of the week

When I saw this week’s suggestion, I thought, really? Why? Then I looked to see who had such a suggestion and noticed it was Larry Foster, a man with far too much time on his hands, so just to make an old man even sadder, let’s delve into the limited story of a techno track with no lyrics. Ok here goes, it shouldn’t take long!

The track in question reached the dizzy heights of number 27 in November 1992 and is by the Rotterdam Termination Source. The title is called Poing. When it starts, the first couple of seconds sound like it could be going into Saturday Night by Whigfield, then when beat comes in and the relentless ‘poing’ noise sounds like Zebedee had invited his family round for an orgy. Three minutes and 10 seconds later that same continuous noise starts to fade and that’s when you realise that it’s the end of the track and it never really went anywhere.

The Rotterdam Termination Source were the Dutch duo Maurice Steenbergen & Danny Scholte who both hail from Rotterdam and Steenbergen explained in a 2011 interview with Mojo what inspired him, “A friend took me to a rave in 1991, that was it. I saw the first acid house as it evolved into techno. I was intrigued by how people were dancing by bouncing on their feet. Three months later I came across the poing sample, this bouncy sound. I hooked up six months of my Roland 909 drum machine programming underneath. I started as a DJ,” he continued, “and was really into mega-mixes. Back in the eighties it was really hard to find a good mix and I was intrigued by the technique of synching up two turntables. From the age of 15, I spent my night making beats.”

Since the late eighties, there have been so many genres and sub genres of music and this track is known, in the Netherlands, as gabber, a loud and rather aggressive style of techno music that originated in Rotterdam. For the technically minded, one, apparent, important element of gabber is a distorted Roland 909 bass drum, overdriven so hard to the point where it creates a square wave and makes a recognisable melodic tone.

Maurice remembered the first time he heard his track played in a Dutch nightclub, he said, “The dance floor began exploding. It was picked up by the Mid-Tempo record label, an inappropriate name given the sound, and released across Europe where it topped the charts in both The Netherlands and Denmark.

There was actually a follow-up single called Merry X-Mess which with all the festivities of 1993, it got a bit lost and ground to a halt at number 73 which really saw the end of RTS’ chart career. “I wasn’t able to do what I wanted,” Maurice recalled, “I never considered myself a raver. I had a bird’s eye view and it was a track that f***ed with that.”

I learned that there was a 12″ version of Poing that went on for five minutes and 20 seconds. I did wonder if it was just an extended version of the 7″, so I braced myself and sourced a copy. I sat down and put the needle on the record only to learn that, apart from a few poings in different places, it was exactly the same, except, just moments before it finished, there was a break in the music and a sound effect of glass smashing. How innovative I thought, only to learn that even those three seconds of glass noises was a sample of a song called He’s A Burglar which was hoisted from Amii Stewart’s 1979 album Paradise Bird. At last, the middle word in their name applied.

These days Maurice directs videos and works on sound designs for films. In 2011, he reflected by saying, “As you get older, you need an overview of what you’ve done.” I’d say!