Wax Runoff: Jerome Hill [ILA004]
Jerome Hill was once a name associated with a sometimes forgotten rave sub-scene referred to as London acid techno. Guys like Chris Liberator, D.A.V.E. the Drummer, and The Geezer were the musical stalwarts behind this rambunctious, almost exclusively British offshoot. The music spurred by this camp featured blistering acid basslines but was far too driving and fast to ever call it house music. This was techno, yet defiantly at odds with more dominant styles of the time: “proper” Detroit techno and, at the other end of the spectrum, maddeningly repetitive, banging loop techno emanting from countires like Sweden and Italy. London acid was the bastard stepchild, complete with an irreverent punk rock atittude in the way they threw parties in crumbling squats where crusty ravers would dance all night as bonfires burned.
Coming from that background it’s no wonder that Jerome Hill’s music retains an unpretentious, nasty streak to this day, even as he’s slowed his BPMs down a tad. Also still evident is his embrace of the Roland TB-303, heard loud and clear on his 2015 release for the I Love Acid label (operated by acid-dedicated UK duo, Posthuman). A four-track, limited-run, hand-stamped and numbered affair (only 303 copies pressed – cute I know. I hold #076), this thick slab of wax hits hard on every cut. From the opening track, “Consumed”, one can immediately hear the classic, stripped-down ’80s/’90s Chicago acid influence, albiet with some crunch-enhancing modern production techniques added to the mix. The TR-707 drumwork rattles your skeleton and the 303 bassline is simple, sinister and relentless, pushing the listener’s mind and body further into the abyss.
But for me, it’s A-2 “Controlled” that causes the real damage. The vocal commands “Let the beat conrol your body” over a monstrous acid bassline. Gone is the 707 here, replaced by a brash, distorted 909 kick (think 1992 Robert Armani) not often utilized in acid house music these days. This is a stomping acid tune for peak-time dancefloor devastation. In this instance, the tune is so singularly intense that the only challenge for a DJ is finding equally solid tracks to buffer it.
The B-side is just as good, with Altern-8’s Mark Archer (an acid guru in his own right) providing some melodic chord stabs over a supple acid line and 808 drums in his remix of “Moved”. In my opinion, this record is the strongest release on this consistently high-quality ILA label.
As a side-note, do yourself a favor and check out Jerome Hill’s own fabulous record labels, Don’t, and Super Rhythm Trax. Both are stellar, but the latter has been putting out some serious heaters lately for those that love the tracky classic Chicago house sound.
Wax Runoff is a weekly feature that will showcase new finds and crate favorites. Jim Kempkes of Rochester, NY has been a vinyl devotee since he was a teenage punk rock kid back in the late ’80s.