Top positive review
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A brilliant memory
on 27 August 2006
Searching for the link between the burgeoning house and techno scene and the former wave of electronic pop, I came across E101 on the radio late one night. The song was Tell Me When The Fever Ended and I was captivated. If Yazoo had stayed together despite all the feuding and point-scoring for six years longer than they did, this is what it might've sounded like.
The first thing I noticed was Billie Ray Martin's emotive but subtle vocal qualities, singing of loss, regret and a whistfull experience that spoke of heartache and joy. Formed in Birmingham in the mid-eighties (a time when electro was experience a guitar-based backlash), E101 pulled together a good deal of what had gone before and added the embryonic Chicago house music of Fingers Inc and Marshall Jefferson to the Detroit techno of Juan Atkins and Derrick May to produce dance music with real subtlety and soul. They signed to London records and this is their debut (and only released) album.
Fever and the subsequent killer singles Talking With Myself and You're Walking are here but the album's other tracks stand up well too, especially Heading For The Night and Diamond Dove.
Even their name is interesting: Electribe has several connotations, denoting electronics and tribal following; 101 being part of a name of a classic Roland monosynth and also indicating intimacy: one-on-one.
Despite supporting Depeche Mode and Erasure (at the Wild! party at Milton Keynes), E101 never broke through to sustained big-time success. They demoed and recorded a second album for London which the label declined and they were dropped soon after. Billie went solo, releasing her fabulous debut Deadline For My Memories in 1995 on Magnet and the three blokes went onto form The Groove Corporation. BRM is still a major talent and I'm still one of her biggest fans.
What more can I say? Buy this album!