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Nightmares on Wax
Techno


The combined project of George Evelyn and Kevin Harper, Nightmares on Wax were one of the brightest spots on the post-rave British techno map of the early '90s. Although the group was later pared back to just Evelyn and a handful of contributors, N.O.W.'s debut album, A Word of Science, was -- along with early tracks by LFO, Tuff Little Unit, and Tricky Disco -- a crucial bridge between the competing influences of New York house and electro, Detroit techno and soul, London rave and acid, and the burgeoning eclecticism of the years to come. Forming in the late '80s in West Yorkshire as an extension of Evelyn and company's b-boy crew the Soul City Rockers, N.O.W.'s first singles, "Dextrous" and "Aftermath," were both highly regarded, and the latter shot into the pop singles Top 40. The subsequent album laid a good deal of the groundwork for the downtempo experimental hip-hop/electro-funk worked over by Mike Paradinas, Luke Vibert, Spacer, and others, and earned the group a secure spot among techno's select crew of next-step innovators. The group nonetheless disbanded following Science's release, with Harper leaving to pursue a DJ career and Evelyn turning out a smattering of house tracks on Warp's Nucleus subsidiary before settling into bedroom woodshed mode. Following a four-year hiatus, Evelyn resurfaced with a track on the Mo' Wax Headz compilation and, soon after, Smoker's Delight, basically an instrumental hip-hop album with a distinctively British eclecticism. Still involved with the same sorts of genre-spanning sampler-and-sequencer experiments, Smoker's Delight is also less obvious, suited more to repeat listenings than previous material. The same was also true for 1999's Carboot Soul, Evelyn's first album as part of a deal with American indie label Matador for domestic distribution. In 2000, NoW produced the first new material by De La Soul in several years, included on an EP (The Sound of N.O.W.) featuring the rap pioneers. Following hot on its heels was a volume in the Studio !K7 mix series DJ Kicks. Two years later, Evelyn delivered his fourth LP, Mind Elevation. Sean Cooper

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