Twenty years is a long time. When XL Recordings released ‘The 5th Chapter’ in 1995, the world was a very different place. XL began as a label by selling 12”s to rave DJs, with the best releases pressed onto an annual compilation. The last in the series came out in 1995 as the label widened its scope. Twenty years on and now they release ‘XL Chapter VI,’ a vinyl-focused release that embraces the chosen audio format of the decade – all artists on the compilation will be releasing club-ready 12” EPs on XL, a throwback to the dancefloor artillery attitudes that were cultivated at the turn of the 90s.
The Chapters provided a regular platform for artists concerned with reshaping the underground and consequently, culture. Think of Liquid’s Sweet Harmony, Everybody In The Place by The Prodigy or DJs Take Control by SL2. These are names and songs that led a new wave of dance music. Fast forward to today and those names have been replaced by a different crew forging a path into new futures. Zomby, Powell, KAYTRANDA, MssingNo, GILA, Homepark, Hugo Massien, rLr, Mumdance, Novelist and Special Request are the artists that are endeavouring to shape not just a way of dancing, but a way of thinking.
This part of the story may feature different production techniques and new aesthetics to the last instalment but its spirit remains totally the same. It’s a celebrated tenet of dance music that it must look back to move forward, so the snaky acid basslines, brutally sparse beats and the synth melodies that soundtrack the post-club early hours, are all still there.
Electronic music is more than listening to records. Our appetite for lowly lit basements packed with people and equipped big soundsystems is endless. This collection is a celebration of that primalism, an uncompromising look at the very best of the world’s underground – a journey through the clubs, the cities and the culture. The story continues.
‘XL Chapter VI’ track list:
1. Special Request – Amnesia
2. Novelist x Mumdance – 1 Sec
3. rLr – I Am Paint (Centre Of The Earth Dub)
4. Zomby – Slime
5. GILA – Handz On A Hardbody
6. MssingNo – Inta
7. Kaytranada – 195
8. Homepark – Forever Walking
9. Hugo Massien – All Night
10. Powell – Insomniac
Take a listen to GILA’s Handz On A Hardbody via YouTube below, which lifted from the compilation.