10 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As seamlessly suave and devilishly clever as ever, Nightmares on Wax return after a five-year absence with an album that updates the group's trip-hop pastiches with fresh grooves and textures. Feelin’ Good mostly lives up to its title, though as usual producer/mastermind George Evelyn and co-conspirator Robin Taylor-Firth temper their love of billowy, caressing atmospherics with tinges of unsettling weirdness. Classic soul and jazz remain key components, filtered through a cosmopolitan sensibility that deftly blends samples with organic sounds. Drummer Wolfgang Haffner (a sly genre-bender in his own right) and arranger Sebastian Studnitzky (who brings a Teutonic elegance to his string and brass work here) are among the notables contributing to the tracks. “Be, I Do,” “Give Tnx," and “Tapestry” stand out for their woozy, insistent rhythms and positive vibes. The fluttery tingle of “So Here We Are” and the aquatic quiver of “Now Is the Time” hint at heavenly states just beyond the beat. Worthy of special mention is “Master Plan,” a sultry track that’s both inviting and otherworldly.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As seamlessly suave and devilishly clever as ever, Nightmares on Wax return after a five-year absence with an album that updates the group's trip-hop pastiches with fresh grooves and textures. Feelin’ Good mostly lives up to its title, though as usual producer/mastermind George Evelyn and co-conspirator Robin Taylor-Firth temper their love of billowy, caressing atmospherics with tinges of unsettling weirdness. Classic soul and jazz remain key components, filtered through a cosmopolitan sensibility that deftly blends samples with organic sounds. Drummer Wolfgang Haffner (a sly genre-bender in his own right) and arranger Sebastian Studnitzky (who brings a Teutonic elegance to his string and brass work here) are among the notables contributing to the tracks. “Be, I Do,” “Give Tnx," and “Tapestry” stand out for their woozy, insistent rhythms and positive vibes. The fluttery tingle of “So Here We Are” and the aquatic quiver of “Now Is the Time” hint at heavenly states just beyond the beat. Worthy of special mention is “Master Plan,” a sultry track that’s both inviting and otherworldly.

Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
22 Ratings
22 Ratings
tommyclarke

the stuff of my dreams

i love me some wax.

dfs61

I’m Hearing A New Direction….

I’ve read the negative reviews of NOW’s latest collection, and, to be honest, I, too, was a bit disappointed upon first listen. Let’s face it: NOTHING they’ve done since the lofty heights of “Carboot Soul” and “Smoker’s Delight” has come close to mimicking those apexes (or apices, depending upon your vernacular). Granted, there’ve been subsequent collections — is the term “album” used anymore? — that have had some smashing tunes; alas, nothing with the consistency of the aforementioned. (I was severely disappointed with their last “album”; although, after quite a number of listens, I gave it the benefit of the doubt.) So, I digress…. This latest, “Feelin’ Good,” doesn’t quite hit the heights of years past; however, the overall consistency is quite formidable, and harks to a “fork in the road” (so to speak) in NOW’s musical direction. “Be, I Do” is simply smashing, with its itchy arrangements, and simple, yet powerful message. The opening tune is certainly reminiscent of earlier instrumentals. “H(om)e” is an hypnotic, trance-like, meditation of something both calm and spooky. (And the title is quite clever.) There’s only a couple of misfires here (in my opinion), with the loser being, “Masterplan.” Yes, the musical arrangement is other-worldly, foreboding, and even outré; nonetheless, the vocals and lyrics are (for me) tinny, juvenile and derivative. Overall, I think this is a fantastic “comeback” (of sorts) for NOW. I’d give it an extra ½ star, if I could….

seedeep

Smooth and waxy!

Very nice, made my morning.

About Nightmares On Wax

Originally the combined project of George Evelyn and Kevin "Boywonder" Harper -- the latter of whom was eventually replaced by Robin Taylor-Firth -- Nightmares on Wax became one of the brightest spots on the post-rave British techno map of the early '90s. NoW's debut album, A Word of Science, was -- along with early tracks by LFO, Tuff Little Unit, and Tricky Disco -- a crucial bridge between the competing influences of New York house and electro, Detroit techno and soul, London rave and acid, and the burgeoning eclecticism of the years to come. Formed 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. The subsequent album laid a good deal of the groundwork for the downtempo experimental hip-hop/electro-funk worked over by Mike Paradinas, Luke Vibert, Spacer, and others, and earned the group a secure spot among techno's select crew of next-step innovators.

The group nonetheless disbanded following Science's release, with early contributor Kevin Harper leaving to pursue a DJ career and Evelyn turning out a smattering of house tracks on Warp's Nucleus subsidiary before settling into bedroom woodshed mode, often joined by Taylor-Firth. Following a four-year hiatus, Evelyn resurfaced with a track on the Mo' Wax Headz compilation and, soon after, Smoker's Delight, basically an instrumental hip-hop album with a distinctively British eclecticism. Still involved with the same sorts of genre-spanning sampler-and-sequencer experiments, Smoker's Delight was also less obvious, suited more to repeat listenings than previous material. The same was also true for 1999's Carboot Soul, Evelyn's first album as part of a deal with American indie label Matador for domestic distribution. In 2000, NoW produced the first new track by De La Soul in several years, included on an EP -- Sound of N.O.W -- featuring the rap pioneers. Following on its heels was a volume in the Studio !K7 mix series DJ-Kicks.

Two years later, Evelyn delivered his fourth LP, Mind Elevation. A bigger gap preceded the release of his next proper LP for Warp, but In a Space Outta Sound finally appeared in 2006, while 2008's Thought So... and the unmixed selector compilation Coming Home followed closely behind. Evelyn continued to work as a downtempo DJ, collaborated with Jazzanova arranger Sebastian Studnitzky, and released Feelin' Good, another eclectic set of productions, in 2013. The following year brought a retrospective set, N.O.W. Is the Time, to celebrate 25 years of activity. Morgan Geist, Optimo's JD Twitch, and Ashley Beedle, among others, granted remixes. Evelyn issued the Ground Floor EP, featuring Andrew Ashong, Wolfgang Haffner, and Acid Mondays, in 2016. The next year, he released the first in a batch of singles that preceded the early-2018 set Shape the Future. ~ Sean Cooper

ORIGIN
Yorkshire, England
FORMED
1988

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