- It's fair to say that George Evelyn has earned the right to be feelin' good. After helping define the early days of Warp with his experimental bleep techno, the one constant member of Nightmares On Wax soon grew jaded by the hard-edged beats that defined the late '80s electronic zeitgeist and went off in search of something else. Now, 22 years, six full-lengths and countless Sunday smoking sessions later, it's fair to say he found that something else and truly made it his own. The Ibiza-based producer's latest album, Feelin Good, feels like the full HD, 360-degree Nightmares On Wax experience, where not one corner has been cut nor one shortcut taken.
Although there have been bass, guitar and keys on past standouts like Smokers Delight and Carboot Soul, Feelin Good has even more bells and whistles: it's built from the bottom up, with real musicians playing real instruments, and in places is genuinely orchestral. Trumpets, drums, vocals, violins, flutes, saxophones and cellos make for a much fuller, richer and more authentic sound than ever before. Of course, for such a student of vinyl cultures like dub, funk and soul, it's no wonder every track comes coated in humid crackles and aged imperfections, all of which add to the earthiness of the experience.
There's proper songwriting on offer here, too, with much of it moving away from the hip-hop structures of Evelyn's last few albums. Instead, Feelin Good drifts though Afro-Cuban shuffles on "Be, I Do," squelchy reggae on "Now Is The Time" and deconstructed Balearic bliss on "There 4U." There are also more energetic tracks, like the ramshackle loop-funk of "Tapestry," and the wonky, fat-bottomed house swagger of "Eye (Can't See)."
But it's at his haziest and most vulnerable that Nightmares On Wax is most definitive. Opener "So We Are Here" is as joyous as the first days of spring, and yet it's also tinged with the sadness of a departing love. "Master Plan" is so loveably louche you feel it might collapse right into the sofa. With such worldly influences and after so long in the game, many other artists might be turning in commercial chill-out by now. But, thankfully, Nightmares On Wax is enjoying himself far too much for that.
01 So Here We Are
02 Be, I Do
03 Master Plan
04 Luna 2 feat. Wolfgang Haffner
05 Now is the Time
06 Give Thx
07 Eye (Can't See)
09 There 4u
10 Om Sweet H(Om)e