Classic Album Sundays: Nightmares on Wax – Carboot Soul29.07.19
Founded by radio host, music producer, label owner and journalist, Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy, Classic Album Sundays allows listeners to fully immerse themselves into an album by exploring its context, the making of and a full replay of the album on vinyl. This month’s album is Nightmares on Wax – “Carboot Soul”.
Carboot Soul, the third Nightmares On Wax album, resisted the urge to go bigger and bolder. 1999 marked a year of unprecedented change, as the world prepared to enter a new millennium, and both the push for and fear of change manifested in public hysteria such as Y2K. Massive Attack and Tricky had harnessed this apprehension on their respective masterpieces, Mezzanine and Pre Millennium Tension, which pushed against the prevailing mood of Brit-Pop and New Labour’s sunny optimism with a crepuscular mood that suggested trouble was lurking behind false promises. Nonetheless, by the turn of the century trip hop’s troubled worldview had largely fallen out of favour with mainstream listeners, who were far more receptive to the hyperactive sound of acts such as Basement Jaxx.
There was a soulful classicism that remained in the Nightmares on Wax sound, extending its life beyond the decline of the genre it helped establish. Following his second album, Smokers Delight, Evelyn had been inspired to incorporate more live instrumentation into their music, building from an initial keys and beats base towards something that resembled a small symphony of both sampled and performed sound. Robin Taylor-Frith’s dexterous performances are again used throughout the album, notably on tracks such as the opener ‘Les Nuits’, in which his staccato keyboard is offset by a velveteen bed of cinematic strings. The album’s cast of musicians also included Chris Dawkins on guitar, Hamlet Luton on bass, and soul singer Sara Winton, whilst orchestral arrangements were handled by the Pure Strings Orchestra.Listen now