Various - Raveology: mixed by The Ratpack

The old saying goes "if you can remember the 60s, you weren't there". It's quite possible the same can be said of the rave era - when crowds would gather at hastily-decided spots in the country to dance till dawn, wave glowsticks and, of course, consume vast amounts of prohibited substances that would have them grinning from ear to ear. But what of the music?

It makes some sense that Michael Winterbottom's Factory Records film 24 Hour Party People begins with punk and ends with rave. In terms of sound, both celebrated enthusiasm over musicianship, and, in terms of spirit, both were anti-establishment; although, instead of punk's perceived aggression, rave sought togetherness akin to a religious experience, albeit through mass drug-taking. At least, rave was the last musical movement to actually inspire the government to create new laws; mainly part 5 of 1994's Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which would deal with groups assembled to listen to "music" (an interesting use of inverted commas in the original document) "characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats". Additionally, one of the few acts to survive and evolve after rave, The Prodigy (featured twice on Raveology), would turn into a near punk rock band by the mid-nineties. In either incarnation, they were hardly the sort of thing you could listen to with your parents - and you can't say that about Keane, can you?

This is to say the music compiled on Raveology sounds surprisingly fresh and vital some fifteen years later. Erring on the commercial side, The Ratpack have included many crossover hits, such as Moby's Twin Peaks-sampling Go and Baby D's irresistable paean-to-E Let Me Be Your Fantasy, both of these featuring that genre staple, the chunky piano riff. Perhaps best of all is 808 State's Pacific State, still an amazingly exotic piece of music.

If tracks are occasionally rough 'n' ready, this tends to work for rather than against them. It's the energy that matters. Raveology will serve as a welcome flashback to those who were there at the time, and as a good introduction to a short-lived, yet important, chapter in musical history to those who weren't. Furthermore, it's a heck of a lot of fun.



out of 10

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