Into The Blue (Polygram TV, 1998)

Review
Into The Blue was released with the tagline “36 atmospheric tracks” and is effectively a companion piece to Ambient Moods, also released by Polygram TV two years previously. There is some overlap: Bjork and David Arnold – Play Dead, Leftfield featuring Toni Halliday – Original, Everything But The Girl – Missing (Todd Terry Club Mix), The Beloved – The Sun Rising, Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Art Of Noise – Moments In Love, Kate Bush – The Sensual World while the regular mix of Dubstar’s Stars is on Into The Blue (Mother Dub on Ambient Moods).

Disc 1 begins with Youssou N’Dour – of Shaking The Tree and In Your Eyes fame – and his sublime duet with Neneh Cherry; 7 Seconds. It’s a well-trodden path to start as we slip into Dubstar’s dreamy masterpiece Stars and Smoke City’s beguiling Underwater Love. Strings alert! It’s Kylie’s grown-up scorcher; the John Barry sound was all over Confide In Me.
And the touching Winter In July, Bomb The Bass featuring Loretta & using the 3D sound system which leads into the Wicked Mix of Garbage’s Milk. Spot the theme – the Cocteau Twins’ Blue Bell Knoll (one of two good tracks on their worst album; the other is Carolyn’s Fingers) and Moby’s divine Into The Blue – lifted off the underrated Everything Is Wrong. Mimi Goese’s vocal is absolutely sublime here. Another highlight: Salt Tank’s momentous Eugina, trance with a heartbeat. MTV nostalgia overload on couches in flatland.

10 June 1991: Primal Scream released Higher Than The Sun. The 7″ version was backed by The American Spring Mix which in turn also appeared on the 12″ with an extended A-side. The remix 12″ contained A Dub Symphony In Two Parts backed by Higher Than The Orb. It remains one of my favourite ever songs, dark and dreamy: “I’ve glimpsed, I have tasted, fantastical places. My soul’s an oasis, higher than the sun.” For another experience, try the Japanese CD Souls. Speaking of The Orb, they conclude CD1 with the juicy bounce of Blue Room which is preceded by their spiritual brothers Orbital’s The Box. Stop and start.

CD2 of Into The Blue is a marked contrast to the first half. The dance element is gone and instead it plays like a well sequenced list of downbeat tunes. Bernard Butler’s epic Stay is first, all descending chords and an almost gospel construction. Next is the radio edit of Perry Blake’s intense & watchful Genevieve (The Pilot Of Your Thighs), the moodiest of trip hop. In such company, the Velvet Underground’s tinkling Sunday Morning makes sense as does Prefab Sprout’s timeless When Love Breaks Down. Terence Trent D’Arby’s Delicate is magical and captivating and features a great turn from Des’ree. We go back to the ’80s for the melancholy strains of Eurythmics’ Here Comes The Rain Again, All About Eve’s sparse Martha’s Harbour and Clannad’s windswept In A Lifetime. Classic Bono vox.

If you’re after the single edit of Julee Cruise’s Falling then look no further. But the biggest draw here is Japan’s Nightporter. The 3:38 DJ edit appeared on the the promotional 7″ single, and it is also the soundtrack to the music video. It’s here on CD and as far as I know, has never been included anywhere else. Oboe and double bass; absolute classic masterpiece. Meanwhile Boy George’s rendition of The Crying Game is most hauntingly beautiful and expertly produced by the Pet Shop Boys. Next is a surprise; Suzanne Vega’s chilly Small Blue Thing. Her National Stadium gig of December 1986 a bright memory. Elsewhere we get the original of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day (a highlight of Trainspotting and a subsequent charity single) and Duran Duran’s sweeping Save A Prayer – in a 4:08 mix which could possibly be the Australian promo edit. We end with Tasmin Archer’s enduring moon landing tribute Sleeping Satellite and Bryan Ferry’s Taxi-era I Put A Spell On You.

Favourite tracks
Japan – Nightporter (DJ Edit)

Primal Scream – Higher Than The Sun

Salt Tank – Eugina

Boy George – The Crying Game

Lest we forget
Moby – Into The Blue

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