The revived Trax label refines the focus of their triple disc Classics compilation, here gathering all their early offerings in the enigmatic and nebulous subgenre of acid house together. The end result is flawless, as track after track keeps their 303s tweaking in the mix, letting the listener slip back in time to one of the more twisted and gleeful U.S.-originated dance trends. Phutures Acid Trax, which opens the disc in its eleven minute-plus duration, is like the Rosetta Stone of acid. To hear it now provides a through-line up to Winks Higher State of Consciousness and all the other tweak tracks that share those farty twisted hooks.
Each of this compilations thirteen tracks uses the sounds of the 303 to marvelous effect (with one exception, but more on that a little later), and for those who love the acid house sound but dont have piles and piles of money to spend on assembling a library of all the original twelve inch singles, this is an essential purchase.
This is Acid, by Maurice Joshua and Hot Hands Hula, is the one source of contention that I have with this disc. I remember buying the cassette single of this track back in 1988 on Vendetta/A&M and listening to both versions, the K&T Mix (which is available here, on the first Trax Classics compilation, and seemingly everywhere that someone has included the track) and the S&T Mix. While the K&T Mix is a house classic, it has no acid in it, and for it to be the version included on this compilation is kind of cheating. The S&T Mix, with its twisted keyboards, is the version that should be here on this compilation. I dont know whether it is because of licensing issues or if A&M/Universal owns that particular mix outright, but it is dishonest to include a version of This Is Acid on an acid classics compilation that has no acid sounds on it. Whats even stranger is that quoted in the liner notes is Maurice Joshua talking about his puzzlement at the mixes of This is Acid which contain no acid. Something is very strange on this front.
Regardless, this is a necessary compilation of house music history, and anyone who has let themselves be worked over by a tweaky 303 line knows deep down in their heart that they need this record.