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Various Artists

Y2K Beat the Clock


Well it’s quite unavoidable really, given that compilation mania continues unabated, that techno collections are flooding the market almost as fast as dodgy soundtrack albums. Clearly Y2K is yet another attempt to cash in on the electronica hype that’s grown in popularity by a gradually growing trickle, rather than the full scale invasion predicted by critics back in 1997. The artists represented here are the usual suspects—you know, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim et. al. Basically it’s the big beat all-star team.

“Out of Space” is a seven-year-old Prodigy track from their early trippy phase that sounds nothing like the band’s currently incarnation. I’m still a sucker for the hypnotic animation from the video. Underworld’s “Born Slippy”—THE techno anthem, if there is such a beast—needs no introduction. Nor does “The Rockafeller Skank” by Fatboy Slim, in its “full version” here. You may as well insert “way too long” where “full version” goes. This song was a great single (one of my top picks from 1998), but at eight minutes plus, even the greatest sample on the planet would become boring, and “right about now, the funk soul brother” is not the most compelling sample this reviewer has ever heard.

Okay, enough griping. I’m happy to see Bjork represented on an electronic collection. She continues to create some of the most compelling music in a large genre overwhelmingly dominated by “the boys.” And most of the mass-market major label collections have shockingly ignored The Orb, which Y2K, to its credit, does not.

If you’re already an electronic music convert or have your requisite collection of the hit records by Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and Underworld, you certainly won’t need a copy of this disc. But if you have no idea what all the commotion has been about, Y2K is good place to start with major acts. Just make sure, you follow that up with a couple of Caipirinha, K7, and Om collections shortly thereafter to discover truly inspirational electronic music.


Sarah Zupko founded PopMatters, one of the largest independent cultural criticism magazines on the web, back in the Internet's early days of 1999. Zupko is a former Executive Producer for Tribune Media Services, the media syndication arm of the Tribune Company, and a 10-year veteran of Tribune. Her other pursuits involve writing historical fiction and research in the fields of Slavic and German history, as well as general European cultural and intellectual history. Zupko studied musicology, film, and drama at the University of Chicago and media theory at the University of Texas, where she received her M.A.

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