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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Move Any Mountain - Progen 91"

The Shamen - "Move Any Mountain - Progen 91" (1991)

This song was so popular that whole albums of remixes were released.

 The entire U.K. was in love with this song and one of the albums released had sixteen samples from the song broken out on separate tracks so that the home listener/burgeoning dance producer could create their own version. The song is a blend of electronic effects, drum track, orchestra hits, really tinny keyboard solos, drone-like spoken verses, an out of nowhere rap, and a positive message melodically sung for a chorus. I like the message and in fact I think the vocals here are pretty good. The drone, and the mechanical nature of the music makes me think of being beaten down and defeated, but the verses and chorus are uplifting and both of the rap interludes are upbeat. Such powerful positive lyrics means that on second listening I can't help but hear the song as more about positive energy, but I still say on first listen that such a mechanical sound and droning verses makes the song seem downbeat.

The Shamen started life as a psychedelic indie rock band from Scotland. Over the course of a few years they lost some vocalists, a keyboardist, and their drummer, so that by 1990 they were just four members, two of which had never been on an album. One of those was a female singer, who appeared on the Album En-Tact but not this specific track. Rap vocalist Mr. C was also new to the band, but you can hear him twice on this track. Will Sinnott had been with the band a few years as bassist, vocalist and keyboardist, and rounding on the act was only original member left; Colin Angus, on guitars keyboard and vocals. As the four got together to record the album, they continued on in the direction of electronic dance music, which Sinnott and Angus had been pushing the band towards since their previous album. The new dance sound  gave them the biggest hits of their career to that point, and so they were given money to record a video. Tragically, just days after the video for this song was shot, Sinnott drowned in the very waters they had been filming in. The band continued to record and perform, getting more popular until finally imploding in a huge fight with their label in 1996, though they did release an independent album in 1998 before splitting for good.

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