Carl Cox Returns With First Album In 10 Years
With over 30 years under his belt as one of the undisputed kings of dance music, Carl Cox has achieved both legendary and cult status. An iconic figure who has worked tirelessly and consistently to advocate for club culture, he has become a global ambassador and hugely influential figure who utilises his position to push the culture forward. Carl’s exhaustive list of achievements is incredibly impressive and dates back to the formative years of acid house in the UK. A stalwart and pioneer, he could easily have retired by now such is the breadth of his legacy. Yet, rather than ease back and live off his reputation, Carl is embarking on a new path with his first LP in 10 years ‘Electronic Generations.’
This, Carl’s fifth long-player, is representative of his unwavering passion for the advancement of club culture and his own growth as an artist. A purposeful step out of his comfort zone as an accomplished and innovative DJ and selector, ‘Electronic Generations’ is the result of his forays into the world of machine-driven live performance. During lockdown Carl turned his attention to exploring the machines he had in his garage, literally dusting them off and immersing himself in the world of vintage gear and modular synths.
From the very beginning there was no plan. Carl’s ethos is rooted in making music from the heart, no plan, no rigid linear structure, pure feeling. Never one to make it easy for himself, his innovative and often challenging approach keeps that deep passion burning. In this instance, Carl’s exploration of his machines occurred in the public domain as he appeared on several live streams during the pandemic. For each performance he utilised the power of his gear to showcase his ability to create music on the fly, using spontaneity and improvisation as the catalyst behind a series of incendiary live sets for ADE, Resident Advisor, Mysterylands and Movement Detroit and then as the world opened up he started incorporating this in his DJ sets with his hybrid live performances including his incredible headline performance in the ‘Carl Cox Mega Structure’ at Ultra in Miami.
In Carl’s world, despite his accolades and years in the game, there is no room for complacency. Hard work and new challenges drive his creativity, pushing him to continue striving to contribute to electronic music culture and he’s working harder than ever to keep the spirit of electronic music and techno alive. A sense of self-fulfillment permeates through his venture into the live domain, it’s where he wants to be; grafting, innovating, pushing beyond the safety of what he knows. Operating right on the edge, taking risks, knowing it could all go wrong in front of thousands of people. Allowing it all to flow, relinquishing control, and being in the moment. Out of this core catalyst comes the real magic, human ingenuity that touches all those who encounter it first-hand.
This is what we hear on ‘Electronic Generations’, an album that is unapologetic in its upfront, no nonsense sonic identity. Bucking against current trends and what’s considered fashionable, or even palatable, while channeling the raw roots of techno. Out of his live streams, Carl found that several of his improvisations sounded good enough to be extended into full pieces of music. So that’s what he did; cutting them out of the live recordings, polishing them up and refining them. The result is an uncompromising statement of intent; an album that stands alone as a legacy to Carl’s commitment to dance music and the community and culture around it.
Representative of the energy of Carl Cox, his heartbeat, his soul, the tracks on the album are pure, undiluted, raw. Encompassing industrial influences, acid lines, the original rave energy and banging techno, ‘Electronic Generations’ is comprised of 17 tracks. From the acid tinged title cut, through to deeper tracks such as ‘Toys Out Of The Pram’ and all out dance floor destroyers like ‘How It Makes You Feel’, the album encapsulates all that makes Carl Cox the revered figure he is. Varying styles spliced together with panache, as he would in a DJ set. While he draws on his past and present for inspiration, Carl is very much focused on the future – bypassing trend-based sounds for a more liberated approach, free from the constraints of time. When you hear ‘Heads Up’, with its thumping beats and solemn riff, or the modulated motif on ‘Get After It’, it’s impossible to attach the music to a particular era. It’s not about jumping on bandwagons, it’s about evoking a feeling, sparking a visceral and memorable response; dancing, jumping up and down, screaming, wailing, the catharsis of self-expression. Freedom, escapism… The kind of experience that is only possible when the power of music gets into your system and shakes you out of your slumber.
For Carl this is punk, music that refuses to abide by what’s fashionable – even for so-called underground electronic music. The punk attitude pervades throughout ‘Electronic Generations.’ It’s not music that is asking to be liked, or trying to fit into what’s considered “hot”. No hype, no fillers, just straight up beats and basslines designed to move the mind, body and soul.
Always one to lead by example, Carl sees his live endeavours as a call to action for others to follow suit. No progress is made without discomfort and challenging oneself. For every artist out there who’s happy to kick back and use the Sync button, here’s a wakeup call. Carl Cox, a DJ who has done it all, has pushed himself into an entirely new chapter of his career. ‘Electronic Generations’ marks a watershed moment for Carl, spearheading his deep dive into live performance. Prepare for an all-out aural assault from one of the kings of dance music…