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Nightmares On Wax, "In A Space Outta Sound"

Noticeably stepping away from 2002's accessible Mind Elevation, in particular its almost radio-friendly verse-chorus-verse cuts, the latest N.O.W. album serves not as a return to form but rather as a bridge between that album and the tokeworthy downtempo delights of his post-bleep back catalog.


Boasting stellar production that shames his gaggle of imitators, the results are by-and-large gratifying, but can prove somewhat grating due to an unyielding sense of repetition. No one can deny that George Evelyn knows how to lay down a damn fine groove. How effective he is translating that into a proper song remains up for debate. Case in point: although exhibiting a solid foundation, opener "Passion" just begged for something more than herbal accompaniment to prevent me from skipping through at its midpoint, a rather rough way to start off an album.

However, Evelyn knows how to take total control of his listeners, blunted or otherwise, and applies himself towards such means on several occasions here. No true roots reggae devotee could possibly pass over the sun-drenched "Flip Ya Lid", with classic toasting, subtly dubby echoes, and a bassline begging for a massive sound system. "I Am You" is good old fashioned American blues put through the N.O.W. ringer, lyrically sparse but sonically infused with sincere emotion and spirituality. "Damn" stands out as the true gem of this record, brimming with soulful R&B sensibility and a hefty dollop of uplifting gospel, starkly contrasting with the desperation of the lyrics.

His best album since the essential Carboot Soul, In A Space Outta Sound goes down easy for purists and novices alike, proving that despite even my own protests, Warp isn't completely useless these days.



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Foetus, "Soak"

cover imageWell, I can honestly say that I have never heard another album quite like this one and I presumably never will again, as Soak is an extremely deranged and over-the-top effort—even by Foetus' inflated standards.  That does not necessarily mean that I like it, but I cannot help but admire its complexity, variety, epic scope, and sheer operatic bombast.  In fact, I am quite sure that potential likability was the furthest thing from Thirlwell's mind during these recordings, as Soak resembles nothing less than a mad genius with seemingly unlimited imagination, time, and resources concocting the most kaleidoscopic lunacy possible simply because he can.  We get to hear it, but this is clearly an album that Thirlwell made with himself as the target audience.

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