A Certain Ratio tickets

A Certain Ratio Tickets

A Certain Ratio tickets
June 2017
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A Certain Ratio229 The VenueLondon19:30View
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Postpunk Manchester, late 1978. Four thin boys - Simon Topping, Peter Terrell, Jeremy Kerr and Martin Moscrop - form A Certain Ratio, producing dark, angular, drummerless noise at the famous Factory club in Hulme.

Factory becomes a record label, whose founders Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus also manage ACR and release their first single, All Night Party, in May 1979. Soon after, their sound is transformed by the arrival of crack drummer Donald Johnson, this increased funk quotient also plain on their next single, Shack Up, recorded for £50 the day after the death of Ian Curtis, singer with labelmates Joy Division. Four months later, in September 1980, ACR and New Order travel to New York to gig and record, exposing both bands to fresh influences which further revolutionise their sound.

Recorded in New Jersey, debut album To Each… is produced by the legendary Martin Hannett, but eclipsed by superlative companion single Flight. Both are soon followed by Sextet, self-produced by the band in 1981 and incorporating Latin and jazz licks absorbed in New York, along with short stay singer Martha Tilson. This purple patch continues with third album I’d Like To See You Again, this time showcasing parched electro-funk, though creative tensions see Topping and Terrell depart early in 1983, and the rest of the band devote more time to jazz offshoot Kalima.

Ratio returned to form with tough funk single Wild Party in 1985, and singles compilation album The Old and the New. Bolstered by new members Andy Connell and Tony Quigley, the group then recorded Force, and accessible pop funk album that remains among their best work. Chasing mainstream success not attainable on Factory, the group signed a major deal with A&M in 1987. Unfortunately Good Together disappointed, while Andy Connell had left to concentrate on Swing Out Sister. However, the ACR:MCR remix set proved far more popular, reverting to edgy dance forms in tune with the ‘Madchester’ zeitgeist of 1989.

With Factory bankrupt, ACR joined Robs Records, the dance imprint founded by New Order manager Rob Gretton, who had first introduced Ratio to Factory back in 1978. Up in Downsville (1992) repeated the artistic success of Force and ACR:MCR, elevated by new members Liam Mullen and Denise Johnson, while Change the Station (1996) explored more mellow, jazzy terrain. In the meantime, Creation Records reissued their classic Factory catalogue, a trick repeated several years later by Soul Jazz and LTM. Early, their peerless collection of key Factory tracks, has sold no fewer than 30,000 copies since its release in 2002.

ACR lay low during the late 1990s and early Noughties, while at the same time watching their cultural capital rise ever higher, whether through films (24 Hour Party People), key compilations (9 O’Clock Drop; In the Beginning There Was Rhythm), and clear influence on bands and producers such as James Murphy, Juan Atkins, Andrew Weatheralle, The Rapture and The Gossip. In 2005 the group again began gigging and recording, resulting in the mighty Mind Made Up, the powerful new album whose UK and US release came in June 2010
‘The songs are timeless and true to ACR’s roots,’ says drummer Donald Johnson. ‘The emphasis was placed on keeping it simple in the studio. Trickery was kept to a minimum and we never took more than three takes on any track.’
‘Most songs we jammed in a rehearsal one week and recorded the next,’ says guitarist Martin Moscrop. ‘We didn’t rehearse them too much so that they were rough round the edges. And the lyrics are some of the best Jez has ever produced. You’ll also hear old ACR influences throughout the album. Teri was actually the first song ACR ever wrote, but it has never been recorded or released until now.’
Live, too, Ratio remain a potent force, and have recently played several festivals including The Big Chill, Primavera (Barcelona) and PTP (Los Angeles) Platt Fields Festival in Manchester, along with Ian Brown and Bad Lieutenant.. The band line-up remains unchanged since Ratio’s last studio album back in 1996, comprising Jeremy Kerr (vocals, bass), Denise Johnson (vocals), Martin Moscrop (guitar), Donald Johnson (drums), Tony Quigley (keys, sax) and Liam Mullan (keys).

Current releases:
Mind Made Up
Force (reissue)
Auteur Labels: Robs Records (compilation)
Factory Records: Communications 1978-1992 (Warners box set)
The Graveyard and The Ballroom, To Each, Sextet, I’d Like to see You Again - Soul Jazz

Wit and wisdom:
‘Indeed they did look great as well as play great. Even profoundly heterosexual managers have love affairs with their charges.’ (Tony Wilson)

‘Play it faster, but slower’ (Martin Hannett)

‘You’re being very analytical. All we’re saying basically is come out and enjoy yourself. Because that’s what we’re doing. There’s a lot of joy in the music. It’s all about dancing. We’re the Mike Tyson of funk!’ (Donald Johnson)

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