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Album of the Week: Back in the Box by Global Communication

This week's essential listen.

By Spotlight

Artist: Various/Mixed by Global Communication
Album: Back in the Box
Label: NRK
Release Date: 30/05/2011


The idea here is simple. Respected record players dive deep into their collections to unearth the gems therein.  And with names like Sneak and Dave Clarke already having contributed, the benchmark has been high.

Difficult faces to follow, though by inviting Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton to deliver the next instalment, Nick Harris and the NRK crew have taken a significant step towards bettering this short but illustrious history. This is, after all, the pair’s moment of reunification as Global Communication following a far- too-long hiatus.

Expectant fans will not be disappointed, as these electronic figureheads provide a double disc journey through classic compositions worthy of anyone’s collection. What’s more, there are enough moments on here to prove, beyond the disbelief of any 18-year-old, that much of today’s sounds are reliant on the old school.

That can certainly be said for opening call to arms The Calling (Reprise), Fade II Black’s broken beat, dubby roller that shares as much in common with contemporary ‘UK bass’ producers, and their penchant for rave, as anything from Jay Denham’s Detroit contemporaries. Meanwhile Flux’s True Feelings correlates, in terms of punch and solid metal kicks, to Perc’s recent debut (albeit with more noises, and less minimalism). Details to one side, there’s a link to be recognised.

It’s doubtful that’s the intention though. It’s more likely the tracklist was born from a genuine love of the tracks. And it’s not hard to see why. Take De-Orbit from era spanning don Speedy J, or rather the TM Outer Limits Salute Repitch. A wonderfully textured soundscape of snare accents and broken kicks, set to a wave of emotive synth, and a twinkling trance hook, there are few tracks so evocative of dance music’s zeitgeist; it’s warm, uplifting, and when heard amongst the right people in the right circumstance, life affirming.

And that’s just scratching the surface of Disc One. In comparison the tempo drops on the second CD, though the quality wanes not a jot. So that’ll be the downtempo moodiness of Urban Tribe’s Covert Action sitting close to the legendary Model 500 with Infoworld, a typically stabbing electro number, whereas Aphex Twin’s futurism (here submerged with blissful chords under the title Tha) nearly neighbours the classic acid organs and bass of The Journey from Never On Sunday. In short, spanning continents, genres, and decades with such assurance is no mean feat, and half of the tracklisting can be filed under ‘painfully overlooked in the year 2011’. As such we rate. 

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