Drum Machines & VHS Dreams: The Best of Aim 1996-2006
Aim's era-defining releases Cold Water Music (1999), Hinterland (2002) and Flight 602 (2006) have shifted over 200,000 units, while his early 12"s (released on seminal Manchester label Grand Central Records) have become permanent fixtures in the record boxes of discerning DJs around the world. Meticulously compiled by the man himself, Drum Machines & VHS Dreams is the very first "Best Of" Aim collection. "These are the tracks I still listen to now and that have best stood the test of time," says Aim. "My memories of growing up in the late '70s, early '80s are colorful and sun-kissed. There was a sense of openness and optimism and it seemed that most of what was cool was either independent, or invented and driven by kids -- BMX, skateboarding, arcade games, horror movies -- I watched every horror film I could get my hands on, renting VHS tapes from local corner stores and saving up my pocket money to buy Fangoria magazine every month. These times are still a major influence on my music, they're an endless source of inspiration, and I wanted the title of this album to reflect that." Drum Machines & VHS Dreams illustrates perfectly Aim's innate ability to bring an unheard depth, warmth and soul to hip-hop; something which has always set him apart. Take "Underground Crowd Holders," whose opening fanfare of rising brass gives way to a relentlessly primitive break-beat, while the complex, multi-layered jazz vibes of early 12" release "Phantasm" invoke feelings of controlled chaos and the throbbing heartbeat of the city. Elsewhere, the Commodore Amiga-produced deep funk groove of Norman Jay DJ staple "Just Passing Through" echoes early '90s "golden era" hip-hop and the uplifting guitar motif of Flight 602's "Walking Home Through the Park" hints at Aim's lesser-known love for The Smiths and Nirvana. Excitingly, the album opens with a brand-spanking-new Aim remix of his hip-hop classic "True to Hip-Hop," featuring AG (of ground-breaking NYC hip-hop crew D.I.T.C.). Transformed into a relentlessly energetic synth and dirty sax-fuelled club-banger, it breathes new life into AG's incredible vocals; it's the perfect bridge between Aim's production past, present and future and a heavy-weight taste of things to come. Drum Machines & VHS Dreams is a celebration. Intelligent, cinematic and eclectic, filled with jazzy twists, breaks, and samples that together create an intensely rich panorama of sound.