MANCHESTER’S legendary proponents of the post-punk soulful funk A Certain Ratio, fresh from the release of their excellent ACR:EPA EP, four tracks from the final session that the band laid down with Denise Johnson (see the video for the hypnotic “Wonderland” here) are marching on in such a sonic hot streak as they announce the second of a planned series of three such EPs, ACR:EPC, for early July.
Acronymically speaking, the title can be unpacked as ‘A Certain Ratio: Extended Play, Collaborations’, and is both devoted to the chemistry that comes from offering one’s music out for reinterpretation; and dedicated to another genius of modern times who left us far, far too soon, Andrew Weatherall.
The EP features exchanges with The Emperor Machine – you can watch the video for ACR’s bright, future electro starburst take on “Emperor Machine” below, it’s out this very second – Jacknife Lee, Sink Ya Teeth’s Maria Uzor (who also laid down some vocal lusciousness on last year’s superb ACR:Loco) and Chris Massey.
The Emperor Machine’s collaboration with ACR came about after a chance meeting during an Andrew Weatherall Weekender outside Todmorden’s legendary watering hole, The Golden Lion. Andrew Meecham, aka The Emperor Machine) explains, “It was Martin who suggested we should maybe collaborate, so I sent him a track I’d been working on.
“When I received the track back, I’ve got to be honest, I was a bit nervous because I’m an ACR fan and wanted it to be so perfect.
“I put my headphones on, pressed play and it totally blew me away. It was just what I was hoping for and more.”
It’s all mutual, ACR are long-time fans; Jez and Martin often include The Emperor Machine in their DJ sets and describe the track as “a perfect collaboration of ACR and The Emperor Machine.”
Andrew Weatherall, who was in part responsible for the band’s fiery reignition, tragically left us before ACR and him were able to collaborate. ACR:EPC’s second track, “The Guv’nor”, is the band’s tribute to a true music enthusiast and gentleman who once said memorably: “I had the German army vest, the big shorts, thought I looked like I was in A Certain Ratio, actually looked like Don Estelle in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.”
The track was written soon after his death during a year of loss, globally and personally: “What an honour it is for us to have influenced someone who has inspired so many DJs, producers and artists,” ACR say.
“At our last gig with him in Birmingham in 2019 we discussed a possible collaboration, but sadly it never came about when he was taken from us all so suddenly. His spirit and inspiration are all over this track.”
Elsewhere on the EP, producer Jacknife Lee mashes up “YoYo Gi” and “Get A Grip”, two of the most potent tracks on ACR:Loco and according to the band, “gives them a new life in a new happy home, adding his own vocals and taking the tracks’ totally different tempos and keys, joining them up perfectly”; and Chris Massey’s “Music Control” is peeled back with expertise “into an ACR-meets-you-on-the-dancefloor groover.”
The last EP of the triptych, ACR:EPR, is due in August; we’re told on this one, “anything goes!”
ACR are playing at a clutch of festivals during the summer before embarking on a headline tour of their own in November. Click through for tickets and more information on each show. Those festival dates are:
June 18th, Big Foot Festival, Ragley Hall, Warwickshire;
July 25th, Womad Festival, Charlton Park, Wiltshire;
August 19th-22nd, We Out Here Festival, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire;
September 3rd, Wide Awake Festival, Brockwell Park, London, and
September 11th, Futurama Festival, Liverpool.
Then it’s out under their own steam:
November 3rd, 2021, Huddersfield, The Parish;
November 4th, Newcastle, St Dom’s Social Club;
November 5th, Manchester, Gorilla;
November 6th, Stoke-on-Trent, The Sugarmill;
November 7th, York, The Crescent;
November 9th, Birmingham, Hare & Hounds;
November 10th, Southampton, Engine Rooms;
November 11th, Brighton, CHALK;
November 12th, Bristol, The Exchange;
November 13th London, EartH, Hackney;
November 15th, Preston, The Ferrett;
November 16th, Leeds, The Warehouse, and
November 17th, Glasgow, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.
A Certain Ratio’s ACR:EPC will be released digitally and on cornflower blue vinyl on July 2nd, joining ACR:EPA, itself already available digitally and on valentine red vinyl, (you can buy that here), with ACR:EPR to come; you can pre-order ACR:EPC and ACR:EPR now, here.