Following on from the announcement of his new album on Warp Records, Nightmareson Wax shares new single ‘Breathe In’ which features OSHUN: a hip-hop duo channeling ‘ancestral Magic’ from New York whose name is taken from the West African mythological deity of fresh water, pleasure, sexuality, fertility, beauty and love derived from the Yoruba religion. Here’s the duo on the roots of the track:
“‘Breathe In’ is an opportunity for us to center our minds, bodies, and Spirit so that we are grounded in the midst of chaos. Whether it is an average day or a global emergency, we will always need the tools that have been passed down to us. There’s a reason we’re still here, still breathing and existing on this planet, and this song is our reminder.”
And George Evelyn elaborates on the formation of the rest of the album, “I feel like I’ve been set free of something and I am now becoming who I really am.” As Nightmares on Wax, Evelyn has – for the last 30 years, as Warp’s longest-serving signing – been consistently at the forefront of contemporary music, creating a unique blend of electronica, jazz, hip-hop, dub, funk, soul and techno.
Although 9 albums in, he may have only just truly stepped into his own groove. Lockdown forced a change of pace and offered some time for meaningful reflection and introspection. “I’ve been gigging non-stop for 10 years,” he says. “And that experience has been beautiful but it also drained me emotionally.”
He began to reassess some things. “As a creative you’re always questioning everything,” he says. “So having the time and the space has meant that I could do a proper deep dive into this stuff. So it was all about this journey of going back to myself, and realising being at home with my wife and my daughter that I’ve not really been here properly. It’s like I’ve just woken back up to what I actually have – and it’s already here.”
Evelyn already had the wheels in motion for making a collaborative album with a variety of guests but now he took this personal element and asked them to run with it. “The world had stopped and I’d slowed down but time speeded up,” he reflects. “So there was a lot of static going on in the world at that time. So my conversation with people was more like, ‘what’s going on inside? What’s the inner voice saying?’” As a result, he formed creative bonds with new and upcoming talent that slotted in nicely with both the history and evolution of N.O.W. The likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Haile Supreme, Mara TK, Sabrina Mahfouz. GreenteaPeng, OSHUN and Pip Millett all feature.
However, despite the array of guests, all adding something unique and dynamic to a record that seamlessly glides between slick electronica, smooth jazz, deft hip-hop, and that distinct middle ground that epitomes the essence of N.O.W, this is Evelyn’s most personal album to date. “This record is probably the deepest record I’ve written,” he says.
When all the guest’s contributions were complete and the album was meticulously assembled to what we hear now, Evelyn picked up one last powerful and potent theme that came oozing out of the grooves. “I think it’s the story of the human spirit,” he says.
Nightmares on Wax Shout Out! To Freedom…
1. Shout Out! (Intro) feat. Beautiful People
3. Creator SOS feat. Haile Supreme and Wolfgang Haffner
4. 3D Warrior feat. Shabaka Hutchings, Haile Supreme and Wolfgang Haffner
5. Miami 80
6. GTP Call
7. Wikid Satellites feat. Greentea Peng
8. Breathe In feat. OSHUN
9. To Freedom (Interlude) feat. Beautiful People
10. Wonder feat. Haile Supreme and Shabaka Hutchings
11. Own Me feat. Haile Supreme
13. Isolated feat. Pip Millett and Sabrina Mahfouz
14. Trillion feat. Mara TK
15. Up To Us feat. Haile Supreme