Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1991)

Primal Scream became a success with this album. Prior to this, they were very desperate to make some sort of success and had released some rather ordinary rock material. It’s not dissimilar a journey that fellow contemporaries Underworld had experienced. Once the single Loaded arrived, it was played heavily in clubs and underground raves everywhere.

This album came next. It is a genuine classic in its own right. It has a fusion of psychedelic and electronic sounds done so well that their earlier mediocre rock efforts are forgivable. Let’s listen through this, track by track.

Movin’ On Up is just that. It’s a gospel house like piece and introduced the group into their new format. The stoned sounding singing from Bobby Gillespie suits this piece very well. It’s a quick and catchy piece with a variety of instrumentation to boot. The screaming guitars are fantastic here. A nice start to the album.

Slip Inside This House was originally done by the 13th Floor Elevators on their own Easter Everywhere album. It features the ‘amen break’ and some great textures and a superb bassline. Still, the Primal Scream boys here match the 13th Floor Elevators effort with this cover. It’s catchy and brilliant. Welcome to the 1990s, ladies, and gentlemen.

The next piece Don’t Fight It, Feel It is another great piece featuring female vocals which suit this piece perfectly. “I’m going to live the life I love, I’m going to love the life I live.” is chanted here. It sounds very danceable and good quality, and unlike most dance music, this is not a throwaway piece. Some tripped out sounds are here too to keep you listening on.

After that, we go downtempo and heavily psychedelic with Higher Than The Sun. It talks directly about hallucinogenic drugs and enhancing one’s experience with such experiences from that. The stoned vocals are here again from Bobby Gillespie, the lead singer. It’s a brilliant and openly druggy piece. You can easily hear how inspired these guys were making this piece.

Inner Flight comes next. Some great vocal melodies kick off a minor key track, with a psychedelic keyboard patch that sounds a lot like Coldplay’s Clocks. No second-guessing where Coldplay stole that one from. But hey, it’s chilled and relaxing. Let the music guide you on this journey, as it is tasty listening. The outro has a wonderful vocal melody to boot.

Come Together is an extended piece, going over 10 minutes long. It’s a neo-hippie call to arms. It’s an ode to music and a very good one. There are numerous sounds, well-chosen and a great sample is here about the true nature of music. If you wish to hear a song that will destroy barriers for music listeners, this should be it. It never seems boring at all through the 10 minutes at all. Smile and enjoy the numerous textures and singing here.

The original Andy Weatherall Loaded arrives with a sample from a cult film at the start, before going into Cuban style beats, piano, real bass guitar, and a melancholy slide guitar melody. Horns and fiddles join the mix too. It’s a truly great piece of music, and is very moving and enjoyable, all the way through. It proves that even using computers, human beings can create a great and emotional piece of music. The world of music never was the same after this song, in that respect.

After that, Damaged arrives. It’s a downtempo piece and sounds very gentle in approach. It sounds melancholic and loving towards a partner but has some great vocal harmonies in it as well. It’s a reflection on a past love but works well here. Some nice Fender Stratocaster sounding playing is here to top it all off amongst everything else. Good job.

I’m Comin’ Down is a very low-tempo and subdued piece. It, of course, refers to a post MDMA/Ecstasy come down, or a comedown of a drug of a similar sort. It has some truly interesting and wonderful saxophone and other electronic-based sounds here. It’s a gentle and kind piece to listen to. This album is really very awesome in many ways, and this proves the musicality of Primal Scream right here. A must-listen for relaxation.

Higher Than The Sun – A Dub Symphony In Two Parts has the legendary bassist Jah Wobble from early era Public Image Limited featured on this track. It’s very much a reprise of Higher Than The Sun and acts as an almost concept album like idea for a track. Although not officially a concept album, Screamadelica could be considered one. Some space like tripped out sounds makes up this piece. Good to hear that these guys had many ideas for our own listening enjoyment. The bassline and breakbeats are classy too.

The last cut, Shine Like Stars, sounds Syd Barrett-esque with the twinkling melody-based sound. It’s simply a nice song to finish off this album. It’s gentle and reassuring, sounding almost like King Crimson. Mint.

This album saved Primal Scream, both financially and musically. It sounds so well done, even today, blowing a lot of your mainstream R & B away. If you like to hear the most psychedelic electronic sounds out there, you should listen to this album. You will not be disappointed.

9/10

Leftfield – Leftism (1995)

Despite the somewhat political name of the group and album, this is not political music. In fact, it is one of the best EDM albums ever made. It’s so unique and wonderful sounding that it will leave you in awe.

It has a huge amount of different world music and electronic-based influences in this album. Let’s examine these tunes, track by track.

We begin this sonic journey with Release The Pressure. It kicks off with some ethereal sounds, birds chirping and launches into a great piece of electronic music. It has some Jamaican reggae influences in it. It breaks into a great dance piece. Not bad for a song that is over seven minutes long.

The next tune is Afro-Left which is a decent tune as well. It has some unusual string instrumentation of some sort played throughout, and some wonderful lyrics in a non-English dialect. It’s great to hear, and still sounds fresh and inspired today.

Melt sounds like a piece that melts in your mouth and sounds delicious. It is a very psychedelic number and still sounds great today. Horns and other trippy sounds are plentiful here, along with some crunchy drum sounds. A nice little piece in editing.

Song Of Life begins with an acid house style riff and bringing in some amazing and intelligent textures. It then breaks into a beat-driven piece which sounds rather catchy. It’s danceable and listenable simultaneously, a rarity in EDM. It’s very progressive as well in approach, a great thing indeed.

The next piece Original is very original. But the message in this piece with female vocals and lyrics is to remain true to oneself. It’s a little melancholy, but still very good. “You’re original, live your own path. You’re original, light your own way”. Great stuff. The outro is good too.

A very short (for this album) piece named Black Flute arrives. It’s a much more danceable piece for the album but still sounds true to the Leftfield sound. Very good to hear. Pumps the adrenaline in your body the whole way through.

Space Shanty arrives, and it sounds like a continuation of the sound of the previous track. There is some trippy sounding Sitar here, along with some eastern vocals. That is the intro alone. The rest of the song is just wonderful and groove-based, a nice tune here. There are some wicked tribal drums towards the end as well.

Inspection (Check One) arrives, and this track is awesome and cool. There is a heavy bassline and drum beats galore, along with some well-chosen sampled phrases. It’s a great listen, and if you have to listen to one song by Leftfield, ideally this is it. It never bores throughout the length of time here.

The following piece, Storm 3000, arrives with some attentive sounds that are very interesting. The subsonic bass here is awesome, as is the breakbeat here too. It’s a minor key piece but sits perfectly well in this album. This piece is a lot like what The Chemical Brothers would have recorded, but it’s Leftfield here instead.

The next song that arrives is one of Leftfield’s best. You can never guess that John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) is singing here. He sings really well here in a soulful way. This cut is Open Up. It’s very, very good. The breakdown is great too. A classic song.

21st Century Poem is a poetry recital into some futuristic sounds. It sounds very melodramatic and spacey. It is difficult to pinpoint where Leftfield got their samples from on here. But, it’s a good way to finish the album. It’s a call of arms to people to fight for their own rights. There is a twist at the end as well.

This is truly a great EDM sort of album. It’s definitely worth listening to. The only issue? It is a tad long and could have been edited in some ways. Still, it’s an essential listen for those who love all forms of electronic music. Hardcore fans will want to seek the 22nd-anniversary edition, which has some interesting remixes on it.

8/10

Aphex Twin – Richard D. James Album (1996)

Aphex Twin is the namesake of Richard D. James. Which explains where this album got its name from. It marks an interesting twist in the career of Aphex Twin, well known for creating the Selected Ambient Works albums, which were very popular. This is a later release, showing a more quirky side to Aphex Twin’s musical approach. It’s geared more towards IDM rather than Ambient music this time around. It’s a brilliant listen for any quirky EDM fan out there.

begins this album, with ultra cut-up beats and melodic sound structures. It’s nothing like what he was doing earlier on, It is really brilliant here though, and fits the IDM style mood nicely. It’s perfectly balanced in its use of sonic structures and use of fine detail and melody within the piece.

Cornish Acid follows and is more balanced, with science fiction like acid sounds and more reoccurring cut-up beats. It’s a simpler, but still brilliantly done music piece. The name says it all? Perhaps it does.

The next piece, Peek 82454201, is much more minimalist. Quirky name aside, it’s a continuation of the theme throughout this album. It sounds insanely complex. A wonderful musical expression from Aphex Twin. The outro stops dead in its tracks.

After that, we have Fingerbib. This is nothing at all like what we have heard on this recording so far. It is almost reminiscent of Glitch music but is simple and melodic. It’s a great addition to an already great album. It’s an excellent and mellow piece.

Carn Marth is the next track along and is leaning towards Drum and Bass, although it is still very much the experimental cut-up sounds we have heard earlier on the album. Listening to this makes one wonder how much effort was placed into this album, in short, a lot. Never a dull moment here.

To Cure A Weakling Child is unusual. It sounds like aliens made this track. Sampling a child’s talk, it goes into cut-up frenzy, almost sounding like a messed up lullaby. It’s effective and interesting enough to keep on listening through. Perhaps the cure for a weakling child is music? We will never know.

The following track Goon Gumpas is a short instrumental with less randomness, and more ambient melody. It’s an interesting thing to place this into an album such as this one. Sounds very gentle and mellow.

Arriving next, we have Yellow Calx. More interesting cut up percussion and metallic sounds exist here. Words cannot do enough justice for this album, it has to be listened to be believed. With unusual time signatures and free form sounds, it definitely sounds top notch.

Girl/Boy Song begins slowly, with a classically influenced melody. It joins with more trippy, cut-up beats and becomes an interesting and very listenable piece in its own right. It pounds away with the basic melody in the background. This is one for those who like to listen to different instruments at different times, this great piece will suit you well. Progressive IDM? Perhaps.

Logan Rock Witch is the last track on this recording. It has some Crash Bandicoot like sound effects at the start, with an organ melody following it. This is definitely “out there”, if you enjoy a bit of randomness. Solidly good all the same. The album ends, and you feel like wanting more.

This is the real deal for a quirky electronic album. It is so well done that you never yawn, look at the clock or feel bored. For those who wish to explore surrealistic, cut up, beatastic IDM like music, definitely give this a whirl. Epic listening.

9/10