Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Oliver! appendices: Lethal - Techno Stylin (17 November 1991)
The Beatlemaniac sounding crowd screams at the start of this track are entirely in keeping with what makes this such a compelling listen. Techno Stylin is a joyous, uplifting record which not only celebrates the thrill of making music but something more parochial and personal - making music in Sheffield.
On his 17/11/91 show, by accident or design, Peel found himself showcasing a couple of examples of dance music coming out of Sheffield. One of them came up at first search and proved to be perfect fodder for New Year’s Eve, but had Nu-Tekk set the revellers Riverdancing over midnight, it would have been Lethal setting everyone up with a sense of possibility for the new year. Techno Stylin goes head to head with every “I’m the greatest and this place is the centre of the universe” US record you’ve ever heard and makes a compelling case for Sheffield being the hippest place it was possible to be. If you’re quick-witted enough to catch Lapello Barnes’s flow, this serves almost as a how-to guide when it comes what you need to succeed in techno-breakbeat-rapping, but if you can’t catch it just enjoy the love and excitement in these beats and rhymes, combined with a come one/come all invitation to get to Sheffield on the weekend and feel the music. As Resident Advisor’s 2014 retrospective on bleep music shows, Yorkshire found itself in a good musical place at the end of the 80s/early 90s. Recognition of a golden age often heralds its demise, but with tracks like Techno Stylin to chronicle the thrill of the time and place, the music will never grow old even when attention shifts elsewhere and leaves Sheffield’s once thriving nightlife in a state of current inertia and Sainsbury’s Local hell.
Video courtesy of bonbonfabrik