Nightmares On Wax – ‘NOW Is The Time’

Dance veterans collate their highs and lows on 25 year-spanning Best Of

The name was intended to echo the kind of boom-bap hip-hop which now gets called ‘classic’ but was on the chronically bleeding edge in 1989, when Nightmares On Wax began. Yet over 25 years and seven albums, condensed here into a two-CD career overview, the dreamstate commonly evoked has been less a nightmare, more a big, floaty marshmallow pillow. Initially ‘bleep techno’ mainstays alongside fellow Sheffield ravers LFO, NOW’s heads quickly turned towards classic soul lushness and stoned, downtempo meandering. The cream of their output is undeniable – the Air-like stringed beauty of ‘Les Nuits’, gut-wobbling soul wailer ‘I Am You’ and early singles ‘Dextrous’ and ‘Aftermath’ – but there’s an awful lot of so-so wallpaper here, especially for a Best Of.

Noel Gardner