Jul 17, 2023

1990s techno just trended on TikTok

Latest news from TikTok land. A user has posted about a misprinted vinyl edition of Taylor Swift's Speak Now (Taylor's Version). Instead of the dulcet tones of Pennsylvania's favourite country music escapee, it played the album Happy Land: A Compendium Of Electronic Music From The British Isles 1992-1996 Vol. 1. Quite the surprise.

I have to admit something. I know nothing about Taylor Swift's music. I have a good working knowledge of a lot of pop acts – Girls Aloud, Lil Nas X, Pet Shop Boys, Years & Years, Kylie Minogue, Crazy Frog. But Taylor's music leaves me cold, with her being my least preferred speed-themed music star after Rush, Fast Food Rockers and Hurry Styles. (Sorry.) 

TikTokker Rachel Hunter was the victim of an anomaly, like buying a packet of porridge and accidentally getting a vortex to an alternative universe in which glow sticks and tie-dyed t-shirts are the norm. She accidentally found herself listening to:

Xeper's Carceres Ex Novum, produced by the bloke from The Black Dog and featured on the first Trance Europe Express album.

Soul Vine (70 Billion People) which found Cabaret Voltaire embracing 90s techno while sampling TV show The Outer Limits.

Thunderhead's 11-minute acid ambient dub monster True Romance. This also appeared on Holistic Recordings' Paul Smith EP, which I don't think has anything to do with the similarly named lead singer of Maxïmo Park.

And more. There's Matthew Herbert, Aphex Twin, and Happy Land by Ultramarine starring the melty vocals of Robert Wyatt.

The original TikTok video is great. She focusses on a sinister Cabaret Voltaire sample. "There's 70 billion people on earth, where are they hiding," says the voice. Fair point. My local Spar is always dead so they're definitely not in there. Where are they? Inside the freezer cabinet? Hiding under the frozen peas? Good question, CabVol.

I once bought an album called Anthology by the 1990s techno act Pentatonik (listen to Green here). A lovely vinyl edition bought from an underground independent Manchester record shop, the name of which escapes me. I was gutted to find two sides were identical: clearly a misprint. I never got it replaced. I've still got it somewhere – it's probably worth, oooh, at least £5.24 now.

Big up to Above Board Distribution, who I hope will sell loads more copies of their British electronica compilation. I didn't expect 1990s techno to be trending on TikTok. That's like a penny farthing competing the Tour de France. Us old timers will never win, but, y'know, it's nice to be noticed sometimes.

Further Fats: Tiny promises that get me through (2016)

Further Fats: Are number one singles getting shorter? (TL;DR: #1s shorter Y/N?) (2022)