Proto Acid House


In 2007, a limited one-sided 12” of ‘XXXO’ by Equip was pressed. Previously unreleased, this 1983 recording was an uncanny harbinger of the Acid House era, which was still a number of years in the future.

Equip ‘XXX0’ label 2007

This was the accompanying press release:


In 1984 Street Sounds released the experimental ‘UK Electro’ album as part of their now legendary Electro series. All but one of the tracks on this ‘compilation’ were written and produced by the same nucleus of people, although the labels owner, Morgan Khan, came up with an array of fictitious names for the album credits, giving the impression of a thriving British Electro movement.

The trio behind the lion’s share of ‘UK Electro’ were Greg Wilson, a pioneering DJ who’d championed Electro via his cutting-edge nights at venues including Wigan Pier and Manchester clubs, Legend and The Haçienda, Martin Jackson, formerly a drummer with the band Magazine, and Andy Connell, the keyboard player with A Certain Ratio (Connell and Jackson would later go on to chart success, having formed Swing Out Sister).

Andy Connell, Martin Jackson & Greg Wilson 1984

‘UK Electro’ would reach the highly creditable position of number 60 on the album chart and is nowadays regarded as a cult-classic, having been an inspiration for the oncoming generation of homegrown dance producers, who’d make such an impact later in the decade. Much was made at the time about a British DJ being involved in making, rather than playing records, although this would become the norm a few years down the line.

One track from the sessions the ‘UK Electro’ collaborators worked on that never made the LP was ‘XXXO’ by Equip, which Morgan Khan didn’t deem strong enough for inclusion, perhaps due to its straighter 4/4 beat. It was recorded as a demo at Manchester’s Drone Studio in December 1983, along with another track that did appear on the album, ‘Real Time (Retrospective Dub)’ by Zer-o.

Issued for the first time, as a limited edition 12”,‘XXXO’ is a slice of British dance history, which has been described, in hindsight, as ‘Proto Acid House’. By complete accident, Wilson, Jackson and Connell had anticipated the direction that dance music was destined to take, but the track would never see the light of day, with only record company and DJ contacts, along with friends and family, getting to hear the demo back then.

When, in the early 90’s, Greg Wilson featured it on a promo cassette compilation of his work, a number of people expressed surprise that it actually pre-dated the early Chicago House releases, having assumed that this was the source of the tracks inspiration. More recently, Wilson included it on a CD he put together, originally for members of the Electro Empire website, which included an alternative version of ‘UK Electro’. It’s from these CD’s that the interest in ‘XXXO’ has built, resulting in the decision to finally make it available all these years on.

Further Info:

© Greg Wilson, February 2012

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