The summer of 2017 was a pivotal time in my life. The UK was still reeling from the Brexit vote of the year before, Trump was making moves in the US, and I was on the cusp of switching one of those countries for the other.

My soundtrack to that exciting, confusing, memorable period was largely electronic. Extended sets from SoundCloud played on chunky headphones, propelling the deep technical work that took up most of my professional time in between the vast shifts in my personal life. Heavy in the rotation was Sasha's 'Last Night on Earth' show: his DJ sets from gigs in Dublin, Dubai, Beirut, the Balearics, and beyond.

Six years later, and one of them came back onto my rotation this week. It's from Coachella of 2017 (it's also one of his best).

In there is a track by Ruede Hagelstein, called 'Flash Balls'. It's intense, emotive, and also unusual - with a very, very long vocal sample. The vocal felt familiar at the time, but I couldn't place it.

Somewhere between then and now, I figured it out. It's Charlie Chaplin's extraordinary speech from the film 'The Great Dictator'. The speech grabbed me when first I heard it used in a techno track, then even further when I realised its origin.

It's arguably as powerful as any speech given in our 'real', non-fictional world.

And hearing the Coachella set this week - in late October 2023, amid a rapidly escalating war in the Middle East, plus unnerving skirmishes in Armenia, and the ongoing situation in Ukraine - well, it feels more vital than ever.

Flash Balls & The Great Dictator

There's something wrong. Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.