Paul Oakenfold - Bunkka

Oh, how we laughed at the thought of the Superclubs dropping down like flys. Over the past 12 months audiences at both Gatecrasher and Cream have dropped by the week and the days of trance music as a domineering force are hopefully a thing of the past now that the kids of more interested in rocking than getting off their heads on vitamin pills masquerading as E. But at the last minute in an attempt to save the genre superstar DJ Paul Oakenfold releases his long awaited debut album featuring a host of special guests including Tricky, Ice Cube and Nelly Furtado. For those who don't want to read on I'll put it succinctly for you - were still having the last laugh thank god!!!

Within the first thirty second of "Bunkka" its clear that Paul Oakenfold has just gone and put the nail the in the coffin of commercial dance music as we know. Even on "Ready Steady Go", a track which features one of Britain's hottest garage MC's Asher D of So Solid Crew he still manages to mess it up with a lazy dance-rock crossover which makes Apollo 440 look like true pioneers. It immediately highlights the differences between the revolutionary force that is UK Garage and the walking cliché that is trance music. Back in 77 the punk used to get down to the reggae and ska sound systems and hopefully today in 2002 there will be an open-mindedness in the rock scene in which they listen to true hip-hop music and with time open up to UK Garage acts like So Solid rather than progressing to glow sticks and acid parties.

With what could have been amazing collaborations with Perry Farrell and Hunter S Thompson, Oakenfold simply throws away the opportunity by providing backdrops which could have been made 5 years ago. Its even laughable that he had to get Emiliana Torrini to front "Hold You Hand" rather than his obvious choice of collaborator Bjork. Of the collaborations that work its only the hip-hop influence of Shifty Shellshock from Crazy Town, Ice Cube and Tricky that really work their magic across "Starry Eyed Surprise", "Get Em" and "The Harder They Come" respectively.

As someone who learnt from one of the masters with Arthur Baker, Oakenfold really is one of the most conservative DJ's in dance music this side of Ian Duncan Smith. I would say stick to the DJ-ing...but before long you'll be too old to play anywhere and there will be nowhere left to DJ in.

Alex McCann

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