Hyperbole aside, world-renowned DJ/producer Sasha sums up the Global Underground experience best among all the notable artists in GU 10’s thick album sleeve: “They were the first people to put the photograph of the DJ on the cover… They took an underground culture of mix tapes and made the music industry sit up and notice.”
It’s really hard to dispute the man whose hallowed career, like many of his peers, was catapulted by GU, which is now blowing the candles and celebrating its ten-year existence with this immense 3-CD set.
Virtually every ‘choon on the two “96-06” mixes lurking within the sleek red & white packaging will be familiar to GU diehards. UK electronic pioneers Underworld kick off the proceedings with “A Hundred Days Off,” paving the way for a progressive techno feast that features many marquee names including Steve Lawler, Layo & Bushwacka!, as well as Felix Da Housecat — whose classic “Silver Screen Shower Scene” gets an impressive makeover from Thin White Duke.
But the euphoria distilled by disc 1 quickly washes away on 2, which offers a grittier, thrilling blend of tribal, electro and breaks. Along this darker path, our headspace is infiltrated and satiated by cuts from Sander Kleinenberg, Cass & Slide, and Danny Tenaglia.
Together, the two sets represent a seamless evolution in sound, which makes the inclusion of the “87-95” mix quite puzzling. Sure, it’s a time capsule of the rave scene’s dawn, and a nostalgic trip to the era when divas and drugs ruled the club scene. But for a 10th anniversary mix, it’s out of context, out of sync, and outdated in this collection.
Still, while the sum of its parts are greater than the whole, GU 10 is a generous, and often invigorating testament to a label that not only made the music biz sit up and notice, but dance their asses off in the process.
Global Underground: globalunderground.co.uk