Altern 8 Pay Homage To Comusica In Latest Album
Rave legends Altern 8 have featured artwork from Sage Gateshead’s Youth Music funded programme – CoMusica- in a re-mastered version of their seminal album Full-On Mark Hysteria.
The duo, who are pivotal figures in the history of British rave, have also paid homage to the work of CoMusica on the limited edition album sleeve.
CoMusica is based at Sage Gateshead music centre and works across the North East with young people experiencing challenging circumstances. It uses music technology, djing, beat boxing, drumming and graffiti to engage with young people and to help improve confidence, social development and employability.
Altern 8 are supporters of the programme and have visited the scheme, introducing young people to their music. CoMusica artist in residence, Toby Heaps (artist name Sune), marked the re-release of their album by creating a mural of the duo spray painted onto one of the old railway arches (which are now used by CoMusica) at the back of Sage Gateshead. Altern 8 thought it was so good that they have featured it on their album sleeve.
Having reached number 11 in the UK charts back in 1992 Full-On Mark Hysteria is currently flying off the shelves second time around. Mark Archer, one half of the masked duo who hails from Stafford, explains why it was so important to him to profile CoMusica in this way.
“Back in the day we had our first gigs in Newcastle so it means a lot to us as a place. Sandy from CoMusica got in touch with us and asked if we would do a showcase to the kids,” he said.
“It was a fantastic experience and we’ve been back several times since. Then Sandy sent us a photo of the artwork they had done of us on the arches and it was so good we just had to use it on the album sleeve.”
Full-On Mask Hysteria is regarded as a classic of early rave and has been re-mastered as a limited edition, triple-vinyl release with a stamped and numbered gatefold sleeve featuring photos, artwork, and tales from Altern 8’s heyday. Altern 8 gigged at raves and even appeared on Top of the Pops. The band’s closest contemporaries at the time were The Prodigy.
Sandy Duff, CoMusica Programme Leader, said: “I’m such a big fan of these guys and we’ve been so lucky to have them come and work with and inspire the young people on this programme. To be featured in the re-release of such an influential album is a fantastic boost for the young people involved.”
Josh Doherty, from Altern 8, said: “I was hugely impressed with CoMusica. I wish there had been things like that around when I was young; it definitely would have gone a long way to keeping me out of trouble!
“So often these kinds of projects can be viewed as being well-meaning and don’t really reach those who actually would benefit most. But with CoMusica it is great to see young people getting involved in things that are actually cool and genuinely interesting for them, yet constructive for society and good building blocks for them in the future. Long may it carry on!”
Mark added: “CoMusica brings a lot of kids together. It’s great that it helps to keep them off the streets but most importantly it offers them routes to new opportunities. I was terrible at school and managed to forge out a 30-year career. Projects like these spot talent and give them the confidence they need to go out there and make something of themselves.”