The studio project of Dave ‘Mr Luv’ Ball (perhaps best known for his role in Soft Cell and The Grid) and his then-wife Virginia Ball (a classical violinist and composer who’s worked with the likes of Siouxsie & The Banshees), Virginia only ever released one track, ‘Blue Pyramid’, before seemingly disappearing into the ether. In reality though, there’s much more to this story. Indeed, the whole reason why the Virginia alias was created in the first place was so that the duo could contribute a track as one of the acts on Psychic TV’s infamous fictional various artists compilation ‘Jack The Tab’, designed to create the impression that a thriving acid house scene existed in the UK during 1988.
In its original mix form, ‘Blue Pyramid’ certainly carries the immediate imprint of the likes of DJ Pierre and Mr Fingers, but in this case it’s the moody Arabic undertones added by the swelling violin arrangements and eerie female background vocals that really make an impression as they interlock with the rolling bass sequences and crisp drum machine rhythms, the resulting fusion suggesting Arthur Russell on a Middle Eastern disco tip. The three new comissioned remixes on this 12” EP also manage to provide their fair share of thrills.
Bucharest-based duo Khidja get deep and dark on their eight minute reworking, sending propulsive house rhythms jacking against eerie vocal samples and shimmering minute chords, whilst sending layered electronics and electric guitar samples through all sorts of dub trickery. If it’s easily the moodiest moment on offer here, elsewhere, San Francisco producer Bezier gets heavy with the analogue electronics on his remix, injecting a sense of breakers’ step into the shuffling house rhythms as New Wave-tinged synth arrangements collide with spiralling Italo arpeggios.
It’s Mark Pistel’s (Consolidated / Meat Beat Manifesto) remix that carries the most authentically vintage acid house feel though, as it sends sampled Middle Eastern vocals floating against electro-funk bass runs and clattering drum machine percussion rolls, while a burbling acid 303 lurks in the undergrowth. Well worth checking out.