S’Express – Theme from S-Express
Actually Theme from S-Express was the sample of the samples! In Aprile 1988 S’Express reached number one in UK charts, and in many other countries. Actually speakers did not know how to call it: a hit, a song, an exercise, some minutes of sampling, or what. It simply was something new. Technology made available new effects and new tools. DJs and sound engineers became as important as singers and authors, at least on the house, techno and acid scene. Pop groups left space to projects, and we saw the beginning of a new mono-use kind of fruition. Which is a wrong term, by the way, if we are still talking about it after more than 30 years. We already anticipated it: since 1986, the success of early experiments like Sigue-Sigue-Sputnik with Love Missile F1-11, M|A|R|R|S with Pump up the volume, and later Beat dis or Doctorin’ the House made it clear that market was ready. Maybe this was the signal that the 80s were coming to the end. Slowly, but clearly. A new kind of music, built differently, with different tools. No longer designed for walkmans or teens bedroom hi-fi’s, but for radios and clubs. No longer shows in stadiums and arenas, but rave parties on the beach 🙂
Sure, the music and tastes of young people were changing, but we mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that this new music was easy to create or that it didn’t require talent! And this song in fact highlighted all the talent of a superfine DJ and producer, Mark Moore, who together with partner Pascal Gabriel really took acid house and sampling culture to another level through this song. Mark then founded S’Express, although on the cover of this single the spelling was S-Express (it will change in the next single Superfly Guy). In addition to Mark and Pascal, vocalists Jocasta, Michel’le, Linda Love and deejay Sonique appeared over time, as well as Mark D. The name S-Express derives from a line of the New York subway system, the 42nd Street shuttle . And not only does the song also include samples of trains, but a train also appears on the cover of the single.
All we hear is a sampling that comes from other songs of the past, and I quote only one song from 1979, Is It Love You’re After by the American group Rose Royce, which in fact constitutes the foundation on which the whole song is built, and I invite you to look for it on YouTube. All the vocal pieces also come from other songs, such as I got the hots for you by TZ, from which a couple of lines were taken, and Karen Finley’s incredible Tales of Taboo, from which Moore took the line “Drop that ghetto blaster”. I warn you: this song contains only obscene content forbidden to minors; therefore, I don’t recommend sharing it with colleagues in the office.
And here, however, the question arises: how did Mark Moore know these songs? Well Mark was a great expert of the dance world, even in a period when there was no internet and YouTube, and we must absolutely acknowledge him for having done an almost incredible job, because it is really hard to believe that Theme From S-Express is just a mix of sounds and phrases, and not a song written, performed and sung!
In short, Mark Moore really opened the doors to a new era of music, the era of acid house, and he did it with a truly exceptional sampling work. By the way, did you find the sampled piece with Debbie Harry’s voice, the famous Blondie? Uno, dos, uno, dos, tres, cuatro…
S’Express on Wikipedia