Twenty years. That’s a long time in anyone’s book. Can 20 year old dance music have any relevance today? Fila Brazillia have remastered downtempo funk classic Old Codes New Chaos for your listening pleasure and to show that it can.
In dance music 20 minutes seems a long time with its nanosecond attention span, love of huge drops and over-compressed everything-louder-than-everything-else approach. Lots of stuff from the early 90s sounds awfully quiet and awfully dated. That’s where some of the more leftfield stuff comes off better. It wasn’t quite of the time, so isn’t located quite in the time.
Fila Brazillia were a duo – David McSherry and Steve Cobby – from the deeply unfashionable Northern town of Hull. In the second half of the 90s they produced a succession of acclaimed albums that married disco funk, electronics, samba, dub and an idiosyncratic attitude. This was perfect couch music, smokers music but with enough awkwardness to stop it becoming wallpaper music.
Their first album – Old Codes New Chaos – was released in 1994 and they’ve just issued a remastered version, including a previously unreleased track. The album title comes from a line in the 1991 book Lila: An Inquiry into Morals by Robert Pirsig: “Rigel’s interpretation of recent moral history is probably a pretty simple one: old codes vs. new chaos”. The additional track, Jerky, is a lovely addition to the album. A groovy spoken word sample about drums is married to brass stabs, a low elastic bass and electronic funk to produce 8 minutes of downtempo grooviness.
If you’ve not got any Fila Brazillia in your life, start here, and then go on to explore Maim That Tune, Mess and all the others.