Thursday 28 July 2011

A Very Warped History 10: 2002 (2 Of 2)

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2002 would see Nightmares On Wax take a slightly different approach to a new album. Having moved away from his previous techno work with ex-bandmate Robin Taylor-Firth to bring us the stone cold chillout classic Smokers Delight in 1995; which was followed by 1999's Carboot Soul which was a suitable sequel, and showed a progression in sound from the previous record whilst leaving room for more.

Mind Elevation is perhaps the black sheep of all NOW's releases (to the point where I debated even posting it at all). In it, George Evelyn takes a more mainstream approach to the sound that made the last two albums so popular. Now, the mainstream approach isn't why this album is very hit & miss with me, it just... misses something. For example: I've said a few times in the past NOW's intros to his albums are almost flawless, this one being the exception, it clocks in at just over 7 minutes and for the first few minutes it's fairly catchy, but it soon overstays it's welcome.

Despite this, the second track is better, it's a more suitable length for what it is. However this album does have some gems in it, and the first shows itself three tracks in: Sporting a sound progression similar to that of Morse from Carboot Soul, it finally captures that sound I'd been waiting for during the first two tracks.

Right away the album hits a twofer, Following it up with one of the singles and the first of the more mainstream oriented tracks on here, expanding upon the couple of tracks with vocals from Carboot Soul. And while it's nothing like those tracks, or like anything from NOW we've heard so far and it's perhaps not aged very well either. Despite all this I still think it's good track.

Three for three next, with another track reminiscent of the sound of albums previous. Built around a single loop, NOW works his magic to keep it fresh and interesting throughout, if a little short. It may not have the instant impact and appeal of some of his older tracks, but it's still unmistakably NOW.

I was originally going to give this one a miss, but it came up on shuffle and it turns out I'd forgotten how good it sounded. Again it's another delve into the mainstream side of things, bringing yet more vocals to the table. And surprisingly unlike Date With Destiny, it's aged quite nicely. A testament to both NOW's production ability and the voice of Chyna Brown.

Another case where NOW's production shines, the sounds of 70s 80s set it up perfectly for the period piece lyrics laid down by LSK. The track is catchy enough to grab you from the very first few notes and just does not let go. One of the places where the album truly shines.

And I'm going to gloss over the last few tracks to bring you the final one. The last few tracks are just as good as the ones previous, but this last one stands out to me the most, setting up where he's taking his now trademark sound over the next few LPs. Which is done in perfect style by laying down a trademark 7 minute chilled number.

Definitely check this album out if you've liked everything NOW related so far, it's patchy in places, but it has its moments and those moments are brilliant. Those of you who weren't such a big fan of this album, don't worry, the next few are pretty much golden and , dare I say it, almost compare to Smokers Delight in terms of quality. If you're looking to pick this up, have a look and see if you can find the 2CD version, it has a mix by NOW on it that is basically a retrospective of his tracks until this point. (and curiously has the track Thoughts labelled as Heaven instead)

Pretty Fly,
-Claude Van Foxbat


yourself said...

I really appreciate these Warped History posts. I never know which album or EP to get first and it is a good eye-opener to artists that I think I know already.


Some good music, thanks...