Saturday 10 October 2020

Smokers Delight @ 25

You know, I haven't mentioned that one of my all time favourite albums - Nightmares On Wax's Smokers Delight was turning 25 this year. It's a bit of a sore spot actually, I was supposed to go see the album played front to back in my and NOW's mutual hometown, complete with a full orchestra. Naturally, like so many other things this year that didn't happen, but NOW has always been pretty active, and in lieu of that has released both a companion film to the album and an EP of the bonus tracks included on the 25th anniversary edition of Smokers Delight.

The film itself is an interesting watch, according to the press release I have it's inspired by one of George Evelyn’s (the NOW man himself) dreams. The summary is included in there too: the film follows Tiger, a friendly neighbourhood stoner happily stuck in a comfortable wake-and-bake routine. After he discovers that he may have unknowingly stepped through the doors of perception, he is forced to detective his way back to reality.

It's a fun little companion piece, pretty surreal but with plenty of humorous moments sprinkled throughout - the stoned conversations and philosophical ponderings 100% on point. If I had any complaints it's that I would have liked a track-by-track covering of the full album like Daft Punk's Interstella 5555 or Goldie's Sine Tempus but that's me just being an idealist, the songs that are used are put to great effect, even the random interlude from the album 'Time (To Listen)', fittingly with ticking clock. It was a nice injection of happiness in an otherwise tumultuous week, I couldn't help but grin when one of my favourites 'Pipes Honour kicked in, followed by some of the more comedic exchanges of dialogue. If you find 12 mins, give it a watch.

And just so I'm not leaving you with just that, I'm going to talk about my favourite and first of the bonus tracks from the companion EP and 25th anniversary edition. Aquaself is a gorgeous little slice of Smokers-esque sound. I have no idea if it's a forgotten B-Side or other scrapped demo, while it definitely has that Smokers Delight vibe, there's an overarching funkier feel that wouldn't be too out of place on NOW's later albums. The track itself is gorgeously clean, there's not a foot put wrong which makes the 6 minute runtime feel like half that. NOW's sample selections (assuming they are samples!) are as choice as ever, and the essence of this track is almost a distillation of the sound I love. if you've never heard NOW before and you like the track below, you're in for a real treat; all the albums from Smokers Delight forward are all in this vein, and at the very least in my opinion - Smokers Delight and the album following it, Carboot Soul are a must have for any downtempo fan.


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