Classic: House, Techno, Acid, Detroit, Chicago, Bleeps, Breaks & Bass
On Friday 6th June Memory Box Social welcomes back Mark Archer – a bona fide complement to the man of many rave monikers, as this will be his third gig for the Memory Box nights which delve deep into the histories of electronic music. Proving he is a true icon of this time.
Mark Archer first appeared for Memory Box Social at the Horse & Groom in November last year when he took the elated crowd back to the halcyon days of Acid House and Rave and then at Memory Box ‘A History of Bass’ in February, playing a set which showcased the birth of the modern bass scene. Mark Archer and Robin Ball will be tearing up the dancefloor once again playing their Memory Box ‘Warehouse Raves’ sets in the newly refurbished Horse & Groom on a suped-up new sound system.
Memory Box Social is the more intimate off-shoot of Memory Box. In its inaugural year, Memory Box has captured and celebrated defining moments in the last few decades of electronic music. Delving deep into its rich history, Memory Box trawls the archives to produce a broad selection of sonic memoirs to enlighten, inspire and educate a new generation.
The legendary Mark Archer is probably known to most for his rave aliases Altern 8, Bizarre Inc, Nexus 21 and Slo-Moshun. He started his Production career in 1988 when along with Dean Meredith, he ventured up to the newly opened Blue Chip Studio's in his hometown of Stafford. Starting off as a hip hop/sample house group called Rhythm Mode D, they recorded a few tracks for the studio's own label before branching out with different styles including acid house and techno amongst others. Archer was a founder member of Bizarre inc before starting up a new project under the name Nexus 21 which went on to release tracks on legendary labels like Network and R&S as well remixes from Carl Craig, Mark Kinchen and Kevin Saunderson on KMS.
Mark was also a founder member of Altern 8 who crashed into the UK charts in 1991 with ‘Infiltrate 202’ and ‘Activ-8 (come with me)’, two chaotic slices of hardcore, the latter reaching number 3. They were aided in their chart aspirations by the circulation of fictitious press stories concerning their alleged activities, which included promoting the decongestant Vicks Vapor Rub, which, it was claimed, heightened the effects of Ecstasy; and standing as local candidates for the 1993 General Election.
Their live events were also designed as eye-catching performances, where the band donned RAF chemical warfare suits and dust masks. They were aided by their resident dancers and MC MkOne, and in the case of their gig at Stafford’s Bingley Hall, an actual shaman. His job was to cleanse the venue of its ‘rock n roll’, prior to performance.
Additional vinyl outings included the ‘Overload ep’ (1990), ‘Frequency’ (10,000 copies of which were on sale for a single day only and written solely by Archer), and another top ten hit, ’Evapor 8’, followed by ’Hypnotic St8’, the LP ‘Full on Mask Hysteria’ (number 10 in the LP charts).
The protagonists long maintained that this was a temporary diversion from their main project, Nexus 21, and confirmed this by releasing a ‘final’ Altern 8 single, ‘Everybody’, in June 1993.
Mark Archer has gone on to form Slo-Moshun, a duo of Archer and Danny Taurus from Stoke on Trent. They released ‘Bells of New York’, one of the biggest club hits of early 1994, breaking the main top 30 on the back of its house/hip hop undulations. However, some of the Altern 8 methodology remained – this time the scam was to trick everyone into thinking it was a US import.
Mark has continued to dj throughout his career in various styles but mainly on the 'Oldskool' scene playing classics from the golden era of 'rave' 1988-1992.
Pulling out the old gems alongside Mark is Memory Box creator, Robin Ball whose passion and knowledge of electronic music both old and new inspired him to start the Memory Box moniker. In 1988, when he was first exposed to the acid house phenomenon, he caught the DJ bug and has been putting on parties, making records and DJing around the globe ever since.