Jan 09


FT16 comments • 800 views

23. Ambassadors of Funk ft MC Mario – Supermarioland

It was an unspoken agreement that you were only allowed to play the shorter ‘B’ game of Tetris in the playground, as everyone had got so good at the (indefinitely long) ‘A’ game that they would hog it the entire breaktime and the complex priority system* would dissolve into chaos. Despite this suprisingly democratic arrangement, the days when D4v1d Ell1s0n remembered to bring in Super Mario Land were immensely preferable: the percentage of people who could get past the big seahorse at the end of world 2 (i.e. those who had their own Gameboy to practice on) was low enough that I often got a quick go. I was a RUBBISH GIRL at it though – whilst my friend Em did our gender proud by regularly getting enough coins to earn an extra life, I kept falling down a gap where there was CLEARLY a platform there a second ago. Stupid Mario.

Although I was way behind my peers in terms of gaming technology (I eventually received a Zelda watch for my birthday in 1993 and soon got the hang of it), the little plumber was inescapable. My demographic devoured anything Nintendo-related to such an extent that poor R0ss Arm5tr0ng and his Sega Game Gear were deemed outcasts**. It was hardly surprising that both the Ambassadors of Funk and Dr Spin (aka Lord Lloyd-Webber) milked some top ten hits out of this udder of pre-teen Nintenthusiasm. Does anyone remember the Mortal Kombat rave single***? I certainly don’t.

Soon afterwards though, all handheld consoles were banned from the playground on the pretense of ‘they might go missing’ (i.e. the dinnerladies were being driven to distraction by arguments over the aforementioned queuing system), and we were only allowed to bring them in on Toy Day (the last day of each term, where clearly nothing constructive was going to get done bar seventeen games of Mouse Trap). The select handful of Gameboy owners saw their playground popularity plummet, and we all went back to swapping Batman Returns trading cards.

Under the circumstances, MC Mario (real name Colin) does a sterling effort on the rapping, giving us some truly memorable moments: “I’m eating sushi in Japan/but there ‘ain’t no place like Super Mario Land“, “Even my ma, she thinks I’m crazy/but I’ve got to rescue Daisy” and “Well I’m back off my Lisa Stansfield trip…” are all classics. However the lobotomised bleeps and blurps are predictable and lazy (even the usually-awesome ‘wooo! yeah!’ sample sounds knackered), and the overall effect is incredibly wearing after one or two listens. I think it’s safe to say this is my least favourite track on Rave ’92.

Novelty was always a part of rave but computer game tie-ins are a different spin on toytown techno. Instead of drumming up comforting nostalgia from kids’ telly, we are brought up sharply to the present. The target audience for ‘Super Mario Land’ isn’t twenty-somethings mashing it up in a field somewhere, or even stoned students failing at irony – it’s the 9-12 year-olds with affluent parents, viz ME (in 1993). And I still think it’s rubbish! I’d rather listen to Tetris Music B, even if I had do so sitting in the cold next to Leanne for the entire lunchtime waiting for my turn.

Watch the (unofficial, but better than anything I could come up with) video to ‘Supermarioland’ below:


*”You’re after Jenny, who’s after Hardeep, who’s after Alison, who’s after Dean except Dean’s been sent to Mrs Field’s office and hasn’t come back yet so Alison’s next now, except Jenny swapped two pogs with Hardeep so she’s after Alison now unless Dean comes back. Unless you have some pogs that aren’t the minging brown and purple ones?”
**R0ss: “Do you want a go on Sonic II? Oh wait, the batteries have died again. Sorry. Will you still sit here so I don’t look like a loner?”
***By none other than the Lords Of Acid!


  1. 1
    katstevens on 12 Jan 2009 #

    Actually that Mortal Kombat track is quite brilliant.

  2. 2
    Tracer Hand on 12 Jan 2009 #

    lord sukrat was recently challenging stevem about andrew lloyd weber’s actual involvement in that tetris track, a dispute which never got completely resolved. until now???

  3. 3
    Kat but logged out innit on 12 Jan 2009 #

    It is absolutely true. I have seen the label copy! He co-wrote it with another dude though.

  4. 4
    katstevens on 12 Jan 2009 #

    (btw I have fixed the broken Mortal Kombat link now)

  5. 5
    Billy Smart on 12 Jan 2009 #

    Weren’t at least some of The Ambassadors of Funk members of The Band Of Holy Joy, IIRC?

  6. 6
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 12 Jan 2009 #

    ok i am still not happy with this webber attribution:

    i: the tetris themetune is the russian national anthem (not written by a. lloyd webber)
    ii: which other bit of the music did he “write”? did he programme the drum machine?
    iii: i find it hard to believe it was “written” before it was performed (as per the bulk of his music — he is a composer after all; he puts little dots on lines); but in credit parlance “co-written by” can also (since some landmark decision back in the 20s in the US, i think) include ‘performed on”… so did he play some of it during the recording? when and where did he get his techno chops?
    iv: … or is this “written by” the way some of chuck berry’s hits turned out (to berry’s disgruntled astonishment) to be “co-written” by the DJs who broke them? (ie as hit-enablers and brokers to the labels, they helped themselves to the royalties, unasked)
    v: or is it like “robert stigwood’s sergeant peppers lonely harts club band”, viz he is in some sense the impresario of the project, his name on the marquee bcz that’s what impresarios like (again if so i want to know how he got involved; it seems so weirdly outside his territory)

  7. 7
    pete on 12 Jan 2009 #

    Here is the inlay of the cassingle, where the truth will out:

    Trad Arr Lloyd Weber:

  8. 8
    definitely not Kat at all oh no on 13 Jan 2009 #

    With regard to iii), the werk db isn’t too hott on this info but it lists ‘Dr Spin’ as performing roles Keyboards/Programmer/Producer. What it IS good at is saying ‘no but this is who is actually earning money from this’:

    ALW (listed as full composer, not arranger): 47.5%
    Nigel Wright (who is ONLY listed as an arranger): 25%
    (rest of % going to publishers)

    It’s also got a valid arrangement grading tho, so at some point someone must have decided ‘this is different enough from Korobeiniki to count’.

  9. 9
    Tom on 13 Jan 2009 #

    No wonder he’s so pally with Putin!

  10. 10
    SteveM on 13 Jan 2009 #

    So MC Mario/Colin was also the MC on ‘This Beat Is Technotronic’ but I’d forgotten that ‘Super Mario Land’ was produced by Simon Harris who up til this point had been basically ‘that UK hip house bloke who isn’t Tim Simenon’.

  11. 11
    SteveM on 13 Jan 2009 #

    I was hoping the B-side of this single involved the theme music from when Mario is in the pipe rooms. I’ve always wanted to hear this sampled.

  12. 12
    koganbot on 13 Jan 2009 #

    Sir Lord Dubdobdee is rightly skeptical that Lloyd-Webber ever ever ebber did anything of such high quality, but apparently the fellow did. Agree that he didn’t write the melody, but that he of all people had the instinct to be involved in/suggest/maybe even somewhat do such a track is still laudable.

  13. 13
    koganbot on 13 Jan 2009 #


  14. 14
    Ben on 18 Jan 2009 #

    The lyrics to this are ridiculous. And it’s not even all that rave-y!

    I don’t remember the Mortal Kombat single. I do remember the film though. Oh yes. It was terrible.

    I got Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe for WOBS, so now I spend my free time, rather unproductively trying to bash the crap out of Catwoman using Sub Zero.

  15. 15
    Ichi Tokyo on 29 Jan 2019 #

    It is absolutely true.Thanks for sharing!

  16. 16
    Gareth Parker on 24 Jun 2021 #

    I’d agree with Katstevens. The worst track on Rave 92 for me as well.

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