Friday, January 28, 2005

The Halcyon Days

This morning, when my Ipod died on the drive to work (happens a lot when the battery life is 3 hours), I put on the Q Essential Dance compilation. It was the closest CD within reach and makes for good driving music. You can't beat coming out of the Holland Tunnel to "Woke Up This Morning" by the Alabama 3 (aka The Sopranos theme song) - the opening track on the compilation. Being that it is "essential," I think it is a little heavier on early 90s stuff - it has the Stereo MCs "Connected" and then the truly essential "Voodoo Ray" by A Guy Called Gerald. You can't get any more Madchester acid house than that song. Then came Oakenfold's remix of U2's "Even Better Than the Real Thing" (which ironically charted higher than original mix or real thing - if I have ever put that on here before, feel free to smack me upside the head for repeating egghead trivia).

So as I am listening to the U2 mix, which is quite good, I become torn. What he basically did with the song is make U2 sound like the Happy Monday - impressive feat or just mimicking what he did on Pills 'n' Thrills, and Bellyaches? (j)Oakenfold may deserve a bad rap for his tenure as king of the melodramatic trance - and for the God complex he has developed during his reign, but he does have a very good CV. Discovered Ibiza and the Balearic sound during the summer of 1987, he produced Pills - which alone gives a fair amount of credibility. His remix of U2's "Lemon" is one of the best progessive house/trance songs. And I can't deny it - in the late 90s, I liked trance - and his Transport mix CD was very good in its time. Transgiving - his annual turkey night party - was excellent in 1999 (at the Roxy - loudest thing I have ever heard - my hearing was HEAVILY dulled for several minutes after leaving and didn't fully recover until the next day) and 2000 (Darren Emerson and the Joke at Hammerstein Ballroom - can't say I didn't love it at the time!). So maybe he has lost the plot and $20,000 or $50,000 or whatever he pulls per gig nights has gone to his head - and trance as a genre is pretty shit now (I happened to see Tiesto before and Underworld show in Miami a couple years back and it was...ehhh...boring and melodramatic) , but I know there are plenty of sensible shoe wearing disco-punkers that have felt the muted 4/4 kick drums and washes of synths at some point in your reckless youths!

On a related note (instead of having a second prog house-steezed posting and beginning to look like a raver), John Digweed has gotten the Fabric seal of approval and mixed the newest Fabric compilation - Fabric 20. He was always my favorite of the progessive house characters. A most understated approach to the decks (no wannabe deity like Jokey) and a subtle mixer and track selector as well (always had a propensity for dropping Underworld tracks in mixes and live sets). The notorious Sasha and Digweed nights at Twilo were how I got into "electronic music" and the way he built his sets for hours always impressed me - music you could dance to or listen to in bed. I will check out this mix hopefully at some point - haven't heard a release from him or Sasha in ages - not really what I listen to now but I trust Fabric and I see there is some Soma (Slam's label) and Michael Mayer's Kompakt on the compilation which is promising.

I will now go put on Paul Van Dyk's 45 RPM (which, no joke, is one of the best artist albums from the progessive scene) and turn the lights on and off in my office very quickly.


At 3:57 PM, Blogger dave said...

"Take Me Higher!!!"

At 5:22 PM, Blogger rajeev said...

times have changed. i can't even fathom emerson + jokenfold at the hammerstein now.


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