"If the tracklist doesn't immediately set your pulse racing then it's time to educate yourself and take a trip into a world of techno and electronica, where emotion and technical prowess, aligned to a harmonious balance of eclecticism, make everything seem, on the one hand nostalgic, and on the other, very much at the cutting edge. Global Communication are back after a fifteen year break, and to celebrate they're going to remind us why they were so important in the first place.
Maybe they really never got the attention they thought they deserved and it's simply a case of unfinished business, or their versatility and reluctance to be pigeonholed has finally succumbed to entropy. Anyway, asking Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard, aka Global Communication, to select tracks for NRK's 'Back In The Box' series was inspired; the series being one that lets it's selectors run riot in their crates was always a good concept and one that fits GC like a glove. Not having properly produced or played together since the mid-nineties may have paradoxically been a huge advantage in track selection, not that I'm suggesting they simply put together a set inspired by the last time they did a gig, you understand, but the spirit of the age may have somehow remained fresh within them and setting it free after having bottled it up for so long was only ever going to be a good thing.
Now to the music. Disc one and disc two follow a relatively accepted path. The first is the more uptempo of the two, the latter concentrating on the more ambient side of things. Throughout the length of the collection, familiar beats float in and out of one's consciousness; listening to it I was instantly reminded of raves gone by without being able to always put my finger on what exactly it was I was listening to. Detroit opens the proceedings and without wanting to sound too much like a blatant nostalgist, the music from the likes of Fade ll Black, Derrick May, in collaboration with Steve Hillage's System Seven, BFC/Carl Craig, etc still sounds incredibly fresh and transcendental. I suppose we're living at a period in the evolution of dance music when reinvention has never been so hip, and, although the process is continually self-perpetuating, it's rarely been as exciting as now. Moving swiftly on, disc one peaks when it gets a little bit melodically hardcore. However, after 'Number 9 Bad Acid' from DHS seques into Speedy J's 'De-Orbit' we're riding the panpipes back to base with Balil leading the way, bridging the gap onto disc two.
Although the more relaxed of the two halves, and arguably the deeper, there's no let up in the musics magnitude. Again, Detroit makes more than a cameo appearance. Yennek, aka Kenny Larkin, remixed by Carl Craig, Never On A Sunday, aka Octave One, the recently rereleased Reel By Real, Urban Tribe and Juan Atkins all feature. Listening to this mix is like being on a techno version of the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, but it's not just about the originators. Their UK peers in the shape of As One, aka Kirk DeGiorgio, 808 State, Balil, Stasis and The Aphex Twin all distinguish themselves as well. The mix comes to a halt with Global Communication themselves contributing a cut, and Mixmaster Morris reshaping Sven Vath.
I listened to this mix a lot before writing this review, but in many ways that didn't matter. Ever since I started listening to electronic music in earnest, sounds like those on display here have always been in my mind and, although they rise to the surface from time to time in all sorts of places, experiencing that strange feeling of deja vu has rarely felt as pleasurable as now. 'Back In The Box Mixed By Global Communication' works on many levels, some you are conscious of, others not and, without wanting to sound too pompous, listening to it is an education."