Top positive review
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Oakey's bid for posterity
on 24 October 2007
Love him or loathe him, Oakenfold has had an indelible influence on UK dance music, particularly by taking it to a wider audience. This mix compilation brings together, for the first time, productions from every stage of his career, from early balearic remixes of The Cure and the Happy Mondays to trancey Cream Anthems and some of the rock-influenced dance sounds he plays today. There are even a few previously unreleased mixes of club classics like EBTG's "Missing".
It may not as cutting edge as James Holden or as subtle as Lee Burridge (both of whom I highly recommend to those with more underground tastes!) but it is a lot more listenable and accessible than the vast majority of dance compilations (and it's likely to stay in your collection for a lot longer). Is it pushing back boundaries and redefining genres? Nope. Will it rock a lot of student house parties, and give a lot of thirty-something retired ravers an enjoyable trip down memory lane? Definitely.
There's some significance in the inclusion of U2 twice on this compilation: arguably the pinnacle of Oakenfold's career was in supporting the Dublin band on world tour in the early 90s, and like Bono's band in the rock world, Oakenfold has a stadium-filling universality which seems to transcend the music. There are those who play faster, harder, or with more intensity and originality; but there's something suitably epic in scale about their music which connects with a wider audience and can fill the enormous venues where they play.
If you're a purist techno fan, this CD is not for you, but if you're a casual listener looking for an introduction to dance music, a souvenir of your mis-spent youth, or something to listen to on a long drive/at a party/while going for a run, this compilation is worth checking out as it's likely to be infinitely more enduring than those billions of soundalike Clubland or Hed Kandi compilations.