You know, in a vast sea of disappointing reunions and long-past-prime bands that pump out pale and retread versions of former hits, fans of NIGHTMARES ON WAX will be delighted with the new album Feelin’ Good. This album is the answer to the laziness and too-cool-to-care attitude that pervades so many music genres. Here is a record that, by title alone, celebrates being happy, feeling good, and giving thanks. (Yes, it can be done.) Legendary producer George Evelyn, better known as DJ EASE, even better known as NIGHTMARES ON WAX, has made an album that’s a celebration on wax: it’s a delicious mix of mellow, ambient tracks and songs that will transport you to the sunny Ibiza open air party of your mind.
Over his illustrious and twenty-year-plus career, NIGHTMARES ON WAX has gone from a full rave sounding DJ (1991 A Word of Science) to more soul influenced (1999’s Carboot Soul) to an ambient trip hop sound (2006 In A Space Outta Sound) seamlessly and with the same amount of joy he brings to all projects. After a five-year hiatus, fans can rejoice at the arrival of Feelin’ Good, a record that owes much to young George Evelyn’s soul and R&B roots and his last seven years living in sunny Ibiza and soaking up the Balearic spirit. Give Thx could be a Stax Record track brought into the modern electronic age: it’s a song that is held together by a vocal that urges you to “Through each day/all the thanks that I’m givin’.” This record is the complete package, and fans of his earlier masterpieces Carboot Soul and Smokers Delight should add this to the collection. The danceable Be, I Do goes nicely with the reggae inspired Now Is the Time. It loops a sample telling you to “better get ready.”
The album ends with the reflective Om Sweet H(Om)e is the most ambient, featuring tinkling bells and the repeated “Om” mantra. There’s a brief break where you hear some chanting and bells that sounds appropriate in a Tibetan monastery. NIGHTMARES ON WAX told us in an interview “I’m in a state where I’m deciding that I don’t know who I am but I’m going to enjoy finding out.” You will too.