You might want to say that it was only a matter of time before we heard something like this. And you just might be right. Whatever your feelings though, Paul Woolford's turn as Special Request is more than welcome to these ears. Woolford's been working for the past decade turning out top shelf techno under his own name; check releases on 20:20 Vision, Planet E, and most recently Hotflush Recordings. With Soul Music he takes a look back to the past and his first encounters with the UK's bubbling pirate radio scene. As a youth he was turned on to the sounds of the nascent hardcore and breaks sets before getting into jungle. Soul Music mines those sounds, and creates something entirely new and equally effective in the process. While Woolford may be taking a look to the past, the album is far from nostalgic. He avoids lazily repeating past tropes and instead takes things to a whole new place. The Amen break is dusted off and put to great use in completely creative ways. Muted vocal samples, hoovery bass stabs, and precise drum programming combine to create something that feels like the bastard offspring of Squarepusher and his more accessible contemporaries. Whatever the case, Woolford seems to have put in the work and created something totally unique and equally as fun. There are plenty of irreverent twists, avalanches of breaks and head-rushing moments to make even the most jaded raver happy. Not to say that Soul Music is strictly for the old school heads. There's a wealth of forward thinking moves to keep most dancefloors moving well into the wee hours. It's worth wrapping your head around the album even if you weren't there to experience 90s UK rave culture first hand. Recommended.
- music label: Houndstooth 2013