My first introduction to George Evelyn’s ambient electronica trip-hop alias Nightmares on Wax was, admittedly, purely coincidental. I was young and intent on filling my new 120GB iPod Classic with as much music as possible. I use the word music loosely here as the link is particularly tenuous, just so that I could march around school showing off my vast expanse of musical knowledge.
By borrowing almost every MP3 file I could get my hands, (back in the day when 100Mb was a revolutionary figure) my supposed immeasurable musical understanding manifested itself as a random and unsystematic compilation of about 10-15,000 MP3s. All of differing quality and genre… To hazard a guess, I’d say – even to this day – I have listened to less than a quarter of them.
But I digress.
The point is, my introduction to Nightmares on Wax (N.O.W hereafter) was entirely coincidental. Somewhere along my journey to musical enlightenment, I discovered an album called 4:00 AM Eternal on a mate’s hard drive (to this day, the album remains in my top five favourite albums of all time and is highly recommended).
Anyway, the clue is really in the title. The album is a compilation of ambient electronica and trip-hop tracks intended to enjoyed during those post Warehouse Project limbo moments when you’re not sure if that noise you can hear is the air conditioning or your favourite jump up DnB tune. I actually first heard album opener Les Nuits on the bus to college (rather than after WP, although I have listened to the album in that context many times since). I remember almost falling asleep in a sudden state of euphoria listening to it, something I’m sure most people who’ve heard it can relate to. It was like a perfect combination of Mr.Scruff (who I’d been listening to for years) and classic Groove Armada.
Five or so years down the line, N.O.W has released his latest album N.O.W. IS THE TIME. The LP is a compilation of all the definitive tunes that you want to hear, some of which I didn’t even know were by the man himself. You know, the songs that are immediately recognisable whenever you hear them, the ones that treat you to a sense of nostalgia and euphoria – but you secretly don’t know what they’re called. The album really is something special, with down-tempo anthems like You Wish and Flip Ya Lid followed by up-tempo belters like Dreddoverboard and 70s 80s. Considering the album doesn’t consist of new material there isn’t much point in me scrutinising the production on individual tracks – needless to say they’re all exceptional.
The compilation really showcases two things: Evelyn’s monumental contribution to the genre and his inimitable ability to diversify whilst retaining his own sound and identity. The great thing about this album is that, because of its large (some 28 tunes) track list, you’re almost guaranteed to take something new away from it. In case you’re already familiar with all the original material, the Deep Down edition to the album contains remixes by the likes of Special Request, LFO and Mr Scruff.
There isn’t anything to criticise about this album. Which, considering it’s a compilation of the greatest hits of one of the most prolific DJs / producers in his field, isn’t surprising. It might even surpass the legendary status held by 4:00 AM Eternal and become the number one choice for comedown jams…
Thanks to Silas for the review
You can download the promo mix here (24MB)
Grab the N.O.W Is The Time (Deep Down) via iTunes, Bleep and Amazon
Grab the N.O.W Is The Time (Standard Edition) via iTunes, Bleep and Amazon
Peace, love and respect.