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Various Artists Greg Wilson's 2020 Vision Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

If only other modern DJs...could spice a mix with such maverick personality.

Louis Pattison 2008

History has it that the dancefloors of Manchester were filled with little but tumbleweed before the late 80s, when acid house turned the Hacienda into Ground Zero for acid house. The story of Greg Wilson, however, says otherwise. A DJ spinning at Manchester's Legends club back in the early 80s; Wilson mixed together sets of early New York electro-funk, sometimes adding his own FX or splicing sounds in using a primitive reel-to-reel. Wilson quit the scene in '83, but found his way back to DJing a couple of decades later, his classic electro sound finding a new generation of obsessives. 2020 Vision, however, proves Wilson is more than a relic of his early 80s heyday.

The result of an alliance with Ralph Lawson's tech house imprint 20:20; 2020 Vision finds Wilson leafing through the label catalogue and twisting it to his own image. It works pretty nicely. Wilson has an ear for the cosmic – twinkling, strobe-lit analogue synthesisers and big euphoric washes of sound – but his mixes maintain a simmering, funky bedrock that keeps this mix from slipping off the dancefloor and into the realms of head music. 20:20 heads will find much here that's familiar: Fred Everything's Without, with its washed-out piano motif, multi-layered percussion, and one-fingered synth stabs, or Random Factor's Circuit Semantics, a more skeletal track, haunted by spectral synth and a soulful, deep house vocal are rightfully considered amongst the label's best.

Those with keen ears, however, might hear how Wilson stamps his own personality onto the mix, offering up audacious splices and atmospheric washes of sound played straight off tape reel that sees him blur the boundary between mere DJ and live performer. If only other modern DJs, with their laptops and CD mixers, could spice a mix with such maverick personality. Little worry for Wilson, though – it simply means he still sounds like he's in a class of his own.

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