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Trip Hop - Released April 12, 1999 | Warp Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Four years on from Smoker's Delight and, fortunately, little has changed for George Evelyn's Nightmares on Wax project. While he could've easily been forgiven for following the nu-beat crowd and inserting a few prescient big beats into the blunted trip-hop formula, it's all clear from the opener, "Les Nuits" (a NoW theme of sorts, repeated from Smoker's Delight), that at hand is a return to form, not a turn away from the trip-hop style that took such a beating during the late '90s. The lazy-day soul samples driving tracks like "Morse" and "Finer" are perfect examples that instrumental hip-hop doesn't have to resort to the usual producer's bag of tricks to make for music leagues beyond the average. There's also a focus here lacking from previous material; fewer interludes make for a more concentrated listening experience. All in all, Carboot Soul is one of the best arguments yet for the continuing development of trip-hop beyond mere coffee table fare. ~ John Bush
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Trip Hop - Released September 25, 1995 | Warp Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
George Evelyn's solo step as Nightmares on Wax, Smokers Delight, is a whole delightfully irreducible to its parts, which, as with earlier releases, is largely electro, hip-hop, and soul, with bits of Latin percussion and down-tempo funk thrown in. The album spawned a pair of somewhat forgettable remix EPs and was reissued by TVT immediately upon release. ~ Sean Cooper
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Electro - Released June 16, 2014 | Warp Records

Acronymically titled after a track from the 2013 album Feelin' Good, N.O.W. Is the Time anthologizes 25 years of output from Nightmares on Wax, the Warp label's most enduring act. This is an even-handed, roughly two-and-a-half-hour overview of George Evelyn's work with Kevin Harper and Robin Taylor-Firth that draws from all seven Nightmares on Wax albums, from 1991's A Word of Science through Feelin' Good. Each release is represented with either three or four cuts. The only selections that weren't bound to proper albums are the early Warp classics "I'm for Real" and the piano dub of "Set Me Free," along with a live version of "I Am You" that is more powerful than the studio version heard on In a Space Outta Sound. Instead of being sequenced chronologically, the tracks are ordered for flow, with the raw, more energetic earlier material like "Dextrous" (Warp's second release) and "Aftermath" tucked away near the end. Given the roughly equal amount of attention paid to each album, some career highlights -- such as "Case of Funk," regarded well enough to be included on Warp 10+2: The Classics 1989-1992 -- are absent in favor of merely pleasant downtempo material. Evelyn and company quickly moved from rough dancefloor workouts to relaxed, sampledelic syntheses of hip-hop soul, funk, jazz, reggae, and easy listening. That method was more or less maintained until they implemented more live instrumentation in the 2010s. All of it fits together surprisingly well here -- a satisfying, if imperfect, sampling. ~ Andy Kellman

Electro - Released January 25, 2019 | Back To Mine

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Wax is a set of house tracks spun by French DJ Sven Löve that, apart from a few inspired selections, falls victim to deep house's most common foible: ignorability. A lot of the tracks are so concerned with their musicalities that the groove -- while always apparent -- takes a back seat. Watered-down dollops of Brazilian jazz and a wide variety of random "tasteful" characteristics smooth the mix out so much that it's able to fall into the background as easily as music intended for ambient/background listening. Despite the lacking material he's working with, veteran DJ Löve puts together a very skilled mix with fluid blends. Two selections in particular -- Jody Watley's "Photographs" and Peven Everett's "I Can't Believe I Loved Her" (rightfully an underground house sensation in 2002) -- would be the highlights of any mix. ~ Andy Kellman
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Electro - Released May 27, 2003 | Late Night Tales

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Electro - Released September 16, 2013 | Warp Records

The first Nightmares on Wax album in five years is George Evelyn's most organic and band-oriented release. Beside longtime collaborator Robin Taylor-Firth, Evelyn is joined by a roster of seasoned studio veterans: drummer Wolfgang Haffner, bassist Paul Powell, percussionist Andrew "Shovell" Lovell, vocalist Mozez, and string arranger Sebastian Studnitzky. It's not as if the album was recorded with a strictly old-school method, however; a fair portion of the elements sound producer-driven, heavily manipulated. Stylistically, the album is characteristically diverse for a NoW release, with easy listening, reggae, dub, soul, funk, disco, hip-hop, and downtempo all in the bright mix. Amid some well-made but not particularly stimulating material, the more energetic tracks -- the squelching "Now Is the Time" and the echo-soaked throwback dancefloor groove "Tapestry," the latter of which is almost as gritty as a Theo Parrish "ugly edit" -- stick out the most and leave deeper impressions. There's also some decent retro-soul in the seemingly Curtis Mayfield-inspired "Give Thx," which has some structural and melodic likeness to "People Get Ready." Appropriately titled, the album exudes warmth but occasionally sounds so relaxed that it seems to lack inspiration -- more suited for a department store soundtrack than vacation listening. ~ Andy Kellman
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Electro - Released May 27, 2003 | Late Night Tales

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Electro - Released January 25, 2019 | Back To Mine

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Trip Hop - Released February 20, 2006 | Warp Records

One of the prime architects of the organic grooves later dubbed trip-hop, Nightmares on Wax deserted their early formula in 2002 only when it became respectable and a crossover appeared most likely. With the air cleared of downtempo cash-ins, producer George Evelyn and producer/keyboardist Robin Taylor-Firth went right back to dub-heavy trip-hop with In a Space Outta Sound. Unsurprisingly, Nightmares on Wax remain among the best at constructing simple grooves with endless depths; their only rival is Massive Attack. The centerpiece is "Damn," seven and a half minutes of gently undulating hip-hop courtesy of a reedy Al Hirt sample (familiar from its use by De La Soul) that eventually flowers into an R&B jam with a gospel choir. The other highlight is the hypnotic rocksteady groove of "Flip Ya Lid" with vocals from Ricky Rankin. As with past NoW releases, In a Space Outta Sound boasts an emphasis on sound architecture that requires expensive stereo equipment (or bucket loads of narcotics) to fully appreciate. ~ John Bush
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Trip Hop - Released September 2, 2002 | Warp Records

George Evelyn, the Nightmares on Wax producer who provided the template for 2000-2001's downbeat movement almost a decade before it became the bane of mix album fans, returned just in time with another LP of supremely chilled beats. Unfortunately, though, Mind Elevation isn't the unqualified triumph of Carboot Soul or Smoker's Delight, with Evelyn substituting a couple of vocal tracks for the trance-state trip-hop of his previous work. Admittedly, the acid jazz groover "Date with Destiny" and the breezy dub track "70s 80s" prove that Evelyn is surprisingly proficient at crafting a good production for use under a vocal, combining a bare few elements (like the good acid house producer he is) yet weaving them together well. And he can still stop time merely by repeating the right sample and manipulating the bass (as he does perfectly on "Humble" and "Say-Say"). Still, the NoW blueprint of skeletal productions and a clever eye to detail appears to fail him in several places. The faux classical "Bleu My Mind" doesn't even rise to the level of Classical Chillout, and far too many tracks don't even rise above the quality of fair to middling downbeat. Ironically, the fact that there are so many vocals really saves Mind Elevation from being the first bland record by Nightmares on Wax; as it is, there's something to focus on for those few tracks where the old production genius just doesn't seem to be there anymore. ~ John Bush
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Electro - Released June 16, 2014 | Warp Records

Acronymically titled after a track from the 2013 album Feelin' Good, N.O.W. Is the Time anthologizes 25 years of output from Nightmares on Wax, the Warp label's most enduring act. This is an even-handed, roughly two-and-a-half-hour overview of George Evelyn's work with Kevin Harper and Robin Taylor-Firth that draws from all seven Nightmares on Wax albums, from 1991's A Word of Science through Feelin' Good. Each release is represented with either three or four cuts. The only selections that weren't bound to proper albums are the early Warp classics "I'm for Real" and the piano dub of "Set Me Free," along with a live version of "I Am You" that is more powerful than the studio version heard on In a Space Outta Sound. Instead of being sequenced chronologically, the tracks are ordered for flow, with the raw, more energetic earlier material like "Dextrous" (Warp's second release) and "Aftermath" tucked away near the end. Given the roughly equal amount of attention paid to each album, some career highlights -- such as "Case of Funk," regarded well enough to be included on Warp 10+2: The Classics 1989-1992 -- are absent in favor of merely pleasant downtempo material. Evelyn and company quickly moved from rough dancefloor workouts to relaxed, sampledelic syntheses of hip-hop soul, funk, jazz, reggae, and easy listening. That method was more or less maintained until they implemented more live instrumentation in the 2010s. All of it fits together surprisingly well here -- a satisfying, if imperfect, sampling. ~ Andy Kellman
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Electro - Released January 18, 2019 | Back To Mine

Electro - Released January 25, 2019 | Back To Mine

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Electro - Released February 24, 2003 | Warp Records

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Electro - Released December 8, 2008 | Warp Records

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Trip Hop - Released August 25, 2008 | Warp Records

Thought So... is a bit of a travelogue for Nightmares on Wax, consisting of tracks recorded in locales ranging from Leeds to Ibiza -- and definitely many places in between. Utilizing an intriguing studio named Camper Van Somewhere (as in, "Recorded on the..."), George Evelyn and Robin Taylor-Firth keep their productions painfully sparse, par for the course in the NoW catalog. Sometimes they're a little too sparse, specifically the first few tracks, where listeners might get the feeling they're trapped back in 1996 -- when a naked breakbeat and an occasional effect or sample were the only things necessary for an innovative production. By the time they get to "Bringin It," however, it's clear that Evelyn and Taylor-Firth haven't lost their touch for finding grooves that transcend terms like lazy and instead achieve superlatives like effortless. There are a few additional moments of greatness ("Moretime" is a clear highlight), but also a few more tracks on the opposite side -- they may make for great background listening, but seem to require altered states to get through while focusing on the music. ~ John Bush
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Pop/Rock - Released April 5, 2011 | 100 Beats

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Trip Hop - Released August 12, 1991 | Warp Records

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Electro - Released August 25, 2014 | Warp Records

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Electro - Released August 18, 2008 | Warp Records