Various Artists

Wipeout XL

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This 14-song compilation was released a little before the media's huge electronica feeding frenzy of 1997. As the music industry was picking itself up afterward, and trying to sort out the mess caused by the inevitable collapse of modern rock radio (but still mindlessly signing countless alt-rock bands with affected attitudes and sluggish songs all the while), another musical factor -- stemming in Europe, somewhat influenced by American house and wiping out several music boundaries in its almost single-minded pursuit of tuneful anarchy -- was rising with more ambitious objectives in mind. Most of those pioneering electronica groups are on Wipeout XL, a soundtrack of sorts to, of all things, a video game. Gathering genre-defining cuts by the Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Prodigy, and Daft Punk, Wipeout XL is both an exemplary primer of electronica, as well as a well-rounded and representative compilation of the often-thrilling genre.

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