- Carboot Soul - - 1999-04-20
- The Sound of N.O.W. - ole-432 - 2000-04-18
The Sound of N.O.W.
Nightmares On Wax bring the soul back to hip hop. While the group’s 1991 debut A Word Of Science buried mainman George Evelyn’s influences beneath a bleeping MIDI interface, 1995’s breakthrough Smokers Delight had little to do with techno; it’s a hip hop chill out album, with a classic soul flourish. On Carboot Soul, George continued to take the sounds of soul innovators to new sound plateaus.
Weaned by his family on soul staples Quincy Jones and Curtis Mayfield, George continued his musical education when the first wave of hip hop hit with tracks like "Rappers Delight" and "Buffalo Gals." George joined a local breakdance crew, where he forged an alliance with fellow b-boy Kevin Harper, forming Nightmares On Wax. They released the "Dexterous" single in 1990, but what caused a stir was their Top 40 UK hit "Aftermath." The track signaled the presence of "Northern Bleep," a homebrewed, Northeast digital-break sound underlined with solid hip hop beats. This technique can be found on 1991’s A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter.
After four years of co-running The Headz Club in Leeds, amassing samples, and rethinking his approach to music, George returned without Keith on 1995’s slo-mo, soulistic LP Smokers Delight. By then, George was up front about his musical inspirations. Each track nonchalantly sojourns down crisp Philly Soul production, pulsating ho-down medleys, heavy Barry White pant tones, and nerve-shivering chord shimmers. Its laid-back tone came from George hearing KLF’s "Chill Out" record and applying the concept to hip hop.
Carboot Soul marked a major change for NOW in their use of live musicians. George is now joined onstage by a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, singer and rapper. It is all part of his plan for NOW to operate like a band rather than a studio act. In spite of this, the drum machine still remains.
George elaborates, "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. 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."
The title Carboot Soul commemorates the time George would hunt for dusty 12"s and albums in car boot sales. It’s another indication that NOW’s true sound was there from the beginning; all they’ve done is come full circle. George has a realistic outlook about the way his music is developing:
"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."
It’s been four years since Nightmares On Wax’s American debut, Smokers Delight (released on Warp/Wax Trax/TVT). The passage of time may have obscured just what a stunner this release was. The elements had been there from the beginning with the early singles and import-only ‘A Word of Science LP’. . . Detroit techno blips, deft sampling, hip hop breaks. . . ‘Smokers Delight’ saw NoW pitch the groove down a bit and weave an intricate soulful tapestry, adding an expansive depth to the music.
Going back, you can hear the early strains of what became the much-lauded musical movement centered around the Mo’ Wax label... which makes sense, considering that their groundbreaking ‘Headz’ compilation (whose title shares the name of the Leeds club NoW called homebase in the early 90s) included a NoW track, on loan from the Sheffield-based Warp label.
After three years of hard work, Nightmares on Wax has delivered a fitting sucessor in ‘Carboot Soul,’ released on Warp in the U.K. The new album reflects mainman George Evelyn’s incorporation of full lineup of musicians and voalists to aid him in bringing his creations to life. Elements of reggae and dub have crept out from behind the basslines and beats for a more obvious presence, but the familiar influences remain intact. A pleasant surprise for longtime NoW fans is the third album appearance of the darly foreboding “Nights Introlude,” a constantly evolving instrumental masterpiece.
Nightmares on Wax have a new EP arriving tomorrow featuring the verbal stylings of De La Soul on the new track, “Keep On,” which comes in two flavors (three on vinyl). ‘The Sound of N.O.W.’ also features remixes from last year’s ‘Carboot Soul’ and beyond from Alex Gopher, Rae & Christian and DJ Food (a.k.a Coldcut + 1).
Accutron 2000 reviewing the Warp Nights in London: The mood is very celebratory and Red Snapper hit their stride with yet another incendiary set followed by the tight soul stylings of Nightmares on Wax, full band and all performing perfect replications of tracks from ‘Carboot Soul.’
Nightmares on Wax, Red Snapper and Two Lone Swordsmen amongst many on new Sugar Hill Remixed project in stores right now.
They have been called the best DJs of the world. They are easy & playful with their horns, bass lines & beats. Chat withNightmares on Wax live from Montreux, Switzerland. Saturday, July 10, 2:00 PM (ET) on SonicNet.