CD in deluxe 6 panel gatefold digipak. Whatever you think you know, don't underestimate how original and insurrectionary Regis and Surgeon's initial run of British Murder Boys 12”s and live aktions were, before their first break-up. At a time – hard to imagine now – where techno and industrial/noise/scum-punk couldn’t have felt more at odds, BMB married genuine performance BOTTLE – that is, a pissed Regis barking cult-leader/drill-sergeant commands (Jim Jones by way of Windsor Davies) and semi-murmured self-loathing non sequiturs at typically unsuspecting and generally outraged dancefloors – to roiling, dubwise, heavy-as-a-death-in-the-family but devilishly SWUNG and syncopated rhythms. They smuggled a then much-needed dose of discomfort and negative energy into the club, and what they played passed the acid-test of avant-garde dance music, which is to say, people didn’t know HOW to dance it, but felt compelled to try (couldn’t tell you, but I imagine pogoing at Fabric is as rare a sight today as it was 15 years ago). BMB essentially answered a (seemingly mad) question that Surgeon’s DJ sets had been asking for years: what if Basic Channel and Whitehouse were in fact the same band????
It’s 2019 now though, and as the way of things, their innovations, and incitements to riot, have been largely assimilated. Production-wise, a whole new generation of producers across the techno and dnb spectrum have ransacked them for inspiration. The sight of a man shouting garbled obscenities into a mic over sheets of metallic noise and sledgehammer breaks is no longer reason to call security and have him ejected from the club. And yet and yet--
Fire In The Still Air is a ferocious reminder of how out on their own BMB always were, still are. It gives a far more satisfying account of their music, and the havoc it can wreak, than any of the 12”s (or, indeed, the 2015 retrospective boxset), those dense, monolithic productions gleefully, mercilessly ripped up and reconstituted for maximum aggro/ecstatic effect. Info about the disc is deliberately scant, but whether it’s a recording of a live set or composite of several or a premeditated studio session, it doesn't really matter...for us it kinda functions as a kind of greatest hits, subtly updating, and in a couple of cases radically overhauling, their back catalogue, making you hear classics like ‘Hate Is Such A Strong Word’ and ‘Don't Give Way To Fear' afresh, and also showcasing recent/new material in the best possible context. The kings of chicken-in-a-basket techno cabaret are dead...long live the kings.