100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #84 Joey Beltram – Energy Flash

Released : 1991

There’s still some debate over how it got started, but by the beginning of the 90’s house music had spread around the world from it’s beginnings in a handful of Chicago clubs, a takeover with the hedonistic energy of disco but without much of the stigma. By this point whatever cache it had accumulated was nearly gone; Black Box’s Ride On Time, Madonna’s Vogue, hell, even New Kids On The Block’s Step by Step all far downstream from the early classics, as the MTV generation fell quickly in to line.

Still a teenager, Joey Beltram knew that there was now a sharp divide between the over and underground incarnations of dance music – and unhappy with the sanitised production which had become the movement’s global lingua franca, he went into his basement with some machines to create a tune with a purposefully darker aesthetic.

Energy Flash has since it’s release been analysed, unpacked and deconstructed ad nauseam, along with being used by author Simon Reynolds as the title for his book on rave culture. But forensics are never important, it’s how a track makes you feel that commands respect. Beltram created a monster first by understanding that simplicity was key, that each phase should build on the last. The song’s sinister, whispered vocal phrase – sampled from 101’s Rock To The Beat – added to this alien landscape, the result a journey into a wormhole for people who craved sensory release and abandonment. A recruiter supreme, it meant that a new army now had all the soldiers it needed.

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