Various Artists Music from the motion picture 'Dead Presidents' Underworld / Capitol PRDCD 4 'Hackers': Original motion picture soundtrack Edel 0022562 CIN

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The Independent Culture
The primary task of any soundtrack is to convey an immediate sense of time and milieu, in which duty both of these albums succeed with flying colours.

In the case of Dead Presidents - slang for dollars - the time is roughly 1973, and the milieu funky: opening with Rusty Young's great loping bassline to Sly Stone's "If You Want Me to Stay", the soundtrack piles up enough early Seventies soul classics to swell your lapels to the size of aircraft- carriers. It's thrilling stuff: Al Green's ecstatic "Tired Of Being Alone", JB's strutting "Payback", Aretha's spine-tingling "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man", plus a couple of Isaac Hayes's sultry reinterpretations of pop standards. A perfect snapshot of a time when soul music's conviction more than compensated for its many and various fashion crimes.

With Hackers, we're plunged, if not exactly into the future, then at least into something like the present. The soundtrack to Iain (Backbeat) Softley's cyberpunk/ infocult thriller offers an adrenalising portrait of Nineties' rave culture, from the mathematical purity of Underworld's "Cowgirl" to the rousing nihilism of Lydon & Leftfield's "Open Up" and the sheer punishing intensity of The Prodigy's "Voodoo People". Old favourites from the likes of Orbital and Stereo MCs are interspersed with choice cuts from the best of the newer dance acts, such as Carl Cox and Ramshackle - indeed, save for a couple of rap-metal annoyances and the baffling presence of a Squeeze track, it might have been the one techno album that you could actually listen to all the way through.