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Customer Review

25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1991's post-rave classic...., 14 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Screamadelica (Audio CD)
Listening to 'Screamadelica' for the first time in many years was an interesting experience- it was the soundtrack to the early 1990s & was deemed a classic (something that it's still considered). Listening to it now is a bit like coming-up on that initial illicit-pill - Proustian-time recovery via ectsasy-flashbacks? As a double-album sequence it all hangs together wonderfully- there are only two songs (damaged, movin' on up) which are anywhere near The Stones (& that's due to the involvment of Jimmy Miller)- the rest has more in common with the rave-scene of the late 1980s/early 1990s (LFO, Hypnotone, Ultramarine, 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald, The Orb, The KLF etc)than Jagger & co. Primal Scream, who had previously been a C-86 indie-act, a Love-style psychedelic outfit & a Stooges-inflected garage-rock act (All Fall Down-Leaves-Ivy Ivy Ivy)may have "jumped on the dance-bandwagon" (as the criticisms common at the time went)- but with such aplomb. 'Screamadelica' is a long-player that captures that era, which was an exciting one and saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, the rise in use of ecstasy- I even have a theory that 1989/1990 was everything that 1999/2000 should have been- the displaced millennium. 'Screamadelica' is beautifully-wasted and turned-on, tuned-in and coming-up - the vibe it gives is a positive one and the trip the album takes you on takes you as high as the stars...
Few albums have been so eclectic, a precursor has to be AR Kane's 1989 double-set 'I', which fused indie, dub, drones, ambient, space-jazz, soul, pop, classical and goth in one place (AR Kane were architects of the approach Primal Scream made here). 'Screamadelica' is similarly eclectic and fuses genres like dub, psychedelia, rave, rock, the blues & ambient.
'Movin' on Up' is the opener, an ecstasy-inflected update of The Stones (& George Michael's 'Faith'?), building into gospel & house and quoting the same Biblical-line used at the end of Scorsese's 'Raging Bull': "I was blind- now I can see." Following the opening climax of soulful-joy (courtesy of Denise Johnson), the album flips into dance-mode with a pulsing-reinterpretation of The 13th Floor Elevators' LSD-soaked psychedelic classic 'Slip Inside This House' (just the words & feeling remain) & then the full on rave-anthem 'Don't Fight It, Feel It', which nods to The MC5.
The album then shifts gear towards the ambient, the great Orb-produced version of 'Higher Than the Sun', which seems like a mantra to the chemicals popular at the time, and spins off into a Sun-Ra-space-jazz utopia, evoking a feeling that you are on drugs (even though you're listening to a record). 'Higher Than the Sun' is one of those records that makes me feel like I'm on drugs - see 'Loomer' by My Bloody Valentine, 'Space Invaders are Smoking Grass' by i-f, 'Halleluwah' by Can, 'Spectral Mornings' by Cornershop, 'The Great Curve' by Talking Heads etc...'Inner Flight' sounds like a post-house-Eno, looping a sample which sounds like Martin Gore's vocal on Depeche Mode's 'Shake the Disease' into an ambient moment...
Next up is 1990-single 'Loaded', Andrew Weatherall's reworking of Primal Scream's Stones-like-anthem 'I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have' fused with a dance-mix of Edie Brickell's 'What I Am' & samples from b-movie 'Wild Angels,' which starred Peter Fonda & Nancy Sinatra. The album then shifts to downer-mode with the bruised 'damaged', which attempts to sound like The Stones anywhere between 'Let It Bleed' & 'Exile on Main Street' (think 'Sister Morphine', 'Sweet Black Angel','Torn & Frayed'), and then drifts back up with the ambient-space-jazz of 'i'm comin' down.' The album concludes on a reworking of 'Higher Than the Sun' ('a dub symphony in two parts') which features ex-PIL bassist Jah Wobble- this reprise works wonderfully here, though as a conceit it didn't work on 2000's 'Xtrmntr' and its lame Chemical Brothers remix of 'Swastika Eyes.' Finally there is the gorgeous, minimal electronic joy 'Shine Like Stars' - the music reflecting the feeling of the drugs (yes, the drugs did work...).
'Screamadelica' still sounds wonderful then and is as classic as any album you can name- it also stands up as one of those records which goes beyond genre and stands on its own terms- think DJ Shadow's 'Endtroducing', AR Kane's 'I', Associates' 'Sulk', Eno/Byrne's 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts' or Psychic TV's 'Force the Hand of Chance.' It also forms part of a musical history around dance music and related chemicals- Psychic TV's 'Godstar soundtrack' (which fuses Stones-allusions & ecstasy), New Order's 'Technique' (some made in Ibiza & featuring acid-house nodding 'Fine Time'), Happy Mondays' 'Pills, Thrills'n'Bellyaches' & The Orb's 'Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld.'
'Screamadelica' is surely deserving of a deluxe-two-disc reissue, completing the picture with the original-version of 'Higher Than the Sun' (found on the 'Burning Wheel' single), the Terry Farley single-mix of 'Come Together' (a perfect pop-song) or the tracks on the 'Dixie-Narco' e.p., the epic 'Screamadelica' & the fantastic cover of Dennis Wilson's 'Carry Me Home.' Can only wait for such a joy...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Dec 2007 23:25:34 GMT
M. Dawson says:
Wow, THAT went on forever :-))

Posted on 9 Jan 2009 21:13:27 GMT
Chris Forbes says:
OK mate!! Take a breather, chill!!!!
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