M/A/R/R/S' lone single "Pump Up the Volume" remains a watershed in the -hop into dance music and ultimately the pop mainstream.
The 1987 single was the brainchild of 4AD chief Ivo Watts-Russell, who assembled M/A/R/R/S' lineup from the ranks of label acts Colourbox and A.R. Kane. The concept behind the single was to fuse the rhythms and beats from classic soul recordings with state-of-the-art electronics and production, complete with scratches by champion mixer Chris "C.J." Mackintosh and London DJ Dave Dorrell. Originally mailed in an anonymous white label to a group of 500 influential DJs, "Pump Up the Volume" derived its title from the Eric B. & Rakim rap snippet that was the disc's most obvious sample. It appeared commercially six weeks later, debuting in the Top 40 of the U.K. chart and eventually reaching number one, where for untold listeners it served as an introduction to the nascent underground dance scene. "Pump Up the Volume" was also a hit overseas, but plans for a follow-up never materialized as M/A/R/R/S quickly disintegrated in the wake of financial squabbling, becoming a one-hit wonder of rare influence. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi