Hear an unreleased EP from the late producer and originator of “The San Francisco sound”.
Patrick Cowley was only 32 when he died of AIDS in 1982, but his influence on electronic music cannot be understated. In the late ’70s Cowley helped shape “The San Francisco sound” working with artists like Sylvester and Frank Loverde, composing soundtracks to gay pornos, and honing what famously became known as “the Hi-NRG sound”. Recently, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records compiled a new collection of Cowley’s porn soundtrack work with Muscle Up. Today we have something very special from Honey Soundsystem — a new EP that encapsulates everything that made Cowley such a legend.
Kickin’ In collects recordings made between 1975 and 1978 in San Francisco. You won’t find a better example of Cowley’s production power than the A-side spanning title track. After setting the stage with an extended intro of pulse raising percussion, ‘Kickin’ In’ lifts off into an endlessly rising 10-minute climax. It’s a remarkable journey, at once timeless and intimately tied to Cowley’s very specific (and devastatingly brief) time and place in the world. The title track delivers Hi-NRG perfected, so the B-side thankfully takes a different direction, shifting to live, slow jam disco on ‘Thief Of Love’ and ‘You Gotta Make It Lose’. If Cowley is fondly remembered for bringing his music to gay porn, here he invites that eroticism into his aural world, providing graphic narrations of gay sex in leather bars and bathhouses that create a seductively vivid, transporting atmosphere.
During a time when this genre’s outsider spirit can feel threatened by increased commercialism, Cowley’s EP is an vastly important record of a time and place. It’s essential listening for any electronic music fan in 2015. Listen to it below and order here.