Is nostalgia the opium of the age? Does the body rulethe mind ordoes the mind rule the body? Burn down the discobecause it says nothing to me about my life! These arethoughts that float through my mind as I close my eyes andlisten with my headphones turned up to the beats and piecesof history that slide off The Hacienda.
Nostalgia for the heady smiley faced days of rave hasbeen in the air for a while but seems to have started togather pace. Pete Tong’s Essential Classics, Rewind’s GarageClassics on Ministry of Sound and the most of theGatecrasher series seem to pander to aging ravers retrocravings. The Hacienda is the second cd based aroundthe Manchester club to be released in the last two months.The artwork on both is almost identical taking its cue fromthe clubs modernist design. The tracks listing however seemto offer up different versions of the clubs history.
Unlike Peter Hook’s triple CD Hacienda classic, TheHacienda – Volume One dares to return to the early days ofthe club, days when the place was mostly empty andhaemorrhaging money. Those dark days before acid house andMadchester provided salvation. Days when FAC51 was morefamous for its owners New Order and the bands thatplayed there James, The Smiths andMadonna amongst them.
In the mid 1980s Morrissey and TheSmiths seemed to define Manchester’s music seen. Thelifestyle ascetic that Morrissey preached was a worldremoved from what was happening in Whitworth Street.Although the Hacienda was still finding its feet, stillsearching for its crowd, the music that they where playingwas cutting edge. It just seemed to take a while for thecities residents to notice.
Disc one opens with the primitive electro ofImpLOG‘s Holland Tunnel Drive, harsh treated vocalsand the sound of an airplane taking off set against anagging bassline. This music is a world removed from thehands in the air happy house that most people would pin onthe Hacienda. The early extended synth pop of Heaven17‘s (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing, ThePeach Boys‘ Don’t Make Me Wait and Yazoo‘sSituation all have faint echo’s of the house revolution inwaiting.
The piano break on Fascist Groove Thing is pureItalian house, the spacey dubby mix, dry clinical drums andgospel tinged vocals of the Peach Boys proto rave. Whenelectro in the form of Kurtis Mantronix‘s peerless Basslineand the early rap like White Lines were dropped into themix the sound of the Hacienda was born. The DJs wereforging ahead with a sound and vision that clearlyinfluenced New Order. The doubtful disco of New Order hadits genesis within the club’s walls.
The northern house sound that developed from thecross breeding of imported house music and the advent ofcheaper technology seeps out from disc two. Voodoo Ray byA Guy Called Gerald and Pacific State by 808State took house music and twisted it through the rainlashed streets of Manchester. This was home grown answer tothe music pumping out of the Hacienda. It still soundsvital, cutting edge and strangely English.
This is musicfrom the underground before acid house went mainstream.Before formula replaced innovation, before the drugs andmoney over took the music and guns and gangsters went insearch of easy pickings. Before Superclubs, mix CDs andsuperstar DJs. The irony of this release is that when itwas open, the Hacienda was never perceived as a brand. Ifit had been it may have ridden out the storm. I prefer thatit’s sealed in space and time, locked in the grooves ofthis CD and the foggy memories of its customers. Manchester,Rave On.