Eclipse 11th May 1991 cover

Eclipse 11th May 1991

There are many, many tape recordings of Carl Cox playing in the peak UK rave era of 1991-2 when vast crowds went insane to what was just being codified as “hardcore” — but this one might be the pinnacle. Recorded at the huge Eclipse club in Coventry in the English Midlands, It captures the way the best DJs corralled the fearsome chaotic energy of every walk of life and cultural influence being thrown together in a narcotic storm, nudging and pushing it to keep the ecstatic momentum going at all times. Sampled breakbeats, bleeps, Detroit techno, Italo pianos, acid, reggae, soul and disco divas, Euro industrial are all surging through each track, with Cox’s rapid-fire cutting and scratching making the brew even headier. Everything is about instant impact — the ultimate rave cheese of 2Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This” is here, dammit, alongside eternal anthem’s like Outlander’s “Vamp,” The Prodigy‘s “Charly,” 2nd Phase’s “Mentasm” and so many more — but the artistry of the tracks and the mixing is enduringly dazzling too, even with (or maybe even enhanced by) the tape distortion and occasional clunks.

Joe Muggs

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