There was a point in the ’90s when British music journalists basically didn’t get dance music and would refer to it as “facelesstechno bollocks”. It was that very attribute that Malka and I felt most attracted to. In instrumental music, you could be anyone fromanywhere. The only thing that mattered was how good your tunes were. In fact, for the first Immersion album, we pretended to befrom Germany and were photographed in wigs and masks. This had the unexpected result of the album selling more copies in Germany than anywhere else!
With Bastard, it took a while to get to the concept, which was essentially this: What if we subverted the whole ‘bloke from Wire’thing and had a Colin Newman album without any actual songs on it? These days, this is not such a big thing, but it was hugelytransgressive at the time. The language of Bastard is house, techno, breakbeat, drum and bass, and doubtless post-rock. The onlysinging is a one-line Malka sample on ‘Turn’. Not only did the album not play by the rules of what would these days be called musicby a ‘heritage’ artist, but it didn’t play by the rules of dance music either. Back then, dance music artists didn’t mix up styles as theydo today. This is one of the reasons the album’s called Bastard.
Upon release, Bastard was modestly successful in comparison to the label’s other releases, although widely misunderstood. The title is intentionally multifaceted, referring to several ways in which the album is a misfit – a cuckoo in the nest. But it never meant ‘Colin Newman is a bastard’ – even if Malka’s toy finger gesture on the cover tempted fate on that!