Part 2 – Friends 107 FM

Sounds of the underground – Friend’s 1007fm.

I’m unsure of the exact date but this tape was either recorded in the early hours of new years day 1991 or very close to it. On NYE 1990, I was at a party hosted by some bloke my dad worked with. It was fancy dress and I went as a racing driver (wearing dad’s overalls I bet I looked just like Nigel Mansell….)

The party host, back then a low level hack on a national paper, went on to become one of the biggest names in media and a total and utter fucking cunt! Funny eh? That was my first real taste of a corrupt media. I read in the paper the next day that he was at Elton John’s NYE party?! Fucking liar, I was round his house!

Anyway, I would’ve got back to dad’s around 3am and checked the airwaves. I found Friends 107fm, pressed record on the portable tape deck and feel asleep… I listened on the journey home on my Walkman. I was very excited. The tape was wicked!!!

Not to get too geeky but the sound is not HiFi. It’s dirty, grimy, fuzzy in the most glorious of ways… Music played on vinyl, through some cruddy DJ mixer, the DJ mic left on and you hear the pager going off regularly, a cheap limiter before an FM transmitter precariously balanced on top of a tower block somewhere. The signal reached dad’s portable cassette player, it was compressed and distorted again. And the result? Dopenesss!

I’m reminded of a story with Mark Stewart. On his first session with Adrian Sherwood, he said he wanted a Jamaican sound-system vibe, so Adrian did his just that, turning out a decent Dancehall mix. Mark shouted at him. It was totally wrong! Turns out he wanted it to sound like this terribly recorded, over-saturated crusty tape, not this smooth sounding Reggae mix.

When I finally found the tracks on vinyl, I was disappointed, they sounded too clean and nice. The rush of finding the record replaced with an empty feeling, they didn’t sound as underground. On the tape they sounded ruff as fuck!

Radio is typically an ephemeral experience but for me, these live forever. I can tell you the pager number for the station (081 8407000 then ask the operator for the number 0332990). Then there’s the story of Delroy… The DJ reads out a pager “Shout out to Damian and Rizla in Stratford, they’d like to say hello to Delroy, he’s not a well man, so get well, Delroy”. I’ve never met Delroy, nor know what was wrong but I hope he got better. There was “The Mad Hatter and the Magical E” as the tape cuts for the end of Side 1. What was up with them? I’ll never know… These tapes were like actual friends to me.

Friends FM tended to favour the darker, mellower side of things, giving light to B-Sides and less played cuts. Not so much of the ‘Hardcore, you know the score” which was getting mainstream with white gloved ravers blasting shite out of Ford Fiestas down my way. This was the underground, the Proto-Jungle sound, syncopated beats and dubby basslines complimented with electronic noises. Tracks like D-Magnify’s Manifestation, the B-Side of 4 For Money’s Moment In Time or Break The Limits – Drums Of Freedom, all released a good year before the often cited We R IE by Lennie D Ice. Then there’s bleepy loveliness like Unique 3’s Pattern 12 or Bass Culture’s The Facts Of Life.

Unlike the Dance 93FM tape, I still have this cassette but like an absolute doughnut, I taped over the first 15 mins with some wack mixing. Derp. Man, kidz don’t know about a world with no undo button!!

Now hosted on my Peertube channel

Side 1

Mind Of Kane – Frequency (missing)

D-Magnify – Manifestation (missing)

Messiah – Prince Of Darkness (missing)

DMS – A Brand New World


Tomas – Architecture

4 For Money – A Moment In Time (Rising High Dub)

Break The Limits – Drums Of Freedom

Unknown (could really do with a track ID!)

Side 2

Rum and Black – ESQ

The Chosen Few – Revolution Of The Heart

C&C Music Factory – Everybody Dance (House Dub) yeah I know but this version’s alright.

Unique 3 – Pattern 12

Rum and Black – Slaves

Hypersonic – Dance Tones

The Scientist – The Bee (Honeycomb Remix)

Bass Culture – The Facts Of Life

N Joi – Techno Gangsters

Nomad – I Wanna Give You Devotion

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