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Special Request 'Modern Warfare' (EPs 1-3) review

Becca Frankland gives her verdict on Special Request aka Paul Woolford's new 'Modern Warfare' series of EPs.

Becca Frankland

Date published: 30th Oct 2015

Paul Woolford's Special Request guise has given him the creative freedom to indulge in the big early rave sounds that he zealously champions. Under the alias he has already released a monster of a debut LP titled Soul Music and now he has fully unveiled Modern Warfare, a series consisting of a trio of three track EPs, all influenced by first generation rave, jungle and hardcore.  

The nine tracks from the three EPs on XL Recordings have been compiled onto one digital album, which you can stream above on Spotify (we'd advise doing this on full blast). It begins with the title track, a crackling and static sounding stab of electronic, which melts open into a steady techno piece before the tempo picks up again.

'Amnesia' follows, a tune which which we'd already become familiar with after it garnered regular plays on Radio 1, proving that Woolford isn't shying away from making beguiling big hits. The warped bass frames the track, whilst a nineties dreamy female vocal leads into the producer's signature keys. 

'Reset It', with its hardcore edge comes next. It starts with cuts from an MC, before swooping straight back into nineties territory with echos of 'don't you want me'. It's a turbulent trip of breaks and bassline. 

The blistering 'Take Me' is the highlight of the bunch for us. This is as rave ready as they come. It's here where Woolford's influences make themselves known, fast paced and hard hitting, this was made for big sweaty warehouses. The jungle infused 'Stimulation' follows suit, it's a euphoric heavy house piece with complete with gritty drums. 

The third EP begins with 'Peak Dub' a whirling with erratic drum work, with a rewind thrown in for good measure. It finishes with 'Elegy', a vibrating yet distinctly melancholic finale.

Brief moments of Paul Woolford shine throughout, with an air of 'MDMA' found in the likes of 'Amnesia' and 'Take Me' but these are unmistakably the work of Special Request. Every track is as weighty as the next. These are club bangers, there's no denying it, but they have much more substance than most.

Modern Warfare is not an album as we normally know it, but it could well have been, it flows like one faultlessly. As Woolford has described, this cluster of tracks have been a labour of love - and it shows. These are nine solid pieces of music that come together to create one sensational listen. This one is going on repeat for the forseeable. 

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