Eh, What Happened? is a collaboration between MUKA and Do Your Best, with this project we want to unearth the weird and wonderful music made in Manchester across history. So we look at the culture of the city and the world on a specific year using a lottery draw to give us the year to work with. We then build that all up into a mix of tunes from that year, which you can find at the bottom of this page.
The year we start with is 1994, Manchester United just missed out on winning the Premier League by a single point, The Channel Tunnel opens, Nelson Mandela becomes president of South Africa, the Playstation 1 is released and Lidl opens its first UK stores.
However Madchester was finished, Spike Island was 4 years ago and the baggy style was what was left over. The hangover from the drug filled acid days were behind us and Hulme had become full of punks. The clubs were still kicking in the mainstream, but a hardcore underground was emerging, with bands like Pigpile, Stretch and Kitchener playing in the 125 club, there was a real DIY attitude.
1994 was also when the The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was introduced. It introduced a number of changes to the law, most notably in the restriction and reduction of existing rights, clamping down on unlicensed rave parties, and greater penalties for certain "anti-social" behaviours.
"It's about politicians making laws on the basis of judging people's lifestyles, and that's no way to make laws", said DJ Jon Savage.
We have put Autechre on this story and they have quite a personal account of the year, their Anti Ep was a protest again the Criminal Justice Act. With music being described as a succession of repetitive beats, Sean Booth of Autechre explained the bands strategy for the song 'Flutter' by saying, "We made as many different bars as we could on the drum machine, then strung them all together." The packaging bore a sticker with the disclaimer about the repetitive nature of the rhythmic elements of 'Lost' and 'Djarum'. 'Flutter' was programmed to have non-repetitive beats and therefore can be played at both 45 and 33 revolutions under the proposed law, but following their disclaimer, it was advised that DJ's have a lawyer and musicologist present at all times to confirm the non-repetitive nature of the music in the event of police harassment. The sticker acted as a seal which was required to be broken in order to access the media enclosed in the package.
Interestingly enough this was the same year that the infamous Sankey's opened and they had to fit right in with the new regulations. However, they became the cities superclub with the likes of Daft Punk, Moby, Björk and The Chemical Brothers.
In the mainstream Oasis released 'Definitely Maybe', and The Stone Roses with 'Second Coming', Manchester continued to be a small epicentre of international music releases. But these underground artists continued to give us more, here we have compiled some of the best tunes out there, from hardcore to ambient and all those sects of fantastic dance music.
Listen to the full mix here right here.
Da Intelex - What Ya Gonna Do
Autechre - Flutter
The Durutti Column - My Irascible Friend
5th Circuit - Sexymovemaker
The Fall - Hey! Student
Amberjacks - Ha!
Richard H. Kirk - The Number Of Magic
Muslimgauze - Muzzel Of Deceit