Album Review: Swedish House Mafia – ‘Until Now’

For followers of mainstream electronic music, the break-up of Swedish House Mafia was one of the largest events of 2012. While the jury is still out on whether it was an earth-shatteringly significant event or simply a publicity stunt to sell more tickets and singles, what can be said is that the Swedes will surely go out on a high, with latest single ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ topping the charts in the UK and their colossal ‘One Last Tour’ selling out stadia across the globe. Until Now is their final compilation album, essentially an extended DJ mix with a track listing which more or less apes those of some of their largest 2011 and 2012 live shows.

Kicking off the proceedings – as was the case with most of their 2012 live shows – with the ominous intro to ‘Greyhound’, Until Now takes listeners on a retrospective tour through not only SHM’s own singles, but releases from each of their respective record labels – Steve Angello’s Size, Sebastian Ingrosso’s Refune Records, and Axtone for Axwell – as well as solo tracks and collaborations from each of the trio. Tracks range from the recent (both ‘Lights’ by Steve Angello and Third Party and ‘Reload’ by Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash were released within the last month) to the slightly more dated (‘One’ was released all the way back in 2010),  but most, if not all, have been mixed in a slightly different way to the originals to give an entirely new spin on otherwise tired tracks. One of the most overplayed tracks of the past year, ‘Epic’ by Sandro Silva and Quintino, is mashed up with Alesso’s ‘Raise Your Head’, while the memorable thud of Nari & Milani’s ‘Atom’ is mixed with the powerful vocals from SHM’s own ‘Leave the World Behind’, breathing new life into both tracks.

However, there are a few issues with Until Now, mostly to do with familiarity. For anyone who is an avid follower of the house music scene, most of these tracks will already be a part of their collection. The bulk of the music on the album was released in late 2011 or early 2012, and the vast majority were, by nature of the fact that they were released by (or on the labels of) one of the largest forces in electronic music, extremely mainstream singles. As such, it’s definitely worth taking a look at the track listing before deciding to buy.

That is not to say that Until Now isn’t a well-mixed compilation, and it shows off SHM’s skills both as DJs and as label owners.  For anyone who wants a good introduction to the progressive and electro house genres, or anyone who is still nursing a hangover of nostalgia from SHM’s shows from the past year, Until Now would make a worthwhile purchase.

Will Gulsven


Will is Listening to Zedd – ‘Clarity’

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