Sunday, 4 September 2016

Oliver: Exposure - Peak Experience (22 February 1992)

The last track in any John Peel programme could be a mixed bag. If he was pushed for time before the news, it could be a perfect set up for a quick blast of noise rock.  Sometimes, he'd play something to set listeners up for the next programme - world music for Andy Kershaw/Giles Petersen, rock for Mary Anne Hobbs etc.  But if he had time and space, he would use the final track of the night as a chance to test his audience out.  A track which would ask questions of them, almost like he would say, "You've come this far, through so much variety.  Can you engage with this before you reach for the off switch?"

Peak Experience isn't exactly the most taxing piece of music Peel ever played, but it wasn't likely to follow The Orb or Altern-8 into the upper reaches of the singles chart.  Starting out with a low, rumbling hum that could be a brainwave, a racing heartbeat, a pulsing phallus or a fiery Earth core, the track takes 80 seconds to break this before letting loose as a tribal drum accompanied computer game soundtrack - the level ups signified by eardrum ringing electro gong strikes.  Within 18 months, all manner of opportunists would be having chart success with official tie-ins.  But none of them had anything like the beguiling strangeness of tracks like this one.

Video courtesy of Kanal van Tukkerhouse.

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