Wednesday 7 July 2021

A Flip-through

That time of year where I look do a little bit of belated spring cleaning - tidying up the folders and doing the 'when I remember to' backup of everything just in case, I'm not as careless with new stuff as I once was so it's not quite the two-day task that it once was. On my travels I spotted something curious, an overlooked folder with a backup of my then-current collection of music that can't have been from later than 2012 or so, almost quaint in comparison to the beast it is now. But I was curious and decided to have a little look through to see what the state of things was almost a decade ago.

Eyvind Earle - California Memories (1994)

If you've been reading here for as long as I've been writing this will be a real trip down memory lane for you all too, pretty much every post the hyped up teenage me would make is represented in the haphazard loose files (in my defence I didn't think it was big enough at the time to warrant arranging into folders!). But one silver lining here is the smaller scale makes it easier to pick out certain tracks, the more you have the less likely you are to come across single ones after all.

The spur of this post was finding Nightmares On Wax's Emotion / Sweet Harry among the pile - a brilliant piece of turn of the millennium downtempo. It's never been released outside of the soundtrack to 1999's exceedingly British club comedy Kevin & Perry Go Large so it's not the easiest track to pick up, which is a shame - the rest of the soundtrack itself is an absolute who's who of late 90's dance and trance to boot. So instead I went with a track from the NOW album from around the same time Carboot Soul, Emotion could have easily been a B-side from it as the rest of the album shares the same kind of sound. If you're at all into 90's downtempo or trip hop - or interested in getting some in your collection, I can't recommend this album enough. Every single entry in the tracklist is just great, but the one-two punch of the opening track Les Nuits into this one is nigh perfection.

What else was happening in my collection around that time? Well, I'd just discovered that Modeselektor and Apparat were teaming up again as Moderat (get it!?) once more and this time it was going to be an album. Coming back to this one has been interesting too, because even at the time I was of the opinion that the album peaks very early in the tracklist, though there are some standouts later on as well. There are times where it's a little too minimal for me - tracks like A New Error sound great, but do start to wear out their welcome towards the end of their 6-minute runtime. My real favourite from the entire thing was Rusty Nails, Apparat providing vocal accompaniment nicely breaks things up so it doesn't suffer from stagnation, and I will always forever love that very obviously Burial inspired 2-step beat of the opening. In hindsight as well it's more obvious to see this one's ties with the eventual second Moderat album, with a lot of the tracks there following this formula. While I may like the second more than the debut, I still have a place in my heart for tracks like this.

And finally, relics from the days where I spent every day searching for my next electro house hit. At the time I was hyping up Simian Mobile Disco to anyone who would listen, to the point where the first track I ever posted here was one of theirs. In fairness to past me, Attack Decay Sustain Release is a really solid debut, and one of those albums that was definitely right-place-right-time to take advantage of the explosion of great electro that was happening around 2007. ADSR came out in June of that year and promptly made its way onto all my summer playlists, like Carboot Soul it's only short at 10 tracks but there are no duds - each and every one has something to offer.

Sleep Deprivation is perhaps one of my favourite album openers of all time, the buildup to payoff is one of the few from this era that still gives me that same tingly feeling of excitement to this day. The bandcamp version that the Mobile Disco boys have put up is a remaster, it doesn't sound much different aside from swapping out a couple of the tracks and (Sleep Deprivation and Hustler getting 'Club Mixes' whereas Wooden gets an extended cut). Personally I think the originals are better, but I do love the variety they bring, if it were up to me I'd have them as bonus tracks on the end and not swap them out like this but hey ho.

I've gone with I Believe this time, perhaps the poppiest track on here and one I'm surprised didn't manage to worm its way onto the radio like so many electronic tunes of the era did, it Features Simon Lord of the original Simian putting in a super powerful performance as he did on We Are Your Friends. I don't think it sounds too dated at all, not to sound like a broken .mp3 here, but I still have a lot of love for this one - with what is probably admittedly more than a bit of bias on the nostalgia front.

And so ends our trip down memory lane for today, I did briefly have a thought of 'Oh man, I should Retro Review that Nightmares On Wax Album!" only to remember I had already done that many years ago when I first started writing with the 'A Very Warped History' series. Not to say it can't still happen mind you, I'm sure I have more nuanced opinions these days so it wouldn't be a straight re-tread - and I should swap out the spotify players on those old posts with Bandcamp ones where possibtle now Warp has their own one... Regardless, hope you've enjoyed gettin' all nostalgic with me, or just plain enjoyed the selections if its your first time hearing them! Either way, as always - stay safe and enjoy the music.


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