At the forefront of alternative culture and its attempts to embrace the new sounds of the 90s, Spiral Tribe will probably never leave their crusty-techno reputation far behind. Not that it would seem to unduly worry them. As part of the free festival movement, members have personal injunctions against them in most parts of England. Indeed, they headed to Europe in mid-1993 where legislation against travelling musicians is much more relaxed. They see music as a fluid, evolving medium, going to the extent of sampling the sound of their parties and feeding it back into the mix - thereby giving the audience an active role in proceedings. They came to the attention of the populace at large, Sun readers notwithstanding, by staging two huge outdoor raves: the first at Castlemorton, the second at Canary Wharf. Their first single, ‘Breach Of The Peace’, arrived in August 1992, followed by ‘Forward The Revolution’ in November. They were helped in no small part by the financial assistance of Jazz Summers, former manager of Wham! and Yazz. A debut album, Tecno-Terra, was recorded during committal proceedings at Malvern Magistrates Court concerning the Castlemorton affair - one of the most notorious live music events of recent years, and one which saw any number of media reports bearing false witness to what really happened. Via draconian legal rulings Spiral Tribe were forced to stay within 10 miles of the court, and managed to squat a deserted farmhouse where they could record. The resulting album was perhaps a less worthy cause than the plight of travelling sound systems themselves, especially where it embodied the cod-mysticism of ‘chaos theory’ (i.e. references to the number 23). Elsewhere Spiral Tribe’s philosophy is well worth investigating: ‘If industrialisation had to happen in order for us to get Technics desks and Akai samplers, so be it - in the same way that the blues grew out of the pain and suffering of the slaves that built the American railways’. Their membership is fluid, numbering about 15 DJ’s and musicians at any given time.
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