Spray is a new label from half of Irish deep house duo Brame & Hamo, who have released quality deep house tracks on Dirt Crew, Heist, Splendor & Squalour and Feel My Bicep over the last few years.
And you’d never guess what their first signing is: American electronic music ancestors Julie Ida and Rich Sihilling, aka Dimension 23. They were among the pioneers of the Los Angeles rave scene which reached critical mass and then blew up, hurling debris across the continent and big chunks that are still falling out of orbit.
The two Dimension 23 tracks here were originally released in 1997 and have become fairly obscure since then. “12,000 Ravers” was released on Sven Vath’s Harthouse and probably wasn’t even the most well-received track on that EP. But that certainly says nothing about the quality of the music or even the taste of the audience: 1997 was when Harthouse imploded and was taken over by creditors or someone like that after the label went bankrupt. The turmoil impacted a number of acts on the label in ways you can very well imagine. Phil Western and Dan Handrabur’s multiple projects, including the brilliant Off and Gone, split up after this and the two wouldn’t collaborate again. A lot of good movies have been dumped when the studio executive that signed them took a walk and quite a lot of good records went unnoticed and in some cases were barely distributed when one of the larger electronic indie labels of the ’90s went kaput.
It’s the A side track, though that carries the record. “I.M.O.K. R.U.O.K.” originally dropped on Dimension 23’s Fuzzy Logik label; the release and the remix by Or:la were apparently ready for release in 2000 as Brame & Hamo (or one of them) were overheard leading off a set with it. That would have been exactly 23 years after Dimension 23 dropped it but, alas, pandemics ruined the perfect symmetry.
With its kinky electronics, torched squelches and squawk box aesthetics, “I.M.O.K. R.U.O.K.” is the superior of the two tracks and with minor tweaking wouldn’t be out of place on one of a dozen solid techno labels today. Or:la’s tweaks are significantly more than minor and to my mind not for the better. There are few tracks in anyone’s bag that sound as strikingly distinctive as the original; that electricity, that spark that is still throwing off a few volts 24 years later is lost in a remix that feels unfocused and unnecessary.
Dimension 23: 23 Years Later (Spray / October 2021 / 12″ Vinyl / Digital)
1. Dimension 23: I.M.O.K. R.U.O.K. (06:31)
2. Dimension 23: I.M.O.K. R.U.O.K. (Or:la Remix) (06:19)
3. Dimension 23: 12,000 Ravers (06:02)
⚪️ Disclosure Statement: This record was submitted as a promo by Clare Dickins PR.