Words by Thomas-Bradey Riseley
Warp Records’ longest serving signing – Leeds-born George Evelyn, aka Nightmares On Wax – keeps the 90s alive and well with his ninth studio album. Thirty years into the game – since 1991’s ‘A Word Of Science’ – NOW proves again that he’s a production and experimentation wizard who’s mastered maturity and restraint.
‘Shout Out!’ is a trip-hop album at its core but flirts with different genres with each track. Lounge, nu-jazz, neo-soul and RnB make for a varied but smooth flow throughout. It’s very feature-heavy with only four of the 15 tracks standing alone, and two of those are barely a minute long. Sons Of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings and shamanic vocalist Haile Supreme can be found throughout the tracklist and London’s psychedelic singer-songwriter Greentea Peng’s feature is nothing short of superb.
Opener ‘Shout Out (Intro)’ and ‘To Freedom (Interlude)’ are short reminders of the socio-political situation we now have in the UK, for better or worse. ‘Beautiful People’ sing ‘freedom!’ in their native languages, reminding us to bask in freedom, liberté, libertad, vrijheid, sloboda, свобода, or whatever you want to call it, together and loving. ‘3D Warrior’ is a hazy, Mediterranean, seven-minute-long saxophone jam, ‘Own Me’ is a funky slow burner and experimental electronic track ‘Trillion’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Oneohtrix Point Never album.
‘Shout Out! To Freedom…’ is a mixed bag but benefits from its variety. Any other artist with this type of longevity might not be as consistent with their experimentation and level of quality. Trip-hop is nothing new for Nightmares On Wax but it hasn’t been made stale without trying to reinvent the wheel. Until techno makes its glorious comeback, we’ll have to refer to George Evelyn as Satisfaction On All Available Streaming Platforms.
Watch latest video ‘Breathe In’ here: