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Album of the month | Carl Cox - Electronic Generations

The world's biggest DJ defies the decades with a career-best work.

Artist: Carl Cox
Title: Electronic Generations
Label: BMG
Released: 2 December

Sounds like: A much-loved veteran marching to the beat of his own bass drum


Review

Carl Cox needs no introduction.

Not just in terms of visibility, but taking into account his longevity and the high level he's remained at, on balance, he's probably the world's biggest DJ. And yet equally, when it comes to producing music, it's fair to say he's never quite replicated the success he's had as a DJ.

At the ripe age of 60, does Carl Cox still have a point to prove?

Carl Cox Invites | DC10 by Mario Pinta

Judging by the soundbites that have paved the way to this album release, that could well be the impetus behind Electronic Generations. Even the highest-profile DJ on the planet has goals to achieve.

The pursuit of a live show is driven by his desire to push boundaries. No doubt inspired by the likes of Christopher Coe, Reinier Zonneveld and Saytek, Carl has developed a performance that incorporates analogue tech, hybrid play and improvisation.

He used his Carl Cox Invites residency at DC10 as a vehicle to showcase this format, alongside other live artists from the Awesome Soundwave camp. That only served as a little teaser though.

Carl Cox Live | Wembley Arena by Dan Reid

The journey was capped by a headline performance at Wembley Arena.

Cox's few detractors take less an issue with the man but see themselves as a counter-balance to a personality who's perceived to be an inoffensive, media-literate, apolitical Mr Nice Guy™.

The kicker is anybody dismissing this work as sugar-coated corporate fodder off-hand, will be surprised. From album opener to warped Nicole Moudaber collab, How It Makes You Feel, Electronic Generations is a lesson in acid.

For a man with such varied tastes (Funk, Soul, Disco, Hardcore, Drum & Bass to name a few), this is a full-bodied Techno record. Heads Up, Move The Crowd and Keep The Pressure On are all futuristic club tracks.

Coxy's fun-loving, playful side shows on the brassy Bring It Back. So much so, we can almost picture his famous gap-toothed grin. There are trippier tracks as well as functional ones, such as Deep Space X.

Guest appearances from Franky Wah, Fatboy Slim and Chase & Status provide wider accessibility and bridge the generations as mentioned. But this is not a commercial record.

Electronic Generations displays a producer in full flow, pushing himself and refusing to be complacent. Remaining stationary is deadly, even surrounded by the comforts Carl Cox's success has afforded him.

The cover art reflects this conviction too, referencing the ascent of man. Primates are replaced with playback formats: the cassette to the droid carrying a crate of vinyl to, finally, a polished and streamlined humanoid of the future. The evolution of the artist. (or perhaps a more cynical observation on the pre-packaged and capitalist nature of the modern music business?)

Either way, Coxy pulls no punches in his uncompromising artistic statement: it's my way or the highway.


Highlights: Bring It Back, Toys Out Of The Pram, See The Sun Rising

Electronic Generations is out now. BUY HERE

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PHOTOGRAPHY | by Dan Reid


Carl Cox Live | Wembley Arena by Dan Reid

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