The Rambler :: blog

Thursday, November 20, 2003

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On the other hand, as I continue revisiting my old records on my London travels, Goldie's Timeless is something else, a product of similar times, but it stands up against almost anything else I own.

This was an incredible album. Despite the washes of strings, the (air raid) siren vocals, the phasing, the reverb, this is not a smooth production. It's precisely and skillfully put together, but there's no pretending any of this is actually live, or meant to sound real. It's gloriously, proudly digital. Paradoxically, because of this foregrounded artifice, it sounds more human, more warm than a lot of the other Metalheadz stuff from the time.

You can hear the beginning and end of every sample. You can hear the gaps between the loops, the compressions and timestretches from one snare crack to the next. You can hear exactly how this album was made, and you can trace the work involved. 'Inner city pressure' indeed - the microchips and transistors and meters are working so hard you can feel them pushing out the sides. Like tree roots under tarmac - structurally sound, but for how long? Like Ligeti's Continuum - so much music, so much mechanism that it starts to break down. You can hear the breaks and samples on Timeless splitting, spitting at the seams.

This kind of production aesthetic, from microhouse to Madonna's 'Music' has become commonplace so you don't notice it as much; but given the polished comfort of so much electronica of the time - Orbital, say - Timeless was a stunning record.

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