Nov 17, 2012

RhoDeo 1246 Beats

Hello, after a short brake it's always a bit slow to get started again so perhaps that's why today's beats are of the slow kind, it's almost Sundaze yet this group stood at the cradle of Warp records and supplied this then young label with the sorely needed cashflow to grow into the esteemed alternative dance record company it became. Time now for some Nightmares on Wax..N'joy

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It is not a coincidence that the name Nightmares on Wax is an acronym for NOW, as they describe their music as "the sound of N.O.W." to exemplify the raw honesty and artistic freedom. George elaborates, "Today’s music is inspired by whatever has gone on before. That’s what fascinates me. Soul music is the earliest form of hip hop. That’s why I want to create it. It might seem like recreating what was done in the past, but what I want to do is merge soul and hip hop together. That’s why I’ll bring in the live aspect of what happened back then into current hip hop trends. That’s the angle I’m arriving at."

Forming in the late '80s in West Yorkshire as an extension of Evelyn and company's b-boy crew the Soul City Rockers, NoW's first singles, "Dextrous" and "Aftermath," were both highly regarded, and the latter shot into the U.K. pop singles Top 40. In 1991, NoW released A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter. The album was built in Leeds, where Evelyn compiled the samples that were recorded on two sets of tapes. To explain his process, Evelyn described NoW’s composition strategies stating, “I just built the tracks around these ideas that I’ve had for the last four years. The only thing that changed was bringing in live musicians and editing.”

After A Word of Science, Nightmares disappeared from the music scene for a four-year hiatus as promised in the sub title "The First and Final Chapter." Evelyn went on to run The Headz Club in Leeds. At this time, he also developed their record label, Poverty Records. He returned to the artistic side of the music industry with a track on the Mo' Wax Headz compilation.The next Nightmares on Wax album release was Smokers Delight in 1995, by which time Harper had left to pursue a career in DJing. Evelyn was joined on keyboards and programming by Robin Taylor-Firth with whom he began to record more of his trademark chill-out tracks. He brought in a variety of musicians, writers, vocalists, and rappers, giving the music a greater variety as well as allowing him to take the band out on tour. This album was also a breakthrough into the American market. Carboot Soul was the first album to be domestically distributed through US label, Matador Records.The album featured underground soul singer Sara Winton, Hamlet Luton on Bass, Chris Dawkins on guitar, and Robin Taylor-Firth on keyboards with the Pure Strings Orchestra harmonizing on strings. EASE is credited for his role in the mixing of the music as well as producer along with Glyn Poole. Bruce Wood is credited as the engineer of the album. These musicians became known as the band called Nightmares on Wax and defined their live sound on their 1999 tour.

This was a change for NoW, as they began as a DJ based group. Their new found contribution of live musicians allowed for a the group to operate more like a band than a studio act. The drum machine however, was not replaced with a live musician, remaining true to its original technology based tracks. No longer in partnership with Kevin Harper, Evelyn had the opportunity to expand and better what he and Kevin Harper started. He explains that “Doing the live side proves there is more to the music. People have something more tangible to relate the music to and it gives us the chance to connect with the audience. Also I’ve always had this idea of creating a big band – which is what we call our sound. The main priority for NoW is to prove that we can perform music. But we’re not ignoring the fact that we come from a studio, technical background. We just want to mix the old with the new. That’s why, at the moment, I don’t have a live drummer. The sound of the beats is what makes Nightmares.

After Carboot Soul, NoW did not release another album until 2002. In the meantime, Evelyn exchanged his artistic license for a business one and spent the next several years concentrating on establishing himself as a producer and musical consultant before returning to the creative side of the industry. In 2000, Evelyn produced a Studio: K7 mixtape called DJ Kicks. In 2002, Evelyn released his fourth LP under Warp Records, Mind Elevation. He continued to further develop his new label and build a network of artists.

In 2005, Evelyn started his own independent record label, "WAX ON Records". Taylor-Firth followed in his band mate's footsteps and also started his own label named BlancoMusic. Four years later in March 2006, NoW released their fifth LP, In a Space Outta Sound again on Warp Records. When addressed about the amount of time between the records, Evelyn expressed his distaste for schedules, joking that they made him break out in a rash. To keep in the spirit of network's mantra, Evelyn explains that NoW is very focused on allowing things to happen and not forcing albums into production. In 2008, NoW released their final LP under Warp titled "Thought So"  In 2009, Coming Home was released, this time under WAX ON Records. In 2009, Nightmares on Wax toured the United States stopping in eleven cities in January and February. DJ Ease was then nominated for DJ of the year 2010.

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One year following the entry of "Aftermath" into the British charts, Nightmares on Wax released a first full-length that rivalled any other techno debuts of the time, excepting only its immediate predecessor in the Warp catalog -- LFO's Frequencies. The "Aftermath" blueprint (skeletal bleep techno with the dark undercurrents cropping up in much post-rave techno) is in full force on several tracks, like the follow-up club hit "Dextrous" and the depth-plumbing bass of "A Case of Funk." Elsewhere, though, NoW expand the sound of bleep in several intriguing directions: "Coming Down" represents with paranoid breakbeats wrapped around a minimalist framework; "Playtime" sounds reminiscent of Soul II Soul; "How Ya Doin'" is a great old-school shout-out track; and "Mega Donutz" brings a British spin to playful American hip-hop like De La Soul. Unjustly relegated to the history bins (and even more of a relic because of its radical differences from the later NoW catalog), A Word of Science is much more than just the other great early Warp LP.

Nightmares on Wax - A Word Of Science (flac  314mb)

01 Nights Interlude 3:28
02 A Case Of Funk 5:19
03 Coming Down 5:15
04 Stop (Crack) 0:44
05 Biofeedback 5:21
06 Mega Donutz 5:11
07 Playtime 4:26
08 Aftermath 3:22
09 Fun 4:13
10 Back In Time 4:39
11 Dextrous 4:04
12 B.W.T.M. 2:19
13 Sal 6:03
14 E.A.S.E. 2:59
15 How Ya Doin' 3:12

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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 funk basslines and tweaked vocal samples shuffle along-side simple drum patterns while other instruments drift in and out at their leisure. This is simply an album that need to be listened under the right circumstances. It is groovy enough to make you feel very good, to install a very comfortable ambiance all around you but it is also discreet enough to let you do what you want while putting this on. You can have a nap, smoke pot, read a good book, or simply do nothing.

Nightmares On Wax ‎- Smokers Delight (flac  385mb)

01 Nights Introlude 4:40
02 Dreddoverboard 5:48
03 Pipes Honour 9:05
04 Me + You 0:56
05 Stars 6:59
06 Wait A Minute/ Praying For A Jeepbeat 2:44
07 Groove St. 7:29
08 Time (To Listen) 0:25
09 (Man) Tha Journey 6:19
10 Bless My Soul 5:57
11 Cruise (Don't Stop) 7:05
12 Mission Venice 2:50
13 What I'm Feelin (Good) 2:26
14 Rise 5:14
15 Rise (Reprise) 1:46
16 Gambia Via Vagator Beach 4:41

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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.

Nightmares On Wax ‎- Carboot Soul (flac 341mb)

01 Les Nuits 6:20
02 Morse 6:21
03 Ethnic Majority 4:31
04 Jorgé 2:29
05 Finer 3:31
06 Ease Jimi 5:33
07 Argha Noah 7:55
08 Fire In The Middle 4:17
09 Survival 4:30
10 Capumcap 5:10

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Kenny said...

A Word of Science (in Flac) sounds like only mono.
Is that how the recording sounds? Thanks

Rho said...

Just checked the vu meters and it certainly isn't mono, i suppose it's the way it has been produced.

Anonymous said...

Great site, Rho! And thank you for taking the time to help spread great music!

I was wondering if you'd be willing to reupload 'Nightmares On Wax ‎- Smokers Delight' in FLAC format? This would make my day!

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know that I found a FLAC version of 'Smokers Delight', so you don't need to re-up it for me.


Anonymous said...

Nightmares on Wax re-ups possible? Many thanks in advance if so!