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Acid Brass is the brainchild of concept artist Jeremy Deller. It is the unlikely fusion of Acid House anthems with the sound of a traditional British Brass Band, the result of which has received much appreciation from varied audiences across Europe and beyond. Since its conception in 1998, Acid Brass has been performed in locations such as the Tate Modern (London), The Louvre (Paris), and at many large popular music festivals across Europe. It continues to be enjoyed by music and art lovers and provides The Fairey band with the opportunity to reach new and unfamiliar audiences. The foundation for this music is explained by Deller's own drawing entitled 'A History of the World', showing how although despite first appearances the two movements are clearly linked through their social and political settings.
First Contact! - Jeremy
My first contact with the Williams Fairey Band was through telephone conversations with John Cresswell. I'd been given his number by Brass Band World but I have to admit that I was nervous about approaching him with the idea for "Acid Brass". I had expected the Brass Band community to be totally dismissive of the project and I couldn't believe it when he happily agreed to the idea. Admittedly I didn't mention the words "Acid House", I called it "a new commission for Brass Bands involving contemporary dance music". What I also didn't tell him was that not one note had been transposed and the budget was around £2,000 short. Minor details as far as I was concerned, I'd managed somehow to get myself the best Brass Band in the country through a single phone call.
The first face to face meeting was at Kenwood Bowl on a wet Bank Holiday weekend. It was also the first time that I had met Rodney Newton, sheltering under an umbrella. His enthusiasm was such a lift and everything that night was falling into place. This was especially the case when the Band struck up: I was blown away by their playing, and I'm not ashamed to say that it brought a tear to my eye. seeing and hearing them reminded me why I had wanted to do this in the first instance.
I later found John and he took me backstage to see the Band. I didn't really meet anyone at this point, I just stood in a corner with my cup of tea and digestive trying to be invisible. I have to admit that the first few times I was around the Band, I was petrified by them as I felt such an outsider, it seemed to be such a tight knit group of friends like a football team or army brigade even. Also I thought they might resent playing the songs - what if I caused a mutiny in the Band? The next time I saw the Band was in Birmingham, it was there I became aware of what the Brass Band movement is up against. The Band was playing beautifully to a respectably sized audience, but in the front row there was an elderly woman doing her knitting, hardly rock and roll! It was at this point that I began to realise why John was so up for taking a risk with me and "Acid Brass".
History of the World' - the original installation, (c)
Jeremy Deller 1997
The following review by former player
Mark Peacock recalls those early days of the project
from the Bands point of view and still sums up what it's
like to bring 'Acid Brass' to the public to this day!
- original studio recording (now sadly out of print):
'Acid Brass'features a selection of Acid
House anthems arranged exclusively for the Band by
1. Can U Dance? (DJ Fast Eddie)
2. Jibaro (Electra)
3. Voodoo Ray (A Guy Called Gerald)
4. Pacific 202 (808 State)
5. Strings Of Life (Rhythim is Rhythim)
6. The Groove That Won't Stop (Kevin Saunderson)
7. Let's Get Brutal (Nitro Deluxe)
8. Cubik (808 State)
9. Day In The Life/Can U Party? (Medley) (Black Riot/Royal House)
10.What Time Is Love? (KLF)
Review by Dr. D. J. R. Atkinson, UK
Yorks (on www.amazon.co.uk):
Once in a while something comes along that you reckon
must be well worth getting "for a laugh". I bought this
album for that sole reason. Hell, the thought of Cubic
22 blasted out by a colliery band? Truly beautiful.
But then something happened - I listened to the full
album and realised that it wasn't just a laugh, it is
something else. It's wonderful. Eighties house anthems
played with real power and emotion by a brass band. An
album of tracks that reminds us that music isn't all
about being genre specific, that the ludicrous record
store racks of categories and sub-categories serve only
to create legions of music fans that grow up blinkered
to a true love of music. This album isn't about
cynically combining two over hyped genres to broaden
demographic appeal and shift more units (nothing
personal Limp Bizkit...). It's about timeless melodies
receiving fresh interpretation through the power and
emotion of brass.
It's been a long time since I've listened to anything
that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and
a shiver go down my spine. The cover of KLF on this
album did just that. Don't buy this album because it's a
surreal novelty. Buy it because it's great!
5.0 out of 5 stars - Wonderful, 9 Nov 2004
You can listen to a couple of these
tracks using the Fairey Jukebox, found using the speaker
icon above or the link in the sidebar on the home page.
* Buy a copy of the CD using the shop link
above, or at one of our Acid Brass gigs!