UK techno has come a long way, but that’s not to say that its pioneers have been forgotten. Oliver Ho was one of them, and under his Broken English Club alias he’s still emitting post-punk noisy techno for the heads.
Ho was a driving force for the scene in the mid 90s under his given name, yet his first venture as Broken English Club arrived in 2014, with an EP for the then-struggling Jealous God. The EP beared sinister flourishes of ambience, whirls of twisted electronics, and a doom-like noise, referencing industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle, electro brutalists D.A.F and experimental architects Psychic Tv.
The success of this debut led to Ho returning to Cititrax with the Scars EP, and, later, an album Suburban Hunting. Both served up a generous helping of sludgy ebm, warped vocals and apocalyptic analogue synth lines. Ho’s first outing on Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S came in 2017. The label has since locked him in for a string of releases. It’s L.I.E.S that has seen him harness a refined foray into ’80s nu-beat, and electro, whilst still maintaining the post-punk industrial sound that put him on the map. The English Beach and White Rats (the first of a trilogy) found critically acclaimed triumph, with Resident Advisor and Fact championing.
We now find Oliver Ho readying White Rats II, a release that “focuses heavily on the dancefloor with droning techno, head banging acid and cinematic synth noise”. The LP looks on course to be another cultural excursion into his motherland. Ahead of its release on June 21st, he gave us an insight into what influences shaped the album and its narrative.
1. Wormwood Scrubs Prison
Wormwood scrubs prison in West London, i can feel your aura, there’s a silent drone that surrounds you, an endless single note being played out in tiny cells. Your walls are like black smoke, your a time machine. You were midwife to birth of my son, you watched quietly like some kind of concrete god.
2. The fairy tale of Britain
1980s tv entertainment, mother-in-law jokes and racism. An England from the past, a place of romance and nostalgia for the pricks and cunts. Bastard brexit boys and their vision of a country with union jacks and a fist in your face, no thanks, not for me.
3. Public toilets covered in shit
Human beings are full of shit, blood and piss. The shit covered toilet is a timeless and vintage public park experience. Some anonymous shit- artist leaves their stinking brown masterpiece for the world to deal with. No matter how civilised we become we are never too far from the dirty animals we really are.
4. JG Ballard
His books could be seen as the product of post trauma syndrome , the things he experienced as a child during the war, they showed him how far human beings will go to destroy each other, but also how the most horrific things become quickly normalised. I think that’s what he depicts so well in his books, this warped normality.
5. Francis Bacon
I discovered the paintings of Francis bacon at the age of 16, quite a few years before I discovered techno, but I think there’s parallels there, there is a masochism there, some kind of dark contorted dance, both painful and full of ecstasy at the same time
6. Gilbert and GEORGE
Been a big fan of them for along time, they are like the Morecombe and Wise of the art world. Their photo collages in the 80’s are amazing. There is a kind of religious quality to their images, like they are making the banal and ordinary divine or magical.
If nihilism has a sound this is it. It’s like some kind of blues for the end of the universe. It’s addictive, once it takes hold it won’t ever let go, it attaches like a virus.
8. Apocalypse Now
A journey down a river in Vietnam, a journey through the body to our savage hearts. The theatre of human depravity will always be cathartic and poetic for me.
Take death metal and stretch it out like some kind of tormented SLOW motion water torture. It’s absurd and majesty-rial at the same time, it’s a place where the camp meets the sublime.
I think they might be the most important band of then 20th century. What they are and what they are about, it explains so much, it’s all there.
White Rats II releases 21st June via L.I.E.S