30 October 2007

Pangaea - Coiled (Hessle Audio 12")

The second Hessle Audio release comes from Leeds-based Pangaea, who also co-runs the label with Ramadanman and Ben UFO. Powered by a one-note bass pulse, "Coiled" is a perfect title for the lead cut, with it's tense, scuttling rhythm that seethes with surpressed energy and violence, augmented by the barest touches of spooked-out nocturnal ambience. At the drop, the track descends into near silence, riding on the distant, brooding atmospherics. "Nest" follows a similar path, but with a writhing subsonic undercurrent and a soaring flute-like melody adding some additional warmth to Pangaea's grey, paranoid visions. Finally, "Deviant" eases off the sub-frequencies in favour of a harder, driving kick drum pattern and rolling, filtered percussion loops that could almost fit into a minimal techno set. The breathy pads and haunting cello add a subtly shifting soundtrack element, similar is atmosphere to Moving Ninja's "Formations EP". Understated yet powerfully evocative, for me "Deviant" is another shining example of how dubstep can work as a texturally-developed listening experience beyond the bass-centric obsessions of the soundsystem.

(first published in Woofah #2)


Smiths 'Horror Bags' Promotional Item, 1977. Retrieved from Annex Archive.

For more lost UK Horror gems, check The Cobwebbed Room.

25 October 2007


Whilst googling for info on Sheffield-lore (for a forthcoming blog post) I came across the 'mind spillage' of Noise Heat Power, the website of one Damon Fairclough. It's a bit like a blog in the sense that its an outlet for Damon to thrust all the detritus of his life onto the worldwide web. But what concerns us here is "Destroyed By Gods" - a very personal tour through the musical heritage of Sheffield from 1980 onwards. As someone who's always been an admirer of the Sheffield sound(s) from afar, I found Damon's observations of life in the thick of all that activity very compelling and evocative of the era. He also has some very perceptive comments to make in relation to the music as well. It's a great read and an unusual mix that wanders through various points in the Steel City's musical evolution in non-chronological fashion, throwing up some unusual stylistic juxtapositions. Whilst covering the classic early Warp 'bleep' era, it also delves further back to Sheffield's earlier phase in the Post-Punk/New Pop age, along with some of the forgotten future-funk excursions of the mid-eighties (who remembers Chakk and The Box these days?!). Here's a few additional comments about the mix from Damon, that come from our recent e-mail correspondence...

There are a couple of beat-matched passages but it's mostly segued. To genuine DJ ears it will no doubt sound rather rudimentary; I'm not a DJ, have never played out anywhere, and just fiddle with MP3s for my own listening joy. Besides, with the variety of styles it doesn't really build a groove as such; it's more about trying to put different sounds and moods together in a way that seems 'right' and expresses something that I feel about the city. It's quite personal in this regard - there are far more 'typical' pieces by Cabaret Voltaire for instance, but the ones I've included are the tracks that coincided with my own immersion into the scene and that I felt had an atmosphere of the Sheffield I was growing into.

I should add that I no longer live in Sheffield - I've been in Liverpool since 1995, so for me the city has kind of 'frozen' as a memory; the Sheffield I now go and visit is ever-changing and feels quite different. I suppose it's the same everywhere. So in thinking about concrete and brutalism and raw electronics, I'm aware that this is a Sheffield that is fast disappearing; a good thing too for those who still live there, but I'll always remember the creativity and energy in that seemingly desolate landscape - my 'long lost 1984 of the soul'.

24 October 2007


BENGA (Tempa / Big Apple)
ROSSI B (Heavy Artillery)
TODDLA T (1965 / Small Arms Fiya)
Dub Boy
Brother Wetlands

Friday 2nd November @ The Croft, Stokes Croft, Bristol
9pm - 4am. £5 b4 11/NUS. £7 after

Check Dub Boy's latest Dancehall Mix @ Spannered

22 October 2007


Opening with the sound of channel surfing through the Capitol's airwaves, the latest Blogariddim podcast picks through the bones of Grime's first wave of instrumental adventures, care of Alex Bok-Bok. Similar in concept to Paul Autonomic's "Rude Interlude" from last year, "69 Allstars" exhumes and reanimates the energy of pirate radio circa 2003-04, and the resulting rush of sound presents a compelling argument for the reassessment of this fascinating period of 'nuum activity. I've a got a stack of old 12" records from this period, plus a bunch of those lo-rez MP3s that circulated at the time, many of which are included here, and I sometimes think I need to express some love for those forgotten gems, as this was the period when Grime really meant something to me as an exploratory instrumental genre in it's own right, before the focus on artists. But Alex does a fine job of that himself. Time to refresh yours ears...

17 October 2007


Following the genre-busting techno crossover of his debut, Bristol's Tom Ford returns with a contemplative second release. In a similar way to Burial's ghosted 2-Step laments, "Roll With The Punches" feels like an elegy, only this time the subject of mourning is primordial Grime at the peak of it's inhuman powers circa 2002-04. Opening with a plangent keyboard motif, the rhythm gradually builds on a bed of subsonic throb, featuring gently insistent metallic 'cock-back' samples and moody synth undercurrent. Then, midway through, a pure squarewave melody swoops upward from the void; a plaintive expression of loss and longing that transforms the track into a funeral hymn bathed in Eski-afterglow.

With it's German title, one might expect "Die Bruke" ('The Bridge') to be a continuation of the Hardwax-aware hypnotic minimalism of "The Grind" from his debut, and there's certainly elements of that in the galloping hi-hats, cyclic keyboard undulations and amorphous backdrop of echo-fx that pervade throughout. But here Peverelist imbues his music with greater structure and development, featuring a lead-synth refrain with an unusual envelope shape reminiscent of some of the textures used by Throbbing Gristle on their "20 Jazz Funk Greats" album. Understated yet highly absorbing, "Die Bruke" is another uniquely personal detour along the dubstep highway.

15 October 2007


Long ago, Kraftwerk's electromagnetic pulse sent a ripple through the desolate streets of Detroit, and ever since it's almost as though the Motor City became a German satellite state, no more apparent than in the work of afro-germaniacs Dopplereffekt, a notoriously media-shy collective who hide behind German pseudonyms and have clung to an unshakable vision as militant and uncompromising as anything from the U.R. or Drexcyia camps. I've been listening to them quite a bit recently on account of two releases this year.

The first is "Gesamtkunstwerk" (which I reckon translates as 'complete work of art'), a collection of some of their earliest, most hard-to-find mid-'90s material, care of Rotterdam's Clone Classics label. Typically propelled by magnetic mid-paced 808 electro beats and robotic basslines, riffs and bleeps, it was a brutally one-dimensional sound - almost a caricature of the stiff, artificial, sequencer-driven tones of the (pre-MIDI) analogue age. Occasionally they would employ deadpan, sexless vocals that only added to the odd feeling that they were taking the piss, rather than homaging. On "Scientist", the voice intoned "sitting in the laboratory, conducting experiments, analysing data...I am a scientist", coming across like a straight-faced parody of Kraftwerk at their cloyingly childlike best, ie "Pocket Calculator". But there was also an added pornographic streak that occasionally manifested itself, particularly on "Plastiphilia 2", where that cruelly emotionless voice stated "I want to make love to a manequin, I want to fuck it, I want to suck it...", twisting the theme of Kraftwerk's "Showroom Dummies" and taking it somewhere far less healthy. And don't tell me there weren't some mischievous implications in a track title like "Superior Race". Maybe Dopplereffekt were being absolutely sincere when they recorded these tracks , but to my English ears it's like Spitting Image sending-up Kraftwerk with an almost cartoon-like impersonation of 'Germanic' tendencies. But that doesn't mean I'm not into it - I need all the laughs I can get right now, plus I really do admire the retro-primitive austerity of the music, like an even more reduced version of early Model 500. And when they added a little more melodic colour and movement on tracks like "Infophysics", the results were spine-tinglingly sublime.

The other album is another animal entirely. "Calabi Yau Space" is a collection of new material released on Rephlex a few months ago. Gone are the vocals, so too nearly all the beats. Dopplereffekt in 2007 come across as more sophisticated technocrats, concerned with the subtleties of electronic texture and melody. But their sound is still steadfastly retro in it's outlook, sculpted from the sort of voluptuous analogue synth patches that trigger instant flashbacks to the golden age of transistorised electronic exploration. Yes, you can still hear Kraftwerk's disembodied influence floating through the synthetic miasma, via those luscious arpeggios and ghostly choral pads, particularly evident on tracks like "Non Vanishing Harmonic Spinor", but also perhaps shades of mid/late-'70s Tangerine Dream, Jarre, Moroder, etc, plus the strange modulations and dramatic flourishes of prime Radiophonic-style incidental electronica, or even Morton Subotnik's early analogue work "Silver Apples Of The Moon" shining through on tracks like"Holomorphic n-O Form". Sometimes the mood is one of warmth and elation, othertimes it's wallowing in reverie or spooked-out tension, but "Calabi Yau Space" is never less than compelling in it's 'back-to-analogue' revisionist stance. Certainly one of the most satisfying examples of the phenomenon I've heard since DMX Krew's "Collapse Of The Wavefunction" series.

13 October 2007


Last night's concert at the Cube Microplex was a blast. First on the agenda was resident sound-boffin V.i., who specialises in dramatically minimal live electronic improvisations full of terrifying subsonic frequencies that pushed the Cube's soundsystem to the limits of endurance. The subsequent crackling and rattling emanating from the speaker stacks as they shuddered in distress added an additional point of interest! The nearest comparison I could make would be with Pan Sonic/Sahko Recordings, and speaking to him afterwards V.i. acknowledged their influence. He'd dragged his son along to the event as well, and I spotted the kid dutifully watching his old man from the sidelines, although wisely the little chap chose to wear ear muffs. V.i. has no immediate plans to release anything, although he often records his live performances. He has a website here, for anyone interested in finding out more.

By contrast Hungarian duo Agaskodo Teliverek ('The Rearing Stallions'!) were practically light relief, performing their hi-octane surf-guitar instrumentals with pounding machine beats whilst dressed in matching uniforms of white face make-up, tight t-shirts, red shorts and white socks and plimsolls. It shouldn't have worked, but somehow it did, and me and the Doppelganger were bouncing around enthusiastically, which isn't easy in a seated venue! I had to take a picture just to prove I hadn't dreamt the whole thing...

The main attraction was DJ/Rupture sparring with guitarist Andy Moor. Rupture's selection of grimey bass riddims gelled surprisingly well with Moor's exploratory fretboard antics. His use of violent, mangled blues chords and detuned strings made me think of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive". In fact at one point it sounded like Syd Barrett jamming with Slew Dem. Occasionally they'd veer off into total free improvisation, with Rupture conjuring some extraordinarily obnoxious sounds purely from vinyl manipulation. I was getting into it, but then Doppelganger muttered something in my ear along the lines of "my kids could do that" which kinda broke the spell. But all told it was fascinating to watch these two men, of widely differing age and background, drawing on their experience to create something fresh and spontaneous. I shall treasure the 'Live In France' bootleg CD they gave me. There's a track available to download over at DJ/Rupture's blog. Check it...

And then of course there was me. Providing four hours of cool muzak in the bar is nothing to an old pro of my calibre. I took it really easy, just playing tunes at a leisurely pace and drinking a few beers along the way. I brought along far more music than I actually needed, but over the course of the evening I played a bunch of oldies from the likes of Miles Davis, Cluster, Aphex Twin, Jacob's Optical Stairway, Alice Coltrane, Black Dog, Wagon Christ, Photek, KLF, Autechre, Renegade Soundwave and J. Magik, plus a bit of Scandinavian Skweee and not forgetting Doppelganger's Lord Depth remix. When the live acts were on I'd just leave an ambient CD playing at low volume and wander into the auditorium to check the vibes. I stepped up my game at the end though, actually doing some proper mixing, spinning dubstep from all the usual suspects - Kode 9, Mala, Coki, Pinch, 2562, Peverelist, Gatekeeper etc, and finished the evening with a couple of deep dubby techno numbers from the two Svens, Schienhammer and Weisemann. To be honest I don't think anyone was taking a blind bit of notice, but it was all very enjoyable and I'd be happy to do it again if ever they ask me. Cheers!

08 October 2007


How to successfully translate a soundsystem-orientated genre like dubstep into the home listening album format whilst remaining true to it's core values? One obvious route to the nation's earbuds and coffee tables would involve the employment of vocals, but would this alienate the scene's hardcore audience? No doubt Rob Ellis, aka Bristol's dubstep godfather Pinch, has spent many hours pondering on this problem. In the end, the decision was simply too close to call, so he's taken the bold step of releasing his debut album in both vocal and instrumental form, giving listeners the opportunity to choose the one that best suits their needs.

So CD1 opens with the familiar, edgy rhythms and swerving bass of Pinch's 2005 anthem 'Qawwali', now renamed 'Brighter Day' in reference to the lyrics added by Dub War resident MC Juakali. 'Qawwali' has been an undisputed anthem at Dub War, and no doubt the NYC crowd are used to hearing Juakali vocalising over the track, but for everyone else, the first time you hear his forthright vocal style rampaging across Qawwali's introspective mood is a bit of a shock. But actually the juxtoposition works surprisingly well. By enforcing a verse/chorus structure, the sparse, ponderous arrangements take on new life as musical hooks and punctuations within Juakali's flow. In short, it sounds catchy as fuck. Perhaps not quite Top 40 material, but still a startling shift in emphasis and energy.

From there, the album delves into previously unheard territory, with Pinch looking closer to home for collaboration with Bristolian chanteuse Yolanda, who's earthy, soulful pipes grace two tracks, 'Get Up' and 'Battered'. The precedent of co-opting female soul singers has a long and successful lineage in Bristol's urban underground, and Pinch's decision to work with such a powerfully expressive vocalist could prove to be as significant as when Massive Attack first invited Shara Nelson into the studio. Time will tell! A more adventurous application of 'feminine pressure' occures on "Angels In The Rain" which features the Indian harmonies of Indi Khur, who has previously collaborated with fellow Bristolian producer Atki2. Indi's exotic mantra blends beautifully with Pinch's textural palette of piano arpeggios and radiant drones. But the finest moment of all is surely "One Blood, One Source", a collaboration with another local vocalist called Rudey Lee. Rudey's sweet vocal style, delivered with a silky Lovers touch yet with deep-rooted lyrical depth, perfectly complements one of Pinch's most melodically enchanting arrangements to date.

Having become accustomed to the vocalised disc, one might assume that the instrumental-only version would merely sound like a collection of backing tracks waiting for a point of focus, or even a readymade karaoke disc for all those budding MCs and vocalists to version over...? But it's a testement to Pinch's production skills that CD2 is a completely satisfying listening experience in it's own right. His beats may be dry, brittle and emaciated but the hair-trigger percussive ticks that flicker pensively around the central halfstep grooves are full of nervous, urgent energy. Within these beats, Pinch weaves dark magical arrangements, full of eerie, amorphous textures, dubbed-out synth, suspense-filled pads, and it goes without saying that the bass frequencies are weighty throughout. At times there is a mood similar to some of the best moments in album-orientated electronica from the first half of the '90s - think Autechre's "Incunabula" or Black Dog's "Bytes" - but this is pure coincidence, as I know for a fact that Pinch is oblivious to this particular corner of dance music history.

Tellingly, two of the finest tracks are those which he chose not to vocalise on the first disc. "Widescreen" is simply stunning, with chilling synth-strings that briefly rise and shatter into a staccato morse-code riff - a distant, haunted rave signal of aching beauty. Closing track "Lazarus" is a remarkable excursion into the the outer limits, with a slurred, de-centred rhythm that compares favourably with the experimental syncopations of Techno's leading innovator Ricardo Villalobos, augmented by another beautifully understated pad melody full of hope and yearning - a perfect sense of closure.

All told, Pinch has succeeded in his mission with honour and integrity. The instrumentals will strike a chord with the hardcore massif and lovers of melodic electronica, whilst the vocal disc might even earn him a Mercury Prize nomination. I wonder if the bookmakers will give me decent odds in that...?

(first published in Woofah #2)

07 October 2007


Northern Ireland's Barry Lynn returns with his second long-player for Planet Mu and, like it's predecessor 'Oneiric', it's a fascinating, intricately detailed and obsessively nuanced collection that touches bass with dubstep yet with a considerably wider spectrum of influence and aspiration. The title track opens proceedings in familiar Boxcutter territory with it's glacial, abstract halfstep beats and whorls of echo-drenched sound matter, including snatches of freeform brass and woodwind, building on the artistic success of 'Sunshine' from his earlier album, and inspired by Lynn's devotion to the more exploratory side of free jazz from the turn of the '70s. It's a style that he keeps referencing throughout this new eleven track collection. In fact, for all it's futuristic production, 'Glyphic' is swamped with retro influences: "Windfall" in particular is an astonishing three minute experiment built on a righteous roots riddim, full of Tubby-like spring reverb detonations, yet colliding with fluttering jazz flutes, skronky saxophone dissonance and effervescent lashings of analogue synth lead melody. The combined effect is startlingly fresh and unexpected. Having recently invested in some genuine old skool kit, like the Sequential Pro-1 monosynth and TR-707 drum machine, Lynn wastes no time in adding them into the mix, in fact two tracks presented here ("Bloscid" and "Lunal") sound surprisingly similar to some of AFX's "Analord" series. Elsewhere, "Foxy" lifts a sweet soul vocal for a track that sounds a bit like The Isley Brothers sailing on a fluid rhythm of broken 2-Step and dirty funk breaks. On "Rusty Break", Lynn returns to his first instrument, the electric guitar, layering impressionistic lines of wah-wah glissandi over a rigorously edited drumfunk loop, whilst "Kalied" ramps-up the breakbeat science even further. But Boxcutter saves the best for last: "Fieldtrip" closes the album with a breathtakingly spectacular epic where the hyperspeed breaks swing and flay like jazz legend Elvin Jones on PCP, as viscous layers of instrumentation swell and dissolve in a powerfully evocative and emotionally charged freeform odyssey. Barry Lynn is an insanely talented musician/producer and you'll be hard-pressed to find a more far-reaching, imaginative and musically engaging album emerging from dubstep or any other genre this year.

(first published in Woofah #2)

06 October 2007


Blackdown on point over at Pitchfork, featuring Pinch, Peverelist, Burial and others. If you're near Bristol, don't forget that Pinch will be launching his album "Underwater Dancehall" at Subloaded later this month...

05 October 2007


Well he's been many things - blogger, music reviewer, abstract impressionist, 2000 A.D. script droid, UK Acid House pioneer (allegedly), and probably loads of other stuff he's still keeping secret, but now Kek-W is one half of psychedelic noise surrealists Ice Bird Spiral - and they're playing a live gig at one of my favourite haunts The Croft next month!

Full details here.

See you down the front...

03 October 2007


Of course it would be far more impressive to showcase a bunch of original 12" imports, but I have hardly any. As an impoverished teenager in the late eighties with a busy social life and a clapped-out Ford Cortina to run, it made good financial sense to invest in the myriad deluge of compilations produced during that initial rush of House-mania (87-88). For an interested observer, rather than a committed scenster, they offered a good navigational aid through the mysterious and exciting world of Chicago House, even though the quality of mastering and material could be a bit sketchy (mind you, some of those imports were a bit rough on the manufacturing side too!). Still, I'd take these contemporaneous collections over any recent retrospectives any day. There's no revisionism or sense of reverence - you get a more truthful account of what was happening in the UK marketplace at that time, the good and the bad. House was Big Business and for every great collection there was a cheap, exploitative alternative, with both major labels and rogue independents rushing to make a few bucks from this new dance craze. You can't beat those sleeve designs for a pungent visual evocation of the era, either. Here's a few examples...

Starting with one from the original, cream of the crop series. I think this was the first one I ever bought, offering extraordinary value for money with it's an impeccable selection from the Trax catalogue spread over two platters - Mr. Fingers' "Washing Machine" and "Can You Feel It" (thankfully in its original pure instrumental form), Adonis' "No Way Back", Marshall Jefferson's "Move Your Body" etc etc...rendering every other collection on display here second rate by comparison. Not forgetting such gems as Virgo's "R U Hot Enough", which is a really special deep, soulful cut. Sleeve notes by NME's Stuart Cosgrove too!

THE HOUSE SOUND OF CHICAGO Volume 2 (D.J. International LP, 1987)
Here's another collection with exactly the same title and a suspiciously similar sleeve design to the above, except this is D.J.International's version of the "House Sound..." series. I'm sure a few punters must've been confused by such flagrant plagiarism, but still this is a solid selection of vocal-based House anthems, featuring the talents of Loleatta Holloway, Daryl Pandy and Chip E. among others.

JACKMASTER Volume 1 (Westside 2xLP, 1987)
At this time the phrase 'Jack Trax' was almost as widespread as 'House' as a term for the Chicago sound. This is one of many collections to feature 'Jack' in the title and it's got a fair few gems hidden away. Volume 2's pretty good too. Reading Morgan Khan's sleeve notes you really get a sense of community, as the nation's youth embraced this new sound: "I dedicate this album to the House posses in Birmingham, Bristol, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and all of Scotland...long live the beat". Amen, brother.

This is actually the oldest example on display here, from '86, although I came across it much later. I have no idea who Rob Olson was, other than his 'Executive Producer' credit, and the sleeve doesn't have much to say about this selection of second division and nearly all forgotten producers. But it's quite listenable.

JACK TRAX - The Second Album (Indigo LP, 1987)
Another no-nonsense collection of undistinguished, long-forgotten trax, including a nice Frankie Knuckles number. But Thomas Davis' "Don't Hold Back" is weirdly lo-fi, like it was made in a bedroom and then dubbed onto cassette about twenty times. Mad tune, though!

HOUSE TRAX 2 (Streetsounds/Westside LP, 1988)
Another from Morgan Kahn's Westside empire. The ones that really leap out are those Todd Terry productions - Black Riot's "A Day In The Life Of" especially, with that huge riff that sends an instant reflexive spasm of pleasure through the cortex of anyone of a certain age. 'Proto-Rave', I'd say. Again, Kahn's impassioned sleeve notes give some sense of the momentum of change, as he describes being "overwhelmed with demo tapes from bands and artists from all over (the UK)". In an age before everyone was connected via the internet, Kahn was using the record sleeve medium to communicate and inspire a groundswell of pro-activity; his sermons read almost like blog posts.

HOUSE HITS (Needle Records 2xLP, 1988)
The 'As Seen On TV' slogan in the top right corner gives an indication of how omnipresent House had become in the UK mainstream. This is basically a cash-in collection, but actually pretty good, with a solid selection of top-drawer hits like "This Brutal House", "Jack The Groove", "House Nation", "Rok Da House" (featuring The Cookie Crew) and, er, Bomb The Bass' "Beat Dis", which just shows how vague the lines between 'pure' House and more sampledelic hip-house could be for the average British punter back then. They didn't need fucking micro-genres back in them days! Side 4 is a 'House Megamix' - remember those things? Nice gatefold packaging, with 'History Of House' sleeve notes by Blues & Soul's Malu Halasa for the uninitiated.

HOUSE HALLUCINATES - PUMP UP LONDON Volume One (Breakout/A&M 2xLP, 1988)
Of course, by 1988 'Jack Trax' were already old news - it was all about the Acid sound now. Such was the media furor over of those Ecstacy-feuled illegal raves that even my grandad had heard of Acid House. But I've yet to come across a contemporaneous compilation that truly represents the best, most lysergic, of those early Acid tunes. This one comes closest - at least it features genuine Chicago artists and includes Phuture's original full-length "Acid Tracks". Not sure about the sleeve design though, especially the migraine-inducing gatefold spread.

ACID HOUSE Volume 1 (BPM LP, 1988)

ACID BEATS 1 (Warrior LP, 1988)
The downside of the Acid explosion was the wave of cheap, nasty cash-in compilations, on tiny labels, produced by UK copyists with only the vaguest notion of what they were doing. The above two examples are at least sort-of legitimatised by being overseen by Tony 'Moody Boys' Thorpe, one of the early pioneers of the UK scene. All the tracks on these records are by artists you've never heard of, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they were all knocked-out by Thorpe himself for a quick buck (one track at least is credited to The Moody Boys). There's some amusing stuff, like "Acid Bitch" with it's put-on Americanised twang, trying sound all erotic like Jamie Principal on "Baby Wants To Ride", but just ending up sounding awkward, gangly and a little bit seedy. I like the 'liquid dope' lyrics, and it's a fairly authentic sounding backing track, but compare this with that 'Newbuild' material that Gerald Simpson was doing with 808 State in Manchester at the same time and there's really no comparison.

URBAN ACID (GRC/Polydor LP, 1988)
On a similar tip to the above, but this one features early productions by Pozitiv Noise aka Martin Freeland, who was responsible for many releases under various guises over the following years. It's quite a polished collection...perhaps too polished, lacking the enforced simplicity of the impoverished Chicago sound. I don't think he was using the right tools - there's that bland sheen of FM synthesis and slick studio mastering pervading the whole thing. It's too bloody professional! "Funkacidic" is fun though, featuring a big Moog-like synth solo, cocktail-jazz piano flourishes and vocoder vocals. You do at least get one slice of genuine rough Chicago 303-led acid, care of Bam Bam's "The Twighlight Zone".