Tuesday, November 19, 2019

CD Odyssey Disc 1318: Apotheosis

After my last selection walked the line between “new to me” and “from the stacks” I wasn’t sure how I was going to pick my next album.

I decided to go with a random roll from the stacks and was rewarded with this little amuse bouche to get me back on track; the CD equivalent of a 45 single on my road back to regularly scheduled programming.

Disc 1318 is… O Fortuna
Artist: Apotheosis

Year of Release: 1992

What’s up with the Cover? A smiling gal counts her fat stacks of counterfeit cash. You can tell it is counterfeit because the 5s are printed backwards. That winning smile isn’t getting those past the grocery clerk.

How I Came to Know It: This was a crowd favourite at my local dance club back in the day. I liked it so much I went and did something I almost never do. I bought a single.

How It Stacks Up:  This is my only Apotheosis album, so it can’t really stack up. Frankly, it isn’t even an album.

Ratings: 3 stars

In my wayward youth I spent many a night dancing at a place called Scandals; a dingy, cramped and altogether awesome alternative nightclub that was a big deal in Victoria back in the late eighties and early nineties. The apotheosis of my experience there was when the DJ would drop the needle on “O Fortuna”.

I used to go to Scandals at least once a week, and sometimes two or three times, but the best night was Alternative Tuesday, where they played the heavier stuff. This was the golden age of industrial dance music, before techno music became the exclusive realm of the shoe-gazers. This was the era of Ministry telling you how Jesus building their hot rod, and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult turning you on like a tiger baby. For me, nothing compared with Apotheosis’ “O Fortuna.”

O Fortuna” is mostly forgotten now, but back in 1992 it was a sure-fire way to fill the dance floor. It was basically a liberal sampling of the most hard-core sections of Orff’s “Carmina Burana” crossed with a thumping back beat, plus a bunch of other synthy sounds so your hands had something creative to do while the magic happened. There was no better way to waste five minutes of your life away; more if the DJ was feeling charitable and extended the experience.

My CD copy has all the variable versions you could desire. There is the “Apocalypse Choir Mix” (although all the versions feature the choir), the “7” Single Edit” which appears to just be shorter, but otherwise the same and the “Live Action Remix” which has…live action. I like the “Apocalypse Choir” version best but I’ll take whatever the DJ is slinging on a given night. I’m not picky when it comes to “O Fortuna”.

For most versions, “O Fortuna” starts off with a clanging, awkward set of notes, then a synth flourish. If you rushed the floor fast enough you would arrive in time to raise your fist in triumph as the full apocalypse choir from Carmina Burana blasted you with all the pomposity it could muster.

It isn’t too complicated from there. One of two things is going to happen. There is going to be a slammin’ mosh pit where you will lovingly shove – and be shoved – by strangers or you’re going to claim your 2 ½’ x 2 ½’ of floor space and protect it with the sheer awesomeness and ferocity of your dance moves.

I like to think I was pretty hot stuff on the dance floor back then. Not the best, but good enough to take a guest run as Speaker Dancer when the designated Speaker Dancer took a bathroom break or got a drink and left their post unattended. These bouts of glory always ended all-too-soon with a polite request for me to get off the speaker, right when I was (in my own mind) really killin’ it. But I digress…

The important thing was that “O Fortuna” never failed to fill me with joy. As it wound itself up in techno-ecstasy I would pull out all my signature dance moves. The Forward Hand Shuffle, The “My Hands Are Two Repelling Magnets” and my personal favourite, the “Two-Minute Hate” Arm Pump.  The latter move consists of engaging in the 1984 “X over the head” move from the Orwell novel (in time with the music, of course). This was designed to make it clear that while I was having a wicked good time, I was also aware of the ironic ramifications of my happiness. I was an early adopter of irony.

Anyway, there isn’t much more to be said about a single song. It came on, I danced, and under the flashing strobe lights of Scandals I got some much-needed oblivion from life's troubles. Anyone who thinks youth is wasted on the young has simply forgotten what makes youth so great in the first place.

Best tracks: Of the three versions of “O Fortuna” on the CD I’ll go with the “Apocalypse Choir Mix”. The B-Side, “The Volume Is Loud,” is also good.

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