It’s something of a statement when a band names itself after a phrase popularised by the likes of infamous occultist Aleister Crowley and Beat Generation renegade William S. Burroughs. Formed in London, 23 Skidoo (meaning to “get out while the getting’s good” in 20th Century American slang) are the subversive, misunderstood and criminally under-appreciated avant-gardists of a vibrant, experimental UK scene prevalent during the early 1980s. The music was a hybrid of punk-funk and proto-dance, meshing together industrial, art pop and world beat influences with a cut and paste approach. Tape loops, sound collage, sampling; at the time the methods introduced to achieve their bewildering sound were as unconventional as the end product.
23 Skidoo releases have been few and bar between since the late ’80s, but they never properly disbanded – a conceptual soundtrack coming 15 years since the previous outing, the most recent offering of new material dropped in 2015. Always shunning the limelight, public appearances have been similarly infrequent. That’s why eyes lit up upon discovering that Complete Control Entertainment are bringing them to The 100 Club in London for an evening promising “something rare, and extremely exciting” on November 4th. In anticipation, we decided to give some airtime to a few of our favourite 23 Skidoo tracks.
1. 23 Skidoo – Just Like Everybody
Opening things with some avant-garde classical, complete with a typically disruptive vocal sample looping messages of “being taught to obey” throughout.
2. 23 Skidoo – F.U.G.I
Collagist hypnosis with a funked-out groove and tribal percussion. Nuff said.
3. 23 Skidoo – Vegas El Bandito
More funk being delivered in spades here, but the punk sensibility and globe-trotting influence is undeniable.
4. 23 Skidoo – The Gospel Comes To New Guinea
10 conscious-expanding minutes of Eastern melody and drum circle energy, AKA, 23 Skidoo at their finest.
5. 23 Skidoo – Kundalini
Disorientating industrial timbres and discordant electronics shrouded in mystique.
6. 23 Skidoo – Coup
Famous for being ripped of by the Chemical Brothers on ‘Block Rocking Beats’, 23 Skidoo bring a bit of brass for the punk-funk.
7. 23 Skidoo Vs The Assassins With Soul – Assassin
Here the band go head-to-head with their short-lived hip hop alias for a slice of b-boy electro.
8. 23 Skidoo – Tearing Up The Plans
Back on an avant-garde tip for the finale. Game over, just tear it up.
23 Skidoo play The 100 Club in London on November 4th – buy tickets here.