WINK Higher State Of Conciousness (Strictly Rhythm)

A brief mention for this, which my spies tell me was a bona fide chart hit last Autumn. Since it didn’t get much airplay on Radio 4, the first (second, third and fourth) I heard of it was at a party, and then heard it again through my floor the following evening when somebody appeared to be holding their own personal Megadog on a twelfth floor landing. Two Josh Wink fans can’t be wrong, so fearlessly did I brave the wrath of Piccadilly Records’ import dance 12 " section.

The version I bought (in true dance music style there are several) contains three mixes: the rather pedestrian "DJ Wink’s Hardhouse Mix", the not-as-thrilling-as-it-sounds "611 Acid Groove Mix", and "Tweekin’ Acid Funk", which welds together the world’s best appropriation of the "Funky Drummer" loop by a machine and the most addictively frazzled acid line ever to poke its snout out of an analogue synth, a combination so glorious that even the rather dopey slowed down vocal samples or the rather unsubtle "Dedicated to E-Culture" slogans on the label can’t belittle it. If dance music ever has a finer six minutes I sincerely hope I’ll still able to shake a fringe at it.

WINX Left Above The Clouds (XL)

Winx, a.k.a Wink, a.k.a. Josh Wink, is the vegetarian, teetotal, non-smoking Philly DJ responsible for possibly the most fantastically frazzled (and more recently remixed beyond credulousness) dance tune ever in the form of "Higher State Of Consciousness", and this hefty eighteen-track triple album is his first (extremely) long playing work. Within its eighty minute duration Wink wrestles bravely with a whole record-bag of genres: opener "Warm Wet Sand" and "Path Towards Mountain Green" are the essence of Irresistible Forcesque ambience, "Lifting Rocks For Crayfish" is a gorgeous minimal ambient house device, "Topfe & Pfannen" sees him dabble with drum ‘n’ bass (more drainpipe ‘n’ bass from the sound of it), "Funky Elevation" plays the same frequency-baiting acid card tricks as early Orbital, and on several occasions everything stops for, uh, poetry, in the form of some pretentious twaddle written and recited by the Winxter himself. (A mention of something to do with ‘day jobs’ and ‘not giving them up’ would be appropriate at this point). There’s also a slew of thumptastic big singles, including the peerless "Higher State Of Consciousness" and the less wonderful likes of "Don’t Laugh" and "Hypnotizin’", both of which suggest that Wink has a timestretch button on his sampler, and he’s gonna use it. What, if anything, sinks "Left Above The Clouds", is its very honesty: it never pretends (poems apart) to be anything more than a collection of tunes, and to really make a difference in dance circles these days that ain’t enough: tune-free hardcore pummellers like "You Are The One" might please clubbers, but they make not sense at all to the armchair techno listener. Likewise the four pointless sub one-minute tracks that close the album: called stuff like "Hands Like Prunes" and "Black Pudding", they smack of flabby self indulgence that a little restraint on the production side might have trimmed. If the Aphex Twin made an album like this he’d credit it to Various Artists and title it "The Philosophy And Synthesis Of Hangable Kangaroos" or summat, and no-one would ever know, or notice. Josh, for all his facility with a banging-to-the-power-clanging tune, has yet to realise that blatant diversity round these parts ain’t necessarily a good thing.

JOSH WINK A Higher State Of Wink’s Works Compiled (Manifesto)

Through the goodness of their hearts the vegetarian, teetotal, non-smoking, non-drug-taking dreadlocked Philadelphia DJ’s sometime label Manifesto have slung out a collection of his old tracks recorded under various aliases (E-Culture, Wink, Size 9, er, Winc) - nothing at all to do with the recently remixed-to-death second chart life of his finest moment, the mad acid frenzy that is "Higher State Of Consciousness", of course, hence that track doesn’t appear here once. It’s on here twice. To counter accusations that the Winkster is fast becoming a one-trick pony, perhaps? Certainly, none of the other five tracks collated here dispel the notion, involving only on the "Isn’t that a Tears For Fears sample?" or "That was quite a nice acid-y bit" level. Less higher state, more lowered expectations, all told.