Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Tune of the Week – “Sharp AZ”

There has been an outbreak of Mo Wax love in these parts of late. Back in the day, James Lavelle’s imprint was one in a million. I mean, just have a look at this list of Mo Wax artists and …

Thu, Apr 30, 2009, 11:49

   

There has been an outbreak of Mo Wax love in these parts of late.

Back in the day, James Lavelle’s imprint was one in a million. I mean, just have a look at this list of Mo Wax artists and releases. While the label may have been tagged as a trip-hop entity, Lavelle’s ears were capable of seeking out some damn fine treasures regardless of what you might call them. One of the label’s key releases, DJ Shadow’s groundbreaking “Endtroducing”, is one of my desert island discs, an album which never fails to excite and thrill with its insight, foresight and more sight.

Looking down the list, I also remember with great fondness releases from Money Mark, Tommy Guerrero, David Axelrod, Liquid Liquid, La Funk Mob, Andrea Parker, Dr Octagon (hey, maybe I should have picked “Earth People” for some OTR love?), Attica Blues, the Innerzone Orchestra (“Bug In The Bassbin” is still a buckwild wonder) and Blackalicious. That’s quite a haul of out-there, in-here releases and that’s before we start to talk about the stunning artwork which went hand in hand with each release.

Naturally, the label’s highlife couldn’t last. It’s hard to know when Mo Wax lost its juice. Maybe it was the whole UNKLE nonsense with Ian Brown and Radiohead jumping on the bandwagon, maybe it was when Lavelle decided to become a rock star, maybe it was when the label jumped into bed with A&M. Probably, though, it was just a case that their time was up – a label can only have so long in the limelight before the limelight shifts to the right or the left. Sounds change, life moves on.

This track by Luke Vibert probably illustrates what I loved most about Mo Wax releases. You’ll find it on 1996′s “Headz 2 (Part B)”, one of a plethora of brilliant compilations from the label. They don’t make tracks as eerie, alien and spine-tingling as this anymore. You’ll have it soundtracking your dreams tonight.

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