However, I would never suggest that this compilation was better than the actual album. As Simon wrote himself in Energy Flash, "Frequencies" was "not just the definitive bleep-and-bass record, but one of the dozen or so truly great albums the electronic dance genre has yet produced". But hearing these b-sides and remixes together does give a refreshing new perspective on the magical soundworld that Messrs. Bell & Varley concocted all those years ago. Incidentally, my suggested running-order is purely chronological. If anyone comes up with a more musically meaningful arrangement of tracks, I'd love to hear about it.
I should add a disclaimer that, although I've done the best I can with my limited home technology to reproduce these tracks in MP3 format, to fully appreciate the full frequency range of some of these tunes, particularly the sub-bass pressure of "LFO (remix)", you really do need the original vinyl 12 inchers (and a half-decent Hi-fi system). As Warp's Steve Beckett explained to Simon about the vinyl mastering process: "A lot of it was in the cut. You've got filters on your cutting heads. Basically, it was about taking off all the filters and all the compression, and just pushing the levels up as far as you could. The engineer, this guy Kevin, would be sitting there watching the temperature gauge go right up, 'cos your cutting heads get really hot if you haven't got the filters on. He'd be sweating, saying 'you're gonna fuckin' destroy me, ya bastards', 'cos if the heads blew he'd get sacked. But he loved it really."
Not generally known for using House-y piano-vamps, LFO's take on ivory-tinkling is a bewitching little number that circumnavigates the euphoric riffs of Happy Hardcore for a more delicate, wistful vibe - all held together by a stonking 909 kick drum, of course...
Again, hardly typical of LFO's sound, although thankfully not anything to do with New Age music! Nice, chunky Hip Hop-tempo beats overlaid with horror-flik string stabs...like Belgian hardcore at the wrong speed.
How many versions of this track do you need?! Personally, I'll take whatever's going, mate. Admittedly, this mix doesn't add much to the agenda, but it's more austere, reflective aura does encourage one to focus attention on those deliteful metallic percussion sounds.
One final point, following Simon's proposed 'Autere Series'. I've never managed to shake-off that rockist fixation with the artist. Probably the main reason why my blog tends to go around in myopic circles of oft-repeated obsession ("will the howling never end?!") is because I tend to know an awful lot about a relatively small handful of artists but don't really have a handle on the wider cultural implications. Perhaps it's because I never fully engaged with Rave Culture at it's source - on the dancefloor. Never an E'd-up cog in the euphoric wheel of pleasure, always a fascinated bystander, more concerned with the new Aphex Twin direction when I should've been focusing on the faceless white labels which were the true indicators of where everything was heading. I'm fully aware of my shortcoming and I reckon that anyone who checks in here regularly knows them too, but maybe that's part of my appeal - you always know what you're gonna get over at Gutterbreakz. It's a comfy, reassuring place. Maybe I should try and change that...