Friday, 6 January 2017

Oliver: Ambassadors of Swing - Weekend (1 March 1992)

After playing this track, Peel gave a ringing endorsement to the label which put it out, Kold Sweat.  He had been extolling the virtues of the label, over breakfast that morning, to The Shend, former member of The Cravats, a fixture on Peel's playlists in the late 70s/early 80s.  The Shend also had one of the best business cards ever printed, bearing the legend, "The Shend - A Decent Bloke".
For Peel, the reason for Kold Sweat's brilliance was predicated on the fact that, "There's a wonderful live quality to their recordings which I would like to think is driven by art rather than economics."

The funny thing is, that as with the last Kold Sweat selection on this blog, I feel that this track promises great things, but doesn't quite deliver.  The first 2 minutes or so of Weekend are excellent. Starting out with a vaguely Art of Noiseesque horn break and filling it out with other horn samples from party records.  Over the top of this, MC Cee lays down a flow about getting ready for a night out, the excitement of the club, dancing, drinking, handling people trying to pick her up - I particularly liked the line about having a BTEC in Fashion Design.  I would be getting to know that particular wing of vocational education later in 1992.
It's all rolling along wonderfully until about 2:40, after which MC Cee drops out of the picture and we have the 2 minute hip-hop equivalent of a slow fade.  There are glimmers of slap bass, percussion, scratching and horns, but also a sense of drift.  Maybe Kold Sweat needed an economist to say, "Look, you could lop a minute off this and no-one would miss it."  Maybe I'm being too fussy.  It's only 4 and a half minutes after all, but at a time when we should be looking at the ceiling, lost in the bliss of dancing, we're looking at our watches instead.  Frustrating.  A half-classic.

Whether it was art or economics, I don't know, but the Rap Game EP was Ambassadors of Swing's sole release on Kold Sweat or indeed anywhere.  But their name inspired another collective to release a handful of daytime dance records , which have the footprints of economics all over them, a couple of years later.

Video courtesy of zitterfinger.

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