“Circus Bells (Hardfloor Remix)” by Robert Armani
starts with a stiff funk bassline played on a synthesizer and it builds itself up a track at a time. At first it’s just the kick drum and the bass (NB you might not ever hear that opening part except in a DJ set, overlayed with the previous song) but then the drums start getting more excited and new sounds come online, more drum lines, then suddely everything peels away and you’re floating, like you’re Wile E. Coyote and you realize you’ve just raced straight off the cliff and there’s nothing underneath you, just brazen faith keeping you there. Will you fall? The bass comes back in. No, you won’t fall. Whole sections of percussion come in, too, and these blasts of distorted crazy shit start creeping up on you so that you can’t keep it all in your head at one time anymore. You were kind of pleased with yourself there, you could trace each part of the fugue, but eventually the song has so much going on that you just have to let it all hit you at once. And out of this din comes a siren that cuts through everything; suddenly everything else drops away again except the crazy disorted acid sounds—another Wile E. Coyote moment—and from somewhere very far away you hear the siren. It’s getting louder. On the canyon floor Wile E. crooks an injured neck down the road at a tiny dot of dust gathering speed on the horizon. The whoosh of snare-roll begins quietly, from the distance, and it lasts for like a million measures, rushing up towards you louder and louder and, after a bit longer than you expected, wanting to delay the moment but impatient for it, too, the song explodes back into view, all parts ticking and rolling and pushing against each other, the siren, the bass, the drums, and especially the aforementioned hard-to-describe psychedelic bit. (It’s like: a distorted guitar that sounds like a distorted keyboard, playing a killer riff that is yet absolutely unhummable.) The big climax is nothing Fatboy Slim hasn’t done a million times, but this song is the blueprint. It’s the tabula rasa of acid house. You can get funkier, rockier, more acid, more house, but no club track is more perfect.