The defining Soulwax moment comes just two minutes into Nite Versions, when an uninspired cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Teachers’ gives way to a dramatic overhaul of their own ‘Miserable Girl’. Standing at the 1:59 mark, looking back over your shoulder, you can just about make out the band’s dim past; force your squinting eyes front and the future’s blinding.
Behind you, electroclash also-rans are paying clumsy tribute to the rock influences that made them what they are: the warm-up act for 2 Many DJs, the mashterclasses conducted by core Soulwax members David and Stephen Dewaele. Up ahead, this same production duo is forging a new sound by breaking down last year's fun-but-flawed Any Minute Now album into its elements, and reassembling it into a pounding, seamless club set.
From this distance the 'nite versions' bear no resemblance to the songs that spawned them; get up close and their features are recognisable, albeit rearranged in Cubist ways. So that cheeky electro banger driven by low-slung bass and hyperactive handclaps is actually ‘E-Talking’, the jazzy Eurodisco workout peppered with sax squeals and Morodorish drum rolls turns out to be ‘Slowdance’, and that dark techno slow-burner isn’t a missing Laurent Garnier track, it’s ‘Accidents and Compliments’.
At the end of this journey by DJs, you stop and wonder: where can Soulwax possibly go from here? And, peering out over the abyss, still drenched with the sweat of epic DFA collaboration 'Another Excuse', it dawns on you: they have to go back. Retrace their steps to the electro-rock band that makes passable albums like Any Minute Now. And fast. Because Soulwax the producers need an extra hour's worth of raw material to spin into sonic gold. And we're ready for another trip.
9James Glazebrook's Score