Friday, 13 April 2018

Oliver!: Prudens Futuri - In the Name of the One (10 April 1992)

In 1992, The Wedding Present weren’t the only act trying to make themselves a permanent fixture in people’s record collections with multiple releases within the calendar year.  Dutch DJs Dave van Hasselaar and Ed Bout released single records under a variety of pseudonyms.  Some may have known them variously as Rigor Mortis, Metapsychosis, Daster & Dancer, Donner & Blitzen, Timecode or Ave Maria, whose No Sex Until Marriage will definitely turn up on this blog if Peel played it while I was working on my other 1992 plays.  In most professions, running business activities - most only fleetingly - under a variety of names would likely bring you to the attention of Watchdog or as would have been more likely back then, Roger Cook.  But in dance music, you are expected to operate under as many aliases as possible - even if the music stays similar regardless of the name it’s being done under.  Before the rise of the Superstar DJ, the intention seemed to be to take the personality out of the music - it could have been me or it could have been you in the studio or back bedroom making this stuff - and instead get the audience and most especially, the clubbers, to focus on the music alone.  They could project whoever they wanted in terms of the bodies which made up Prudens Futuri (Latin for “wise future” in case you were wondering) or any of van Hasselaar and Bout’s alter-egos.  I find something quite charming about the thought of DJs trying on names and identities for a day, like a pilled up Mr. Benn before discarding them and trying something new.
However, van Hasselaar and Bout had certain aural obsessions that they couldn’t help returning to in their music, regardless of what name they put it out under:

1) Religious quotation - there’s plenty of that in In The Name of the One, though it seems to be lifted from biblical film epics and kitchen sink dramas (“For the love of God!”) Other van Hasselaar and Bout recordings feature papal doctrine and mass.  But at the risk of sounding dull, the scripture would be balanced out with...
2) Star Trek sound effects -  none here alas, though they did make a good job of working in communication signals and that strange “bu-wip” noise that the Enterprise’s scanner would make.
3) Classical quotations - usually at the end of tracks, but there’s plenty of manipulation of what sounds like Verdi’s Requiem which pops up arrestingly throughout the track.  See also A House’s Endless Art for more evidence of pop/classical mash-up on the Peel show.

Balanced alongside the above elements, is a barnstorming dance number, albeit slightly dated by its blocky synths and “Woah” shouts.  Indeed, whereas some of van Hasselaar and Bout’s work from 1992 still sounds pertinent and striking today, In The Name of the One works best as a nostalgia trip calling the faithful to prayer before the priests leading the chorus slip out of their habits and into another disguise.

Video courtesy of Felipe Dominguez.

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