Nightmares on Wax
A Word of Science (1st and Final Chapter)
Chillaxing grooves open the album for a few minutes, bringing summer time nostalgia and a twinkle from the window that brightens the mood. Laid back melody and peaceful evolution of flow make the first track gentle and alluring. As the album moves on, it's made clear that Nightmares on Wax do not just sit back and enjoy the sunshine. There's some dancing to be done, and as “A Case of Funk” is laid down before us, the beats make it difficult to not move along in some way.
Mixing breaks with melodic loops and patterns to form house and techno in this way has its roots in the 80s, an answer to disco where the bits that made people dance harder were simply snipped out and made into full on music. It became the done thing to work a bit harder than that, and by the time this album made the scene, the mixing and delivery had all been given a polish and shine, meaning this perhaps is one from the first wave of truly interesting DJ albums.
The art of the mix and the use of the tools which mutate the sounds in various ways has become integral to the culture of DJ music, groundbreaking work from previous decades like this has set the bar for future artists. Rolling rhythms and progressive atmosphere combine to make sonic experiences which occupy two parts, one that wants to move, and one that wants to appreciate the sculpture of sound.
There's bass and there's funk, it's relaxing due to the simplicity but the generous tempos and lively energy give a layer which oversteps any kind of ambient music. The balance is teetering on the fulcrum of high energy and thoughtful listening. There's some experimental pieces, calling on unusual sounds and abstract rhythms, the album moves around the spectrum of genre like a gyroscope, providing ample material for listeners to take home. Loops and build-ups make the majority of the work, sometimes it's less obvious but it's very easy to visualise the disks spinning on their turn tables.
When comparing the music to music of today, there's a lack of technology and a few cliches that perhaps show its age but its well within reach of what is being made right now. The simplicity and catchiness of some of the melodies have a strange magnetism which I recognise in modern pop music. Maybe this is where it came from?
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