Seven years may seem like a strange milestone to celebrate with a retrospective, but the seven years in question have been eventful enough for the Astralwerks label to make it seem pretty well justified. This is, after all, the label that brought Fatboy Slim to the attention of U.S. audiences with such ridiculously catchy singles as "The Rockafeller Skank" and "Praise You." It's also the home of club mainstays Primal Scream and the Chemical Brothers, as well as underground legends like Air, Photek, and Basement Jaxx. Although the collection is retrospective in nature, it's not really a "best-of" compilation; the tracks included are mostly previously unreleased or hard-to-find singles, album tracks, and limited releases. The Fatboy Slim track that leads out, "How Can You Hear Us?," took the place of "Rockafeller Skank" on foreign versions of the Amp 2 compilation (apparently because of legal restrictions), while Primal Scream's "Exterminator" is presented in a dark remix by Massive Attack. The Chemical Brothers are represented by a 13-minute long DJ Sasha mix of "Out of Control" (not to be confused with the more abbreviated "Sasha Club Mix" previously available). Other highlights include a nicely complex drum'n'bass excursion from Photek ("DNA," otherwise available only on a deleted single) and a promo-only live track from the Future Sound of London. Rarewerks does a good job of presenting the strengths of the Astralwerks catalog without simply rehashing old triumphs.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson