NIGHTMARES ON WAX: Thought So (Warp Records)


Posted on Aug 14th 2008 11:40 pm

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Nightmares On Wax: Thought So...

Thought So…
Warp Records 2008
11 Tracks. 53mins23secs

Nightmares On Wax’s George Evelyn is one of the original Warp artists. While his first releases, centred around the1991 A Word Of Science album, shared with the rest of the label’s early roster a taste for bleepy electronica, albeit tainted with occasional smokey grooves, his consequent work demonstrated a much smoother and soulful approach. With the seminal Smokers Delight (1995) and Carboot Soul (1999) Evelyn, now sole master on board the NoW ship following the departure of Kevin Harper, combined hazy hip-hop grooves and funky soul melodies into effective laidback compositions which seemed to feel most at ease deep into the night.

Nearly twenty years on from the first NoW twelve inch, Evelyn returns with his sixth album, Thought So… It is perhaps worth noting that, while the man has always let considerable time pass between albums, only two years separate In A Space Outta Sound and this latest effort. Interestingly, Thought So… is perhaps also his most convincing record for some time. Following the usual intro piece, the album kicks off with the festive Da Feelin and head-bobbing single 195lbs. The album came together during a journey between Evelyn’s native Leeds and his new home in Ibiza. While it would probably have made sense to ship his studio by plane or boat, Evelyn decided instead to pile the Nightmares On Wax live band and a sound engineer in a van and drive all the way down to the Balearic island, writing and recording at every opportunity. The tracks were then edited once they reached Ibiza, the trademark NoW groove kicked well into place until the album finally took shape. This unusual writing process is perhaps the reason why Thought So… has a much more lively feel than Evelyn’s last couple of releases. There is a surprising energy filtering all the way through, with beats appearing much clearer and sharper than before, while the dopey grooves and lush arrangements are given new definitions. Tracks such as 195lbs, Bringin It or the mighty Still? Yes! Probably count amongst some of the more enjoyable Nightmares On Wax moments.

In its second half, the pace slows down radically and the funky mood gives way to much luxurious downbeat excursions, starting with the heart-warming string work and haunting feel of Calling, which sees the NoW crew slipping into a familiar late night groove. If the first half of the album has a party feel, this kicks off the after hours chillout in style, and the deep soul of Moretime and Hear In Colour only serves to reinforce the laidback mood, while closing piece Hey Ego! has a subtle touch of late night jazz dive which suits this album to a T.

With its double edge and impeccable moods, Thought So… is a pretty flawless offering. With this record, Evelyn appears to refresh and renew his sound while still operating as consistently as he has in the last twenty years. It will be interesting to see what effect the Balearic sun has on Evelyn’s future work, but on the strength of this delightful delivery alone, it sounds like it may well be extremely positive indeed.


Nightmares On Wax | Warp Records
Buy: CD | LP

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