“The other weird thing was that there was this band called Crash Test Dummies at the time, and they had a song called “Mmm Mmm Mmm”. For whatever reason, they were playing that song over and over again at the hospital. They were literally playing that song on loop. All day long. So creepy.”
– Mark Pritchard recounting his first visit to Russia in 1994 during Britronica,
Britronica was an ambient/techno festival run by British promoter Nick Hobbs and Russian music stalwart Artem Troitsky. It was held in Moscow & featured the likes of Aphex Twin, Autechre, Paul Oakenfold, The Orb & Pritchard’s solo alias, Reload.
Effortlessly gliding between mainstream attention & underground admiration, Pritchard’s two decade-plus career has accumulated over twenty aliases, monikers, side-ambitions & focal projects to cover his comprehensive execution of numerous genres. So much so that one could write an essay-length piece focusing on any one of his project’s back-catalogues of work.
However the output of this piece will draw attention to the work released on Pritchard & collaborator Tom Middleton’s label, Evolution.
The pair met at a club night run by Pritchard in Somerset after Middleton decided to move there to further his studies. The pair then launched their own label called ‘Evolution’ in ’91, named after a Carl Craig track.
“There was a purity and an integrity to the emotional content of the music [at the time] but there was also a tremendous amount of experimentation.”
It was this experimentation & self-admitted naivety as young producers that allowed the pair to sweep across genres and create pieces of low slung techno, brutal ravey-acid, break beat/hip-hop, crunchy sci-fi electronica & seminal pieces of ambient history. It’s also worth noting that Middleton was also a classical trained pianist & cellist who found himself collaborating under the name Schizophrenia with Richard James for his Analogue Bubblebath EP.
The pair still produce today: Pritchard has since retired all his monikers to solely focus on producing under his own name now (the most recent retired projects being Africa Hitech with Steve Spacek & Harmonic 313). Likewise with Middleton & his now-defunct productions as The Modwheel, Cosmos & AMBA.
Global Communications – The Keongaku EP
One of the most recognisable names the pair have work under. To most heads, their debut album 76:14 on the defunct Dedicated label is considered to be one of the all-time best examples of the ‘chill-out; ambient’ genre. However, quite often it was their coalescing of techno, ambient & electroncia that create unique pieces to reflect the zeitgeist.
Reload – The Reload EP
Reload initially started as a solo alias of Pritchard until Middleton jumped on board a couple of years later on “A Collection of Short Stories” and which then led to create Reload & E621.
On this EP, Track A1 later appeared on the “Theory of Evolution” compilation re-titled “Sexomatic”.
Link – The First Link EP
Another alias that started off as a solo Pritchard piece of work only to have E621 woven into production & create tracks that reflected the classic 808 and 909 sounds.
N.Y. Connection – Bless The Funk
An obvious homage to NY Garage, DJ Piere / Strictly Rhythm, only harbouring five releases, two of which were produced in conjunction with Kevin Hann of 28 East Boyz.
Secret Ingredients – Chicago, Chicago EP
A classic piece of house music history.
Global Communication Mix for FACT MAG.