A Word of Science

Nightmares on Wax

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A Word of Science Review

by John Bush

One year following the entry of "Aftermath" into the British charts, Nightmares on Wax released a first full-length that rivalled any other techno debuts of the time, excepting only its immediate predecessor in the Warp catalog -- LFO's Frequencies. The "Aftermath" blueprint (skeletal bleep techno with the dark undercurrents cropping up in much post-rave techno) is in full force on several tracks, like the follow-up club hit "Dextrous" and the depth-plumbing bass of "A Case of Funk." Elsewhere, though, NoW expand the sound of bleep in several intriguing directions: "Coming Down" represents with paranoid breakbeats wrapped around a minimalist framework; "Playtime" sounds reminiscent of Soul II Soul; "How Ya Doin'" is a great old-school shout-out track; and "Mega Donutz" brings a British spin to playful American hip-hop like De La Soul. Unjustly relegated to the history bins (and even more of a relic because of its radical differences from the later NoW catalog), A Word of Science is much more than just the other great early Warp LP.

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