On Record: Bleaching Agent

On Record: Bleaching Agent

10 years ago, Ian Loveday passed away at the age of 54. A vibrant, passionate artist, Loveday spent more than 20 years shaping modern underground dance music, producing many EPs that can be rightfully called classics of their era. Semtek asked me to pen something about my favourite Ian Loveday record to celebrate his life and work, and “Outside The Window” taken from his debut release as Minimal Man alongside Peter Adshead immediately sprung to mind.

As a DJ, everyone has a number of ‘reference points’; tracks which help set the tone for an aspect of their repertoire, even if those tracks are rarely deployed. As resident at Body Horror, White Hotel’s carnal filth pit, Minimal Man’s “Outside The Window” has become a lynchpin of my 6am phase, sweating down the crowd, separating the wheat from the chaff before the big euphoric payoff, usually in the form of the promoter Joe staggering up to the booth in a beer stained thong and cape ensemble demanding to hear “Disco Spaceship” by Laurice. But I digress.

Minimal Man, comprising of Loveday and Peter Adshead (Baby Ford), cut a colourful path in their 12 years together. From the hefty proto-trance throb of “Outside The Window”, through the isolationist plonk of their highly prized Trelik 12″s, to their post-electroclash swansong “Plastic Smile”, their wide body of work was always underpinned by the spectre of disco.

 

The influence of Patrick Cowley is most prominent in “Outside The Window”, their debut, with its lead track’s nasal analogue pulse occupying the nether space between trance, newbeat and disco. Its ambiguity not only lends it utility, but it also suspends all sense of time, romantically harking back and promising an unknown, dangerous future in one breath. It taps perfectly into one of Body Horror’s musical tentacles; a music lost in time, hinting at an apocryphal hedonistic past. Fellow BH resident The Niallist once suggested our idealised notion of the music heard in leather bars of old may be a false one, but musical history is littered with falsehoods. You choose the ones that appeal and create your own reality for the crowd to tap into.

Sex and sexuality are an integral part of Body Horror’s ideological makeup. To that end, any piece of music suggesting erotic frisson is fair game. For example, The Niallist likes to open proceedings with Serge Gainsbourg’s “Melody”, whereas I, being far less mature and sophisticated, will entertain anything with a scream, groan, breath, direct or indirect genitalia reference or even a suggestive maraca shake. “Outside the Window” occupies a happy middle ground, with a Siren narrative half-formed from Loleatta Holloway & Sweet Pussy Pauline vocals and heady, writhing synth pads signalling an ascent into chemically fuelled rapture. In the right situation, the track reinforces the Body Horror ethos that everything is permitted, sitting happily among more sexually forthright material such as Dave Nice’s “Nasty” or Smokey’s “Piss Slave”.

Loveday’s versatility and ability to bend genre to his will are highlighted throughout the EP which houses Outside The Window, the Minimal Man EP. While the original mix and “Tracks 1232” maintain a rigid, teutonic stomp, the remaining 4 tracks see him use the original as a springboard to toy with rhythm, dynamics and tone. “Spiritual” sees him pave the way for his more spaced-out works on Trelik, and his own deeper remix of the original foreshadows Minimal Man’s “Six of One” on Perlon.

 

Any techno or house DJ worth their salt has at least one go-to Ian Loveday record, which is testament to his range and expressive flair. In the modern climate of careerist producers and so-called ‘singular visionaries’, his work stands as an example of how to maintain focus as an artist without losing one’s spirit of adventure, while remaining receptive to an ever-evolving club culture. 10 years after his death, his legacy remains that of a musician still exciting new generations of revellers throughout the world – or more aptly, in the case of Body Horror’s blood & guts soaked dancefloor – corrupting youth from beyond the grave.

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