On Night Works
, London-based breaks innovators Layo and Bushwacka! refine their mutant dancefloor rush into a true artform. Their firm debut, 1999's Lowlife
, marked them out as a duo eager to be all things to all ravers, hurling everything from phat basslines to curiously subtle orchestral instrumentation into the mix. But this long-awaited follow-up is something else altogether. Where Lowlife
was big, Nightworks
is massive. Where Lowlife
was curiously subtle, Nightworks
is sublime. Thanks to Bushwacka!'s sparkling production, this broiling cauldron of techno, rave, breakbeat, and jungle solidifies into one coherent vision. But it's the impressive tunecraft of Layo that makes really makes tracks like the seratonin-drenched "Love Story" and the thumping house rush of "Strike". Naturally, it's not all capital-letter TUNES: there's a more intricate, noodly edge to the downtempo likes of "Sahara" that should keep the chill-out enthusiasts happy. Reflecting its creators' diverse background in everything from the underground club and pirate radio scene, to classical music and new-skool bootlegging, this is a 21st century electronic milestone that'll sound as good screaming out of a speaker in an underground London club as it will streaming from of your headphones. --Louis Pattison
In a year thats seen an unusual abundance of high quality dance LP releases, it says something that Layo & Bushwacka!s Night Works still stands head & shoulders above most of 2002s releases. The dance veteran duo have for the past half a decade or so championed the minimalist groove of tech house & tech funk. Fitting in with the tech communitys innate suspicion of commerciality, Night Works is in some respects a deliberately un-commercial album. Plucked guitar motifs figure strongly in the album, producing a mix-and-match sound that updates DJ Shadows early 90s innovations with rather more panache than the innovator has managed himself. Definitely in the hat for album of the year. Digipak. XL Recordings.