Madonna – Swim [1998]
October 21, 2014

I went back and took a listen through the whole of Ray of Light for the first time in god only knows how long. No remixes, no edits, the original album. Possibly the first time since 1998 if I’m honest. Incredible to hear how its not dated in the slightest, still sounds as progressive as the day it was released. A really superb showcase of Madge’s superior talents that so sadly got lost in the maelstrom of the Pop Dross we’re subjected too daily. But I think its safe to say that while she’s got some exemplorary pipes, the winner on Ray Of Light is William Orbit. Given the money, and from what i’ve heard, the time, he kicked out one of the seminal crossover pop albums of the decade.

The album weaves pop down into practically every flavour of electronica keeping the album from taking itself too seriously and providing entertainment for anyone. For me, Swim is one of my favourites by a mile. Where Drowned World is a sweeping declaration of fame rejection and Ray of light the title club banger. Swim sits comfortably those two behemoths with a relaxed but solid groove in its pocket and a wry smile on its face. Absolutely brilliant.

Gus Gus vs T-World – Theme [1998]
June 27, 2012

Possibly the very definition of lushness, this is a fantastic downtempo classic from the fantastic album from Gus Gus, Gus Gus & T-World. While their output is generally known for its eccentric funky house compositions and off the wall trip-hop, this is an atmospheric, down blanket of awesome deep houseness. Plus, it has bongo’s, a long overlooked companion to a cracking house tune. Be honest now, bongo’s make everything better.

From Discogs
This album was brought to my attention from the Anthem track being included on the Pi soundtrack. I was really expecting alot from this album and when I finally got the chance to listen to it, I was happy to find it lived up to expectations. All the tracks on this album hit me in the right spot but it’s the “classic” sounding songs like Anthem, Northern Lights, Purple, and Esja that really blew me away. Ever since I heard it, I’ve always considered these songs to be of the highest caliber of techno, and hearing them dropped in a mix or at a gathering always puts a smile on my face. Emotional techno for your soul.

Mad Doctor X – Keep It Lovely [1998]
November 11, 2011

Yet another track from SON005, the epic Project EP release from Mad Doctor X. A much smoother flavour with this one, seriously laid back business with an amazing flow. Perfect for wrapping up the working week. Enjoy!

Morcheeba feat Nosaj – Big Calm [1998]
April 26, 2011

The closing track from Big Calm and what a track it is. Its like a filthy mashup of Trip Hop and filthy grimy psychedelic rock with the weakest part of the whole track being the middle of the road rap from Nosaj. Other than the rap, the rest of the track is a soothing, laid back slice of perfection.

Morcheeba – Part Of The Process [1998]
April 26, 2011

Absolutely fantastic Trip Hop offering from Morcheeba. Strictly speaking, I wasnt that big of a fan of Big Calm way back in 98. It sounded a bit hokey with all the quality breakbeat and hip hop jams of the time but revisiting I think it held up remarkably well. Likely due in no small part to the quality production, upbeat melodies and tight vocal arrangements. A song designed to soothe even the very jaded either after a night out, a night off or a night on the picketline.

Freestylers feat. Tenor Fly – B-Boy Stance [1998]
March 29, 2011

Cant fault the Freestylers man, they have some of the best break work, some excellent collaborations and every damn track just rocks it hard. This classic is not exception, utilising the fantastic Tenor Fly as the lead vocal doing what he does best, heavy ragga business. Quality.

Madonna – Drowned World (Substitute For Love) (BT & Sasha’s Ashram Mix) [1998]
January 13, 2011

Speaking of Madonna, how about this absolute banger from the same album? BT and Sasha knock it out of the park with this epic, sweeping progressive house belter. Totally storming.

Madonna – Sky Fits Heaven (Sasha’s The Drug Fits Face Mix) [1998]
January 13, 2011

So I fired up Madonna’s “Ray Of Light” album today. Ive not listened to it in what, ten years. SACRILEGE! Its an absolute blinder, with some of my favorite tracks from the album getting some cracking remixes, such as this one from Mr Sasha.

It was found on the B – Side of the Drowned World/Substitue for Love 12″ and absolutely dominates every other track on that release. Its classic Progressive Sasha. Proper build ups, huge string sections and respectfully integrated vocals from the original track. Its an absolute stormer.

Cappadonna feat Method Man & U-God – Supa Ninjaz [1998]
December 13, 2010

Oh yes, a great collaboration with the Method Man and U-God, found on the otherwise middle of the road offering from Cappadonna. Likely my favourite track on the whole album, mainly for the unapologetic lyrics, monster bassline booms and that crafty sneaky funk guitar lick. A proper head nodder.

Makai – Beneath The Mask [1998]
March 30, 2010

A fantastic rework of “Making of Cyborg” from Ghost in the Shell, this tech-step stormer from Makai just tears it up. The breaks are choppy and angry, low rumbling sub and that sample just make an incredible mix. Wicked.

From Discogs
It’s my estimation that this record is rather over-wanted considering the shorter mix of Beneath The Mask is in many ways inferior to its longer counterpart on the Millennium CD. Not only does the 12:33 mix include more content, it’s far better organized. Essentially, the song is divided into two equal six minute segments, the latter being infused with the infamous Ghost In The Shell sample and concluding with a sublime stuttering of the beat. I suppose the lack of variety makes the shorter version more mixable, but that quality alone hardly makes this record more desirable.