Hardcore breaks are still a regular sound source in contemporary club tracks, but on Life In A Laser it’s instantly apparent that Appleblim has moved beyond choosing popular drum samples to truly tap into the elusive feeling engendered by the music of the era. It’s a tricky feat to manage, but in the pie-eyed chords of “Ignite”, the subby 808 tom basslines on “NCI” or the Mr. Fingers synth flex on “Manta Key” the sonic finish sports the same understated grit and grime that made those early records so timeless. There’s still space for modernism, not least on snaking 2-step killer “I Think We'll Let The Gas Sort This One Out”, but it’s offset by a layer of dust, not to mention an inherent moodiness that can’t be faked.
This fine balance of rave romanticism and future-minded approaches binds together in a cohesive conceptual statement. First and foremost it’s Appleblim’s personal reflection on the music that has moved him on countless dancefloors since his first flirtations with soundsystem culture. At the same time the canny influx of modern ideas into the soundworld of the 90s genuinely results in a new proposition, making for a perfect fit on the modern-day ‘ardcore fetishists label of choice, Sneaker Social Club. Many may claim to draw on old-skool influences in their modern trax, but take one listen to “Flows From Within” and you’ll feel the same time-slipping surge of future-shock as the ravers at Lost, Dreamscape, The Dungeons, Clink Street, Blue Note and all those other iconic spots.