Published Jun 26, 2018After returning in 2017 with their first LP in 12 years — the well-received From Deewee — Soulwax were invited by the BBC to record a volume of their famed Essential Mix. Rather than assembling a collection of other artists' songs, the Belgian duo decided to remix the mould and sequester themselves into a studio to record their sixth album, calling it Essential.
Putting the album together in just under two weeks, Soulwax deftly kept much of the liveliness that made their previous LP so listenable, as many of the tracks on this 60-minute LP contain a high RPM, forward-moving energy.
Part of this immediacy is what makes most of Essential work, including the Charlotte Adigéry guested "Essential Four" and the bonkers vocal cutups of "Essential Five" and "Essential Twelve." But it's what also help some tracks crash and burn, including the similar plodding, muddy sounds on "Essential Eight" and "Essential Nine."
But for better or for worse, there's never a dull moment throughout the 12-track album. Essential is a strange, adventurous and ultimately enjoyable collection of half-finished, fully realized songs that could only have been crafted by artists as musically brazen and tenured as Soulwax. (Deewee)