great. This was an incredibly productive period for underground music in the UK. In time she signed to Mo’Wax just about when it was the coolest thing on the planet. A couple of early singles ('Melodious Thunk' and 'The Rocking Chair') hinted at all sorts of possibilities. It would, however, be another frustrating few years by the time a full-length set, Kiss My Arp, was released. Mo’Wax was no longer the centre of attention. DJ Shadow’s moment had passed, and people were looking elsewhere, and sadly not at Andrea. In fairness though some of the best and most visionary Mo’Wax releases also came late in the day, like Urban Tribe, Blackalicious and Quannum, the Divine Styler, and David Axelrod.

Kiss My Arp remains one of the all time great records. Its scope is impressively vast, and its stance refreshingly obtuse. Andrea mixes doomed bass lines, forbiddingly broken beats, elegantly bruised melodies, found sounds, and stately string arrangements (partly courtesy of Will Malone, of 'Unfinished Sympathy' fame and his own works like the Death Line soundtrack). There was also a complementary instrumental set, but for any number of reasons it didn’t sell well. Close collaborator and fellow electronic imaginary David Morley is credited with providing the creative space and occasionally archaic kit to produce this remarkable work. Morley’s own contemporaneous classic, Tilted, was even more cruelly overlooked.

A set for the !K7 DJ Kicks series preceded the Kiss My Arp release, highlighting Andrea’s DJ/mixing skills. The set veered consciously towards the dark side, and she seemed to be playing up this perverse side. An EP, The Dark Ages, a few more years on for Quatermass made this much more explicit. It was as though Andrea had tossed out of the window the rule book that talks about commercialism, concessions, and crossovers. This was spectacularly stubborn inventiveness at its best, and Andrea was the awkward and much needed mischief maker, who still somewhere along the way managed to get herself sponsored by Adidas and Ghost.

Over the next few years Andrea would stick to her guns, having fun DJing where and when she wanted. Rather like fellow maverick J Saul Kane with his DC Recordings, she also ran the fiercely independent electro label, Touchin’ Bass, which provided an outlet for occasional and adventurous, playful and provocative 12”s by her and Morley, as well as providing a platform for like-minded underground souls. A couple of compilation CDs released in 2005 showed that the label’s output was consistently of an incredibly high standard, and representative of what remained important activity in the shadows of popular culture.

Significantly Andrea became close friends with Mira Calix, another gifted electronic expeditionary. Mira released a series of great records for the Warp label, which were up with the best of any active listening full length sets, but they did not receive the approbation that they should have either. I guess that’s what you get for being ahead of the game. Or I guess it’s the price you pay for not properly playing the game.

© 2006 John Carney


For more info on Andrea Parker, or her label Touchin' Bass - check these links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Parker_(DJ)
http://www.andreaparker.info/
http://touchinbass.com/home.html

21 comments:

John Carney said...

Thanks so much for these Andrea Parker sets. She is one of the greats and criminally underrated. There's a piece I wrote about her at www.tangents.co.uk in the 50,000 Reasons section which you might enjoy.

John Carney

XMP said...

thanks, John! I'm going to use your writeup instead because it's so well-written and informed. Hope ya don't mind.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for uploading these!

but is there a reason you are using rapidshare?
Because it is so annoying d/l there as a free-user...I'd recommend you mediafire or zshare...

XMP said...

Sorry - our ISP here in Svalbard blocks all other file-hosting sites for upload. Rapidshare is our only option.

Anonymous said...

ah ok, nevermind then...

damn ISP-censorship!

XMP said...

i know it sucks

AMP said...

yeah we have the same problem here in wallis & futuna.

Anonymous said...

i have 3 or 4 tom middleton shows from groovetech in .rm format, complete with the video, if you are interested in those as well. probably my favorite mix sets i listen to ever...

email me:
decknology at google.com

XMP said...

having seizures. yes, thank you!

oui said...

groovetech was a very forgettable and expensive online record shop that did NOT pay their bills to the small labels!!! that's the only reason why they collapsed. the radio part was great tho, with live webcams + msn from the dj booth. unfortunately the announced live guests were more and more not coming, or coming at other times than announced, so with time we really had to have luck to get the guys live, but it happened. i remember great sets from landslide, ig culture and j da flex

XMP said...

I remember the same! I believe Landslide and J da Flex were equally impressive on the dubplate.net radio show as well. Those I have no dubplate.net recordings unfortunately :(

theeruditefrog said...

Many thanks, I though I'd never hear another groovetech set again.
There was nothing like a little electronica in the afternoon.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a long time sets from groovetech radio. I was buying vinyls from GT untill it was closed I think early 2003. Unforgettable sets really these sets definitely have to become available. I still remember a dj Set of OM records WMC 2003 I think the dj was Jack Lemon anyone remember? Anyway it is an invaluable heritage. IT is time to go back in time and listen, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I didnt save any video but I have a few of Bradley Paul"s mixes I put on cd.I loved that site.It was from that site I caught some of the new psy-trance sound(which they played little of)BUT as a trance dj it sent me on a search for that sound.The old school goa that I was familuar with,had its place but the new sound is right up my alley,that Bradley Paul could mix like a deamon.Smooth!!Boom Shaka-dj SIR LAURENCE

Anonymous said...

Hello!
I see you write about a DVD full of GrooveTech materials! This is a shocker, been looking for materials for ages.

http://www.groovetech.com/PhoenixData/SilverStream/Pages/srvltRecMed?RecordedMediaID=44579 equals Samuel L Session at 19th of January 2001..any luck finding that one? Starts of with SLS - New Soil.

Any luck of info? Please contact me at eyelid_records at yahoo.com

fangorn said...

THANKS!!!!!!! I LOVE andrea's music

stoker said...

every now and then i scour the net for remnants of groovetech. what an icredible time that was. thanks for the posts.

Dougy T said...

I also loved groovetech radio. I particularly liked DJ Scissorkicks shows. I remember I used to cycle up to the warehouse to collect the records I'd bought cause it usually meant I could buy more if I didn't pay postage.

daviderobbins said...

truly an underrated music maker! thanks for the post!

iWoo said...

I stumbled upon your blog by chance and noticed you wrote about Groovetech sets on the post about Andrea Parker, who is also awesome. I actually really liked The Unknown too; sort of a chill trip-hop vibe.

I am sure you have gotten a number of other requests from other people, but I was wondering if you would be willing to make a copy of the DVD of sets? That, or be able to host/transfer some select shows (not that I can remember all their names now.) That, or put me in touch with the person who originally got it to you. I found an email address for you at yahoo but it appears to bounce.

Anyway... thanks for sharing these sets at least; amazed the links still work two years later!

P M X said...

I'll see what I can do!