Soulwax - Essential - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Soulwax - Essential

by Benjamin Lee Rating:8 Release Date:2018-06-22
Soulwax - Essential
Soulwax - Essential

David and Stephen Dewaele, the Belgians making beats under Soulwax since 1995 have decided to put their stamp on the BBC Radio 1 Sessions by being the first to record an hour long set for the show as opposed to mixing existing material. Recorded in two weeks, its theme “Essential” is referenced throughout the album, with vocal tangents exploring different aspects of the term.

It works well, with the reference never too dominant, save for the closing track- allowing each track to do its thing, with a nod to “Essential” somewhere along the way. With that out the way, the music itself is solid, beat driven electronica with enough variation and clout to keep it engaging and enjoyable.

Though the intro on track one doesn’t reflect the rest of the album, Essential Two quickly gets down to business with adroit percussive and synth rhythms which more accurately set the tone for the album.

Essential Two, Three and Four shift through slow deep passages and builds effortlessly using layers of incisive fills in a well produced, coherent way. The shifting tempo and vocal interludes throughout the album give it a consistency without it sounding overdone. Not surprising really, given they have been producing re-mixes for the likes of Daft Punk, Tame Impala and Hot Chip, touring as Too Many DJ’s, running the DEEWEE Record label, and continuing the Radio Soulwax radio station and app. Quite busy indeed.

Essential Five hints at a darker side before Essential Six finds a driving house groove utilising minimal bass driven vibes to set the scene for the darker numbers to come, before Essential Ten gives us the highlight of the album, a slow dark build punctuated with acoustic mandolin, strong percussion and a driving bassline rising and falling with grace.

Interesting music with depth and range, the guys showcase their slick production with a beat laden soundscape to satisfy a curious mind and wandering feet.

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