It’s 1988 and a young Londoner named Gordon Mason enters a hot basement club bouncing to the the squelchy bassline of a Roland TB-303 synthesizer laid over a fast disco beat—acid house has just arrived.
Gordon, a part-time DJ was well-connected in the acid house scene, and took his camera around to the various parties and illegal raves thrown in warehouses or empty fields, effectively capturing the essence of this movement. He went on to compile hours of footage to create the documentary, They Call it Acid.
Acid house began in Chicago as a derivative of house music that used the iconic Roland TB-303 synthesizer as a centerpiece. But it wasn’t until arriving in London that music began to impact every aspect of youth culture from music and fashion, to sex and drugs.
Narrated by house legend Robert Owens and featuring interviews with DJs Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Graeme Park and more, They Call it Acid takes an unprecedented look at the emergence of acid house—and the controversies that surrounded it. A campaign by the British Government outlawed the raves, even going so far as to create a special task force of the police to help eradicate acid house parties. The attempted closure of Fabric in London has reinvigorated the debate about electronic music and its importance to culture and the documentary may shed some insights into that debate.