Album Review: N.O.W. Is the Time by Nightmares on Wax
Great, Based on 4 Critics
The Line of Best Fit - 85 Based on rating 8.5/10
Over the past 25 years, Nightmares On Wax has been an inescapable name for anyone familiar with the intricacies of UK Hip-hop and its various sub-genres. Even if you’re sitting there reading this thinking ‘who is this mysterious artist working under such a disturbing epithet?’, if you have been to a bar within the past 20 years, you’ll have heard the music of George Evelyn and his collaborators. N.O.W Is The Time is an assortment of N.O.W’s greatest hits, collating the fragments of a fertile and inventive career into what might be regarded as some kind of holy scripture of trip-hop.
Acronymically titled after a track from the 2013 album Feelin' Good, N.O.W. Is the Time anthologizes 25 years of output from Nightmares on Wax, the Warp label's most enduring act. This is an even-handed, roughly two-and-a-half-hour overview of George Evelyn's work with Kevin Harper and Robin Taylor-Firth that draws from all seven Nightmares on Wax albums, from 1991's A Word of Science through Feelin' Good.
In its 25-year history, Warp Records has seen many artists come and go. The iconic British indie label has been home to, at one time or another, LFO, Aphex Twin, and Grizzly Bear. But no act has been signed to Warp longer than George Evelyn. Doing business under the Nightmares on Wax name, Evelyn had Warp’s second-ever release with “Dextrous” in 1989.
New Musical Express (NME) - 60 Based on rating 3/5
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.