Radio 1’s beloved Essential Mix stands resolutely as an institution in its own right. Midland described late nights as a junior tapping into this intergalactic odyssey, defying parental authority and ripping mixtapes from the 4-6am Saturday slot. It’s a British radio announcing that you really are pretty good at what you do – they’re giving you the closing slot at DC10, the keys to your local town (always baffles me that is a real thing)... the cap handed to you on your test-match debut.
So what do you do when your plane’s on the runway, and you can quite literally play any track that has ever entered the sonic hemisphere in the history of human-kind....well, of course, you do exactly what Belgium’s greatest export did. Soulwax (or perhaps the more familiar 2manydjs), when given the tickets to the royal ball in May last year, binned their record collection and created an hours worth of brand-new material themed around the word "essential". Here lies this week’s release of that very hour, split across an LP.
In a career spanning over 20 years, Soulwax have been in just about everyone’s ears at some point... from their soundtracking of Grand Theft Auto V to domination of a Leeds Festival quagmire (perhaps this is just me). The sequencing of this record very much resembles the hard-copy of a live set, crackling into life with 'Essential 1', before being chopped into tracks and laid out individually across 60mins. Genre-hopping from the Adonis-esqe rippling workout of 'Essential Three', to the stand out computertronic warped 'Essential Six', before surging into a gurgling acid workout in 'Essential 9' and rolling through to techno in 'Essential 10'. There’s plenty in there for everyone, but you have to pick and choose... it’s worth it.