Ed Rush & Optical | Wormhole (5LP) [VRS001LP]
Ed Rush & Optical | Wormhole
Label: Virus Recordings – VRS001LP
Format: 5 x Vinyl, 12", Album, Record Store Day, Reissue, Box Set
Released| 22 Apr 2023
- ONE COPY PER CUSTOMER -
25th Anniversary 5 x 12inch vinyl using the original print files. 3mm spined sleeves with black paper inners in a 12inch black lined lift off lid hard cover box, gloss laminated with 16 page booklet of original notes/photos and background to arguably the most influential Drum & Bass album.
Optical Feb 2023;
“We are doing a luxurious high quality boxset to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original release with the original artwork and top quality vinyl and lovely 16 page booklet with lots of photos and art and words from everyone involved in making the record happen”
* Recorded between 1997 and 1998 by Ed Rush & Optical, the album was released on the 16 November 1998 on Virus Recordings, in vinyl and CD formats. The CD edition was a double disc, the second disc containing an hour-long continuous mix while the LP was a five-disc set housed in a widespine sleeve, with a single track per side. “Splinter” by Fortran was a collab with Ed Rush, Optical and Fierce. The recordings were produced and mixed in Optical's custom built studio, based in Rob Playford's Moving Shadow offices, St Anne's Court, SOHO, London. The final mastering was done by Stuart Hawkes at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London.
* Wormhole is considered to be the very first LP in the Neurofunk Genre and is a drum and bass scene classic.
Did you ever experience the feeling that, while listening to an album, immersed in the music, you weren't thinking anything and, in fact, did not have to think anything because the music was somehow replacing your thoughts and simultaneously translating or mapping them? And that you'd be entirely happy to continue having your thoughts and the music merge into one, your cerebral activity just 'being' that music? But then it also hits you: what does that say about my thoughts and mindset? In particular, why am I so comfortable with my brain twisting and speeding like a renegade droid in an escape pod gone berserk somewhere in the voids of outer space?
As more than a few listeners will agree, the darker styles of drum & bass are an exceptional musical fit for sci-fi themes and atmospheres, especially the more gloomy, brooding and apocalyptical ones. Ed Rush & Optical's Wormhole undeniably is one of the albums that does that best. From the ominous beginning tones of Mystery Machine onwards, the producing duo will have you hooked, or at the very least intrigued, with some the heaviest bass lines ever (see esp. Splinter and Millennium), up-tempo snares and scratchy grooves (Slip Thru, Compound, Fixation), and an array of instrumental and vocal samples throughout, used sparingly enough to give the impression of minimal tweaks for maximum effect. Tracks like Glass Eye and Dozer still connect with the dub and reggae roots of drum and bass, while Point Blank and Compound mix elements of ska and funk, giving them a heavy futuristic twist. The main mid range guitar-like sample in Compound is one for the ages, together with its pounding bass lines. As stardust sparkles through the title track Wormhole, the sound of the album also seems to reach the peak of its maturity (if something like electronic bass riffing exists, it’s on this track), and the journey your ears have been taking reveals itself as one that translates intergalactic shortcuts to synapses in the microcosmic realm of the brain. The closer Lithosphere, then, forms the short but necessary ambient decompression.
Alien, otherworldly, eerie, relentless and infectious are all predicates that fit the musical vibe of Wormhole equally well. The tunes are irresistibly funky in some kind of deranged way, bursting with dark attractive energy. In hindsight, there could not have been a better time slot than 1998, pending Y2K, to drop this aural bomb of millennial anxiety and anticipation. The album captures that feeling and historical moment perfectly, but also continues to convey it as a timeless experience. There’s plenty of background and analysis to read on the internet: on how Wormhole hit and changed the face of drum & bass, instantly making it fashionable far beyond UK club culture; on how its stylistic leap from the jazzy and ethereal to the relentless and dark single-handedly initiated and installed the subgenre known as Neurofunk; on how its militant drum tracks and bass lines had a significant hand in winning over fans of metal to electronic music; etcetera. You will also have little trouble finding all the nerdy technical specs: on how the album retains the ‘warmth of older pre-PC production’ as it was made on ‘outboard gear’; on the arsenal of studio equipment used (including the whole range of Boss guitar effect pedals); on the quality of the drum samples (half of which being the artists’ original recordings of drummers); and whatnot. But the year is now, and the fact is: Wormhole still hits the spot.
Mackie 32/8 32 channel, 2 x Emu E6400 Ultra (1x8 outs, 1x16 outs), Alesis Quadraverb, Focusrite Green Eq x2, Focusrite Green Compressor, Focusrite ISA430 Producer Pack, Lexicon Alex, Lexicon MPX1, Alesis MidiVerb4, TC Electronics Fireworx, TC Electronics Finalizer, Joe Meek VC1, Drawmer MX40, CryBaby Wah Pedal, Boss Pedals - (Too many to list but all the popular ones), Novation Basstation, OSCar, Sequential Circuits Pro1, Prophet 5, Wurlitzer, PPG Wave 2.1, Neumann TLM 103 mic, Fender Strat 1972, Oberheim/Viscount GM1000, Korg Z1, Kawai K1r, BSS DPR-402 Compressor, Unitor8 Midi output, Kenton Midi to CV box, Yamaha NS-10M monitors, Dynaudio BM15 monitors. Apple LCII computer. Cubase SX 1. All top quality, shielded, balanced, gold core, custom made wiring throughout, with a fully balanced +10db signal path.
- 25th Anniversary RSD 2023 pressing.
- Gloss laminated 12inch black lined lift off lid hard cover box.
- 16 page booklet of original notes/photos and background.
A Mystery Machine
C Slip Thru
E Glass Eye
F Point Blank