Vinyl Vlog 142

Vinyl Vlog 142

Saturday, 11 June 2016


A deeper look at the grooves pressed into the Manufactured Recordings/Omnian Music Group reissue of  Million Dollar Ecstacy’s self-titled album.

Ever watched one of the interviews that Narduar the Human Serviette has done with Snoop Dogg, reader? They often prove to be very revealing – although not in the way that one would typically expect. See, Snoop is an audiophile and loves/collects old, rare hip hop and rap records and, years ago Narduar took him some in the spirit of good humor. Snoop took them happily and a pattern took hold; thereafter, every time Narduar was on camera with the emcee, Snoop would be expecting/looking for more music to relieve of the journalist. It was pretty cool to watch because viewers would learn how well-versed in music history Snoop was (he’d always talk at length about the albums Narduar would bring him), and funny too because, eventually, one got the impression that some of the things Narduar was “giving away” weren’t exactly intended to be gifts. Regardless, it would end up being surprisingly educational for viewers.

Listening to Million Dollar Ecstacy calls Narduar’s interviews with Snoop to mind because, like all those albums that Snoop would end up “inheriting” while on TV, Million Dollar Ecstacy is very clearly an underground pleasure. Released in 1987, the mainstream had already “discovered” rap and hip hop music – but Million Dollar Ecstacy (and yes readers, the spelling here is not Ground Control‘s typo – that’s how ‘Ecstacy’ is spelled on the album cover, on the spine and on the LP itself) was and remains far from being a household name because it did not easily fit into any frame which would let it appear on radio (which, at one time, was the single greatest and most important form of musical advertisement). Likewise, because it was an indie release, getting it where large groups of people could see it in the Eighties (which is also a key part of the ‘pop’ paradigm) proved to be no easy feat either – so it remained a private pleasure of only the select few who heard it. Now though – thirty years after appeared and really made little impact at all on the world at large – Million Dollar Ecstacy finally sounds as though it might be in a position to win some ears and exert some influence.

While it still wears some fairly “Eighties” sonic earmarks pretty clearly (“Nothing Goin’ Down Tonight” OPENS the album with some laserbeam-sounding synths which feel like they were pulled off a Michael Jackson album, and Million Dollar Ecstacy mastermind Schyl Perry squeals just like Jackson too), it doesn’t take long for some very different sounds which were previously thought to be mutually exclusive to begin intermingling. The heavy, mechanical beat which drives “I’m The One For You” meshes flawlessly with a very heavy distorted guitar, for example, to take the song off the dancefloor and put it into a kid’s bedroom blasting through headphones. Elsewhere, folio samples from a war movie add a bit of color between very Eighties synth patterns on the mostly instrumental “The New Songs” and sort of foreshadow Negativland and Was (Not Was) before getting kind of low brow as Perry discusses the burgeoning crack epidemic which was already beginning to grip his local San Francisco area at the time of the album’s original release and then shifting gears again for the sort of comical self-congratulatory “Statement” which closes the record. True, “Statement” is about as fluffy and throwaway as it’s possible to get (the whole track “psychologically analyzes” the great musical achievement represented by Million Dollar Ecstacy in a sort of vignette read by Schyl Perry about Schyl Perry), but the dubious tone of it will still leave those who have gone front-to-back with Million Dollar Ecstacy with smiling faces and light hearts.

“So, as a reissue, how does Million Dollar Ecstacy stack up,” you demand? Well, that’s the catch – it would be hard to call the album a lost or forgotten classic, but again – going back to those interviews that Narduar did with Snoop Dogg – it’s easy to understand how more than a few people could see this album as a must-have. There are some pretty daring songwriting turns on this album that only a still-underground associated artistd dare to make in any musical era, but that they play as well as they do here speaks volumes to the possibilities and inspirations that this album might hold. It might not have had much of a chance before but, now in the twenty-first century, it’s easy to speculate how influential this album could be with the right chance.


Million Dollar Ecstacy is out now on vinyl and is also available as a digital download. Buy it here on Amazon.

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