Wired (Polygram TV, 1997)

Review
Wired saw Polygram TV move into an interesting sphere. Subtitled “New directions in dance”, we were treated to 35 tracks from the likes of The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Fluke, Leftfield, CJ Bolland, Morcheeba, The Orb, Massive Attack, Grid, New Order, Garbage, Everything But The Girl, Sneaker Pimps, Orbital, Alex Reece, Chicane.

The Prodigy’s raved-up electropunk of Breathe sets the scene; it’s the single edit. Fellow hoodlums and heavyweights, the Chemical Brothers drop Leave Home next, a monster before the equally juddering Atom Bomb (Atomix 1), still capable of bass overload. Sweets for my sweet; it’s CJ Bolland with a confrontational vocal courtesy of Jade 4U. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the legendary NME tape Xmas Dust Up, courtesy of the Chemical boys in Dust guise. It contained about half of their mix of the Manic Street Preachers’ La Tristessa Durera; now we get the full take, made for car stereos. Slotting in well to this banging section is Danny Sabre’s nifty remix of Garbage’s Stupid Girl. Next, Underworld’s Pearl’s Girl, total killer of relentless BPMs and paranoid rhythms AKA a perfectly realised giant of a tune, a 9 minute+ album track succinctly distilled into a cracking radio edit. Drop down with The Grid & Rollercoaster’s evocative analogue synths.

Yes son, it’s time to go diabolical with Orbital’s illsick Satan. It’s followed by the topical “undefinable modern music” from Lionrock and the buoyant Call A Cab which leads into the ubiquitous Born Slippy. Moving on to something less familiar and Death In Vegas’ deeply mournful Rocco – a 4:54 version of undetermined provenance. Next are New Order and a new update of Blue Monday courtesy of Hardfloor while Chicane’s Offshore reeks of progressive ambient beats. Soft, luscious, powerful and emotive. That could equally apply to Grace’s underrated If I Could Fly, remixed by Oakenfold and Osborne, acid-tinged breakbeats. On the same tip, Goldie’s dreamy drum ‘n’ bass monster Inner City Life while we close CD1 with the atmospheric jungle breaks of Alex Reece’s thunderous Acid Lab, an Outlaw Record purchase in ’97. You had to dodge the scientologists on the way in.

Disc 2 kicks off with Garbage. Their eponymous debut album gave up five singles, with Milk being the last. Remixed for a duet with Tricky and here is that Wicked Mix. Staying spooked are the Sneaker Pimps with their haunting trip hop 6 Underground. There’s a rare misstep next on Morcheeba’s dull Tape Loop but normal service is resumed on Massive Attack’s sensual Sly, named after JR Ewing’s fabulous secretary. “I called you from the hotel phone…” – it can only be Everything But The Girl’s heart wrenching Single, surely their finest moment. Next are The Aloof with the 90s’ dripper, One Night Stand, a most symphonic stand-off for This Life generation; fond memories of 76 Sunny Hill Road in Streatham come flooding back. Sliding on through this purple patch we come to Booth And The Bad Angel with the wonderful road trip that is Dance With The Bad Angels. And then Leftfield’s searching, soaring and joyful Release The Pressure before a jubilant jubbly jaunt with The Orb on Perpetual Dawn. Keep your finger on the rewind button.

Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths formed Archive in 1994 together with female singer Roya Arab and young rapper Rosko John. By the time Wired was released, they had broken up – although would later reform with Power Of Dreams’ Craig Walker handling vocals. Londinium is haunting stuff, smoky late night trip hop. Next are Dubstar with the melancholic dreampop masterpiece Stars. And then The Stone Roses – somewhat unnecessary – with Cold Shah Warrow. Meanwhile Pulp’s Disco 2000 gets the banger treatment from Motiv 8, just a tad too fast. Much more satisfying is The Beloved’s ageless Satellite, “keep on drifting” while it’s a pleasant surprise to hear the Vocal Version of Dreadzone’s late night thriller Little Britain. Getting into a state are Electronic with the 808 remix of Disappointed which is immediately followed by the lads’ apocalyptic In Yer Face. Lastly we trip back to the early part of the decade with The Shamen’s tasty Progen 91 (I.R.P. In The Land Of Oz), remodeled by Paul Oakenfold. Last will and testament.

Favourite tracks
Everything But The Girl – Single

The Aloof – One Night Stand

Booth & The Bad Angel – Dance Of The Bad Angels

Alex Reece – Acid Lab

Lest we forget
Archive – Londinium

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3 Responses to Wired (Polygram TV, 1997)

  1. andynoax says:

    Strangely, I only picked this up in a charity shop last week – I already had most of the songs but was intrigued by the remixes, album tracks and one obscurity (Archive)

    The ones I were most pleased to own for the first time were the Dreadzone, Orbital and Pulp songs. I liked The Booth & The Bad Angel one too. Apparently the edit of ‘Perpetual Dawn’ is unique to this collection.

  2. Pingback: Fused (Polygram TV, 1997) | A Pop Fan's Dream

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