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This is the debut album from dance music pioneer Goldie and released in 1995 when he was 30 years old. Previous to the release of the album, Goldie had been a graffiti artist and DJ, among other things. Upon its release, Timeless became a hugely influential album and cemented Goldie's reputation in the music scene. In fact, despite never releasing anything half as good ever since, this is a reputation he maintains - solely on the basis of this one album. The reason for its success is its original combination of breakbeats, prominent basslines, soul music-style female vocals, and orchestral keyboards. All these are fused in a way that is common today but was new and fresh way, way back in '95. As well as the attempt to create something original, the execution of the album is superb. The brilliant song-writing of Goldie and the other producers (most notably Rob Playford) meant that this album had a wider appeal than just the dance-music scene and went into the UK album charts at number 7 upon its release. In contrast to many other dance music albums, this is very much what one would consider a 'proper' album, an intelligent, literary album, and an album that is designed to be listened to, and not necessarily to be danced to (in fact, you'd be hard pressed to in many place). For many, this album is all about the eponymous opening track, Timeless. This is a 21- minute epic in three movements that, as I understand it, attempts to recreate the feelings on living in the inner city (the first movement is called Inner City Life, also released as a single). You'd be forgiven for thinking that sounds like a concept that could only produce some truly horrible sounds but you'd be almost entirely wrong, as there is a whole array of emotions portrayed here, and while there are long moments of tension, there is also release. Yes, this is an astonishing piece of music. I mentioned that the keyboards on this album are orchestral and in fact this whole piece I would describe as orchestral - and I don't use that term lightly. This is very much a fluid and complex musical journey, where repeated themes emerge, diverge and reform throughout, linking different phases of light and dark emotion through technical brilliance. If you get into this, you'll be totally surrounded by the sounds of it. It completely fills all the spaces in the room and in your head, oftentimes with the spaces between the sounds themselves. The first time I heard this, the drum beats sounded like water droplets and the fracturing effects were like giant crystals shattering in a void. I'll say it again; this is an astonishing piece of music. The rest of the album is also excellent, but I will refrain from boring you with a pointless track-by-track run-through. Suffice to say, there are plenty of awesome beats and basslines, sound effects and female vocals throughout (by Diane Charlemagne and Lorna Harris). Some of the tracks are proper old school drum and bass (check out track 7 - Kemistry - and try to not move like a raver, I dare you) and others are really chilled out mood pieces. I still love them all and if I listen to the album at all, I'll listen to it in its entirety. This album, appropriately enough, has aged exceptionally well and, apart from a couple of moments on some tracks (I'm talking to you, intro to and vocals on track 8), remains a brilliant listen for something that was once so very cutting edge (the bleeding-edge of music usually ages as well as a cheap cheese). As you can get copies of this for next to nothing now, I'd recommend this masterful album to anyone who likes electronic or dance music. For any one else, I'd probably give it a miss unless you're someone who enjoys good music no matter what form it takes. So I'd say if you're into something like mental-era Miles Davis, or complex metal like Lightning Bolt then there's a chance you'd also appreciate it. Something just struck me - I would describe this album as Brian Eno with some fat beats. Timeless - Goldie Released 1995 Genre: Drum and Bass / Breakbeat (electronic/dance music) Single Disk Edition Track Listing (also available as 2-disk edition) 1. Timeless I. Inner City Life II. Pressure III. Jah 2. Saint Angel 3. State of Mind 4. Sea of Tears 5. Angel 6. Sensual 7. Kemistry 8. You & Me
[I have also posted this review on Epinions and Ciao] This review is for the 1CD version of Timeless. I understand that there is also an uncut 2CD version available which I have never heard. [If anyone has heard both versions please tell me which is better!] Track Listings 1. Timeless [i. Inner City Life ii. Pressure iii. Jah ] 2. Saint Angel 3. State of Mind 4. Sea of Tears 5. Angel 6. Sensual 7. Kemistry 8. You and Me Released in 1995, Timeless is a classic debut drum n bass album from Goldie. The style is smooth, soulful and occasionally dark and menacing. What I love about this album is the variety of songs, the excellent samples and the evolving beats. To add to this are the touches of originality present in certain tunes, creating one of the most memorable albums I have ever heard. Unfortunately, most of the tracks are fairly long and, unless you are in the right frame of mind, they feel it too. I am used to listening to condensed radio-friendly tunes that rarely last more than 4-5 minutes. Tracks on this album can range from 5-12 minutes [Timeless is actually 21 minutes long but is a mix so it doesn't count!]. With only 8 tracks, I will describe each in turn so you can get an idea of the music on this cd. 1. Timeless This is actually an ambitious, polished mix of 3 tracks that lasts for 21 minutes!!! The buildup, like much of the album, is slow and gradual (it takes about 2 minutes before the first part of the mix, Inner City Life, actually truly begins), so if you are impatient you could find this album difficult to listen to. I absolutely love Inner City Life - for me this truly is a timeless drum n bass masterpiece. The beat is addictive, the vocals are beautifully soulful and the track is tinged with a helpless despairing atmosphere. "Pressure" has a gloriously dark sample, but it was only 2 weeks ago that I realized where the sample actually came from. It is ripped straight from the 1989 John Woo movie called The Killer [an ultra violent Hong Kong classic which is well worth checking out if you want to see the inspiration behind films such as Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs!]. I wonder if Goldie asked for his permission? ;) "Jah" is probably the weakest tune out of the three, but everything is expertly blended together to create "Timeless" - a fantastic mix which transcends its individual components. 2. Saint Angel This is a furious drum n bass track with a menacing bassline and sharp, metallic sounding samples - definitely one for the ravers out there. What I enjoy most about this tune is how it evolves over time, using different samples and beats. 3. State of Mind Oh dear.... State of Mind would be a great slow soulful pop song, but sadly it is marred by a horribly dated flute synth. Timeless it most definitely is not! This is the only down-tempo song on the album, and would have been most welcome if it wasn't for that wincingly bad synth. An illustration of why I cannot give this album a 5 star review is in the duration of this track - 7:04 minutes. It is totally unnecessary to make this track so long! I am personally tempted to fade out the track at about 3:48 or 4:48. In my opinion this would improve the song immeasurably by reducing the repetition and cutting out that disgusting synth [suddenly I like this song! :P]. 4. Sea of Tears A highlight of the entire album, and one of the most memorable, beautiful songs I have ever heard. Samples of crashing waves and dolphins are excellently used to evoke an atmosphere of being at sea. There is a drum n bass beat present but it is extremely chilled out and relaxing. Couple this with a great melody and you have a truly inspirational track. Utterly original...... However..... once again my complaint about overlong tracks comes to the surface. I personally feel this track should finish at 5:20 rather than 12:02 minutes, since the 2nd half of this track is weaker and more repetitive. 5. Angel A nice optimistic, soulful drum n bass track, with a slightly unnecessary dark twist in the middle - but who am I to complain? 6. Sensual A smooth, chilled dnb tune. Not bad, but there isn't quite enough going on here to sustain interest for long. 7. Kemistry A slightly haunting dnb tune which starts off really well and then gradually turns psychedelic, and rather unmelodic - I usually switch off at that point. 8. You and Me The synths here all sound a bit dated now, which is a shame. This track has a nice beat, but the vocals are sung in a very unmelodic manner which just does not mesh with the rest of the track. As soon as I hear the vocals, I am immediately put off this track. It is easy for me to sit here and criticize the tracks, especially the last 3 which I feel are weaker than the rest of the album, but I cannot criticize the the concepts. Goldie (and his team) have some fantastic ideas which really shine. I am still listening to Timeless, Saint Angel and Sea of Tears in 2008 (albeit my own cut down versions :P), and expect to continue to do so, years and years down the line. I really wanted to give this album a 5 star review for the concept alone, but the execution is just short of perfection in my opinion. A worthy and DISTINCTIVE addition to any record collection.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Saint Angel
3 State of mind
4 Sea of tears
8 You and me