One of life’s bleak synchronicities occurred as I began to write this piece. A friend texted me the sad news of David Mancuso’s passing. The ground zero of modern DJing and underground clubbing was at Mancuso’s legendary Loft parties in New York and SunPalace’s ‘Rude Movements’ is widely regarded as a stone cold ‘Loft Classic’.
Like many a musical find from the maestro, 'Rude Movements' was something different, otherworldly. Futuristic yet organic, virtuosic but simple, it is a song that has withstood the lengthy list of fads, momentary hypes and technological advances in production to sound as fresh today as it did then. Mancuso's introduction of the song to legendary DJs such as Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles and David Morales elevated 'Rude Movements' to cult status as one of the great early electronic dance tracks and has remained a crate digger's jewel.
Brits Mike Collins and Keith O’Connell had spent the previous years DJing, touring as session players and learning the intricacies of programmable synths and drum machines. Coming together without a drummer, they settled on the Roland CR78, the first commercial programmable drum machine as the backbone of their experiments and recordings. By the end of 1980 they had their first 8-track demo, 'Raw Movements', recognisable already as the later classic release but sparser, stranger even. A glorious interweaving of hypnotic guitar, bass and pitch-bended synthesiser oddness. It’s easy to imagine yourself in the room with them as they jam around the looped drums, we can even hear the drum machine click off at the recordings end!
Mike - ‘Whenever he heard a bluesy note on guitar or synth that he liked, Keith would shout out “Hey, that’s a really RUDE note!”
With its new title, 'Rude Movements' loses the rawer, darker sound and possesses a lighter cosmic jazziness fuelled by the warm addition of Fender Rhodes alongside the guitar, bass and drum machine parts. Ethereal mutant funk with more than a nod to Lonnie Liston Smith and George Duke, digging deep into an atmospheric groove with a robotic repetition that looks ahead to House Music and Chicago (and New York and Detroit and…)
Even after their co-production of ‘Ride The Love Train’ by Brit-Funkers Light Of The World hit the UK Top 40 in 1981, they still couldn’t find a label that would release their SunPalace recordings until little known Passion Records finally released ‘Rude Movements/Winning’ in November 1983. It sold about 10 000 copies but the label was never interested in a follow up release and so began the 33 year journey for SunPalace’s other recordings to be finished and to find a home.
Thanks to BBE and Mike Collins’ persistence at collecting together and cleaning up the old tapes from his archive, we now have this golden collection of outtakes from the 'Rude Movements' session including the 8-track demos plus alternative and updated versions. We also get SunPalace tracks that were never released, proto-house, dusty jazz-funk and electro flavours, raw and unreleased. It is, however, the permutations of ‘Movements’ that take the prize, an insight into the writing of a classic piece of music that helped define The Loft ideal of mystical dance music with no boundaries.
Keith & Mike in 1983
Mike Collins 2016 - photo Eddie Otchere
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