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Hardcore techno act from Stafford, England, Altern 8 comprised Mark Archer and Chris Peat, and was an offshoot of their Nexus 21 project. Of the two, Archer was the house music aficionado, while Peat was a former music technology student with an interest in computers. They crashed the UK charts in 1991 with "Infiltrate 202" and "Activ8 (Come With Me)", two chaotic slices of overground techno, the latter reaching number 3. They were aided in their chart aspirations by the circulation of fictitious press stories concerning their alleged activities, which included promoting the decongestant Vicks Vapo Rub, which, it was claimed, heightened the effects of the Ecstasy drug; playing shows in a hot-air balloon and dispensing to the crowd Christmas cakes laced with Ecstasy; and standing as candidates for the 1993 General Election. Their live "events" were also designed as eye-catching performances, where the band donned RAF chemical warfare suits and dust-masks. They were aided by their resident dancers Crez and John Parkes, and, in the case of their gig at Stafford Bingley Hall, an actual shaman. His job was to cleanse the venue of its "rock 'n' roll' past", prior to performance. Additional vinyl outings included the Overload EP (1990), "Frequency" (10,000 copies of which were on sale for a single day only), and another UK Top 10 hit, "Evapor 8". The protagonists long maintained that this was a temporary diversion from their main project, Nexus 21, and confirmed this by releasing a "final" Altern 8 single, "Everybody", in June 1993. Archer went on to form Slo-Moshun with Danny Taurus from Stoke-on-Trent. They released "Bells Of NY", one of the biggest club hits of early 1994, breaking the main Top 30 on the back of its house/hip-hop undulations. However, some of the Altern 8 methodology remained - this time the scam was to trick everyone into thinking it was a US import. He later worked with Rennie Pilgrem under the name Mr Nex and in 2001 mixed Old Skool Euphoria, a bestselling compilation set released to cash in on the UK rave revival.


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