Essential: Nightmares on Wax

George ‘E.A.S.E’ Evelyn, AKA Nightmares On Wax, has released a range of records that over the years have come to be regarded as integral to electronic music culture – high praise well deserved.

Evelyn produced definitive albums Smokers Delight (now celebrating 21 years) and Carboot Soul – both of which helped shape the down tempo hip-hop scene, and tracks such as Les Nuits, widely regarded as a chillout classic. Carboot Soul heralded a move to live performance with soul singer Sara Winton, Hamlet Luton on bass, Chris Dawkins on guitar, Robin Taylor-Firth on keyboards and the Pure Strings Orchestra on strings.

Later albums such as In A Space Outta Sound continue to be staple afterparty favourites, with the track You Wish in particular being featured in numerous DJ mixes, compilations and club sets. His 2013 album Feelin Good weaves through many styles that NOW have explored over the years, between reggae and soul, hip-hop, jazz and funk.

However, it’s his earlier work on Warp Records that is some of his most remarkable and relevant to house and techno lovers. As Warp’s longest serving member he was instrumental, alongside then-conspirator Kevin Harper, in the early 90’s bleep explosion, with their co-produced tracks Dextrous, Aftermath and I’m For Real attaining mythical status for a generation of clubbers. 

The bleep genre arrived from the North of England in the midst of the UK’s rave obsession - a fresh UK sound merging Chicago style acid house with elements of hip-hop and reggae. Electro-style synth bleeps mixed with ground-shaking bass frequencies, looking backwards to house and forwards to jungle - a combination of sounds that makes it, along with trip hop, 2 step and grime, an inherently British mutation. It’s influence can be heard in UK garage’s offshoot genres, the cavernous sounds of dubstep and variations of bass house.

Nightmares on Wax debut album - A Word of Science: The First and Final Chapter – is emblematic of the UK’s rave scene in it’s early 90’s heyday and no doubt a timeless classic. Aftermath has been remixed by celebrated artists Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer, Special Request, Acid Mondays, LFO and Optimo’s JD Twitch – indication of its influence across the last two decades. 

With a thirving tour diary of live and DJ performances, Nightmares on Wax is still constantly evolving and creating. Very much staying in the game, Evelyn remains relevant and fresh where most others may have become commercial. For sticking with it purely for the love and for expanding the minds of music lovers, we salute you.

Check out Nightmares on Wax at Patterns on July 16