Saturday, 3 December 2011

Review: Chris Cowie - Best Behaviour

Chris Cowie Best Behaviour
More Chris Cowie, this time his super-bloated double disc debut album Best Behaviour from 2001. Was this a big deal in 2001? Damned if I know, I was 13 and certainly wasn't listening to tech-house-trance-stuff. Thus far it's the only album he's released under his own name and he had his only Essential Mix appearance early in 2002, so I guess a fair bit of effort went into promoting it.

Discogs says this is a "progressive house" album but I think that's horseshit. I know progressive was bigger than God in 2001, and you can probably mix a lot of these tracks into a prog set, but really? Prog house? Pete Tong introduced the Essential Mix by saying Cowie's sound is "best described as tech house", which seems equally ludicrous in a world where tech house means Seth Troxler. There's definitely tech and house in here, and also some trance as well, but honestly I would just call this a techno album. Cowie was always a bit of a genre-blender, which is a strange thing to say given his tunes were almost always no-nonsense dancefloor groovers and bangers, but I guess that says a lot about how much us techno wankers split hairs when it comes to our genres. These tracks go BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM, okay? That enough of a description?

This is a very solid album, nary a bad track to be found, and it collates a lot of Cowie releases and remixes under various aliases. The problem is it's just too fucking long. Two discs, both of them full. Twenty two tracks, all well over five minutes long. There's almost three hours of BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM here, and as good as any of these tunes are, it's just a collation of various Cowie-thump from a bunch of different places, none of it ever intended to sit together and form an interesting home listening experience. And it doesn't. It just gets a bit boring. This is a total DJ album - if you're looking to get hold of a lot of reliable Cowie/techno/BOOM BOOM, then you can get 22 tracks of it here, in one place. But you're never going to play all of them. This is 2012 (almost)! We don't have to be subject to the tyranny of the 80 minute CD anymore! We just go on Beatport and cherry pick our favourite tracks to Jesus pose to on a Saturday night at our imaginary superclub residency. The one track that stands out from the relentless BOOM is penultimate track Time Flies, which is a lush piece of melodic Detroit sparkliness, a bit like what The Black Dog might put out if they weren't so relentlessly depressed. More like that next time you make something we're supposed to play at home, please, Cowie. Anyone who sits through his entire album is a tougher techno warrior than me.

Genre: Techno techno techno techno!
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 6/10

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