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XL Recordings releasing 25th anniversary comp

By | Published on Wednesday 6 August 2014

XL Recordings

XL Recordings has officially confirmed it’ll take your brain to another dimension via ‘Pay Close Attention’, a 33-track compilation celebrating the label’s 25th anniversary.

A representation of XL’s elastic stylistic leanings over the years, the LP is essentially a timeline of hits by past and present signed acts, split into two discs. The first highlights the label’s “still-growing roots, underground music made for DJs” – lifting off with SL2, Basement Jaxx and, obvs, The Prodigy, and moving on to the likes of Various Production, later grime affiliates Wiley and Dizzee, and finally giving space to SBTRKT and Jamie xx.

The other disc is a mix of songs with not a lot in common apart from the fact that all the artists did/are still doing good things on XL. Basically, there’s Radiohead, Gil Scott-Heron, Bobby Womack, The White Stripes, Peaches, Ratatat, The Prodigy (again), and relative XL freshers Adele, The xx, Vampire Weekend, Jai Paul, Sampha, King Krule and Tyler, The Creator.

“There is no unifying genre”, explains XL boss Richard Russell, adding: “Hopefully the thread of originality is evident though”.

‘Pay Close Attention’ will be released on 25 Aug; physically, digitally, and as a four-LP vinyl giftbox. All the info is available via this specially-created site, which features a series of interlinking timelines of all the artists on the compilation, and parallel to that a bank of live clips and interviews, both new and less new.

You can also make audio and visual playlists as you surf the site with a custom player thing. Just go and have a look, but only once you’ve heard more from Richard Russell, who says: “XL Recordings is a collaborative endeavour, and many people have contributed to its evolution. In the song ‘Out Of Space’, Liam Howlett of The Prodigy provided a blueprint when he sampled Kool Keith of Ultramagnetic MCs rapping these words: ‘Pay close attention’. And whilst XL has never had any outside ownership, Gil Scott-Heron advised me not to even consider XL an ‘independent’, because everything is connected”.

And signing off, RR finally adds: “The rave music XL first became known for was known as ‘hardcore’; that spirit continues. To show our appreciation for your support, thank you DJs. And thank you also to the retailers, writers, and, of course, ravers”.