The first thing that smacks you about this release is that they don’t make them like this any more. The second thing you realise is that apart from Gus Till, nobody really made them like this then.
The premise is this: Gus’ releases on the long-defunct Flying Rhino get polished up and/or remixed and/or have the correct versions of tracks released. Yes, correct versions: you can’t help but raise a minor grin at the idea of label managers being so stoned, they released track 1 on the DAT despite having a little label on it saying “finished version is track 4. bom!”
Anyway. The music stands up just as well today as it did then, if not better: through Till’s various incarnations (Slinky Wizard, Bus, Stoop & Fidget) there is a tangible personal stamp, a definite Gus-ness, running all the way through. One would never really expect the current raft of new producers to have a similar sonic fingerprint. After all, they all use the same software as each other so we should probably be looking for fingerprints left by a VST plugin or something.
Bus’ remix of Beautiful People is a masterstroke in sinister texture. Bullet (Correct Mix) fuses sublime melody with ‘avin it energy. Bugged still sounds like having the pressure of several thousand atmospheres forced upon your skull, and Slinky Wizard’s Fistfull Of Mutants has that lysergic squishiness that the current psytrance scene can only dream about.
Stoop & Fidget’s Mefisto is one of my most-played tracks the last couple of months; it passed me by first time around (a curse of not being able to afford music, something I rectified with psyreviews) but by god does it kick. This should be taught on the national psytrance curriculum (which, thank god, doesn’t exist). “How to make energy come from nowhere” or possibly “how to use the space between the sounds instead of f*ing snare rolls.”
N By NW6 is still a classic, brought back to life by (re)masterer Simon Polinski. Something’s Always Out There and Finissimo are both class examples of the Gus sound: the drive, the tilt and the attitude all present and correct. Top of the heap for me has to be Uncontrollable Substance, a track I hazily remember from whenever Back In The Day was.
The only shame about this album is the likelihood of it slipping under all too many a radar. There are awesome moments here, and it really is a lot more than just an historical document. If anything, Best Of The Rhino Years makes you question the validity of a lot of the music from the past five years that you previously thought was good.