Nightmares on Wax – Shape the Future

As ever with Nightmares on Wax, George Evelyn melds past and present with enviable fluidity, finding a universality that’s inclusive rather than generic

Album Review by Katie Hawthorne | 23 Jan 2018
  • Nightmares on Wax – Shape the Future
Album title: Shape the Future
Artist: Nightmares on Wax
Label: Warp
Release date: 26 Jan

'We're all in communication / You know, when you exhale, I breathe the air you breathe? / We're all together really... sharing the earth.'

Did you just eye-roll? Go on, did you? Are you writing off this line from the opening track to Nightmares on Wax’s eighth album as new-age nonsense? Give George Evelyn (aka DJ E.A.S.E.) just one hour, and he’ll disable that chilly scepticism and replace it with a blissed-out warmth.

The longest-serving musician on the legendary Warp label, it's likely that Evelyn's never met a dancefloor he can't set alight. For this long-awaited new record, though, he's spinning a smoky, hazy world of interconnectedness. Opener Back to Nature borrows vocals from Kuauhtli Vasquez & Wixarika Tribe, and the result is a universal language – one that captures the feeling of being right at home in your skin. In Evelyn's own words, this album is “enriched”. You can hear this richness in the lush organic orchestration which backs up his trademark beats, floating between trip-hop and dub, and you can feel it in the soulful lyrics of the guest vocalists dotted through the record.

Grandiose electric guitar and handclap percussion on Gotta Smile spin the LP into a new dimension, and the golden-age shine on Typical (ft. Jordan Rakei) nods to Evelyn’s passion for the greats. Mid-album gem Deep Shadows showcases Sadie Walker’s creamy voice, and covers Detroit legend Little Ann’s song of the same name. As ever with Nightmares on Wax, Evelyn melds past and present with enviable fluidity, finding a universality that’s inclusive rather than generic. You’ll feel like you’ve heard these songs on the breeze before, or snatched them from the window of a passing car, but you couldn’t have caught them without Nightmares on Wax's expert navigation.

Listen to: Deep Shadows, Typical

https://radio.nightmaresonwax.com/