Playgroup - Previously Unreleased - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Playgroup - Previously Unreleased

by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2016-12-02

Trevor Jackson’s fabulous overview of the On-U Sound in last year’s Science Fiction Dancehall Classics proved, if it needed proving, that he is producer with top drawer credentials.

At some point in our careers, we look back at what we’ve achieved and try to reconnect. Generativity is essentially forward looking, but here on Previously Unreleased, Jackson digs up all the demos and unreleased recordings from his Playgroup project, and reworks them into minor masterpieces, representative of the debauched heyday of ecstasy-fuelled club music.  It seems like a stop-gap project at first blush, but very occasionally as we know, material that ought to have been released when first composed, inexplicably sits in the vaults until a time more proximate to its qualities comes along.

Now is a good time. Playgroup’s album from 2001 fitted quite well with Massive Attack’s Blue Lines, or Morcheeba, or the Sasha and Digweed brand of soul and disco infused dance. Moreover, the album was largely made up of collaborations with the likes of Edwyn Collins and Happy Mondays affiliates, in a time when everyone wanted to be part of the overly-fraught 24 hour party scene.

Previously Unreleased is more suited to a time when listeners of electronic music can just as ably listen to some tunes on their cans, as wind themselves around some random college graduate in a chemical fog. Hell, you can even check your BPMs on your FitBit Charge 2.  

Refreshing that Previously Unreleased is a different emphasis to the original release, and more concentrated on the Playgroup project’s more experimental house, disco, post punk, electro and dub, mostly sans vocals. It’s a formidable set list that, I’ll say it, not only matches the good vibes of the original playgroup material, but surpasses it. The music changes up quite a lot, the second disc in particular a brilliant retrospective of the classiest of sophisticated club music. Described in pre-release as a “testament to the non-air conditioned, non iphone infested and non-corporate clubbing days of yore

This was released as a series of nine EPs in 2016

Excellent. Essential. Not just for ageing ravers like me. 

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