“It doesn’t matter how many tricks you learn, or how many skills you get, it all boils down to simplicity,” said English DJ and producer George Evelyn (a.k.a. Nightmares on Wax) in a recent interview with Vice’s Thump blog. That may seem like a strange statement coming from an electronic artist, what with all the blips, bloops, and other electronic toys at one’s fingertips these days. But when you hip to the vibes, from the downtempo beats to slow-groovin’, electro-tinged soul, on his latest full-length Feelin’ Good, you’ll understand where he’s coming from.
These days Evelyn makes his home in Ibiza, where he has a residency at Las Dalias, one of Ibiza’s oldest nightclubs. His roots, however, stretch back to Yorkshire in the late 80s. Back then, Evelyn was a hip-hop-loving b-boy when he teamed up with Kevin Harper and formed Nightmares on Wax. An early Nightmares on Wax single, “Aftermath,” made it into the U.K. Top 40 pop charts. Harper left after the group’s first techno-flavored record A Word of Science for a solo DJ career (today he’s joined by collaborator Robin Taylor-Firth). Evelyn forged ahead with Nightmares on Wax solo, and released the eclectic Smokers Delight in 1995. Evelyn really hit a stride with 1999’s smoldering Carboot Soul.
Evelyn’s latest record continues his long and fruitful relationship with legendary British electronic label Warp. But despite some electro flavor, today’s tune “Give Thx,” with its Sunday-morning vocals and long, groovy horn lines, doesn’t feel quite like a product of the digital age. It could easily be a long-lost gospel tune repurposed for a new age. But don’t take that to mean it feels recycled, quite the opposite. It’s warm, inviting, and lovely in its simplicity.