“What’s all this?,” you cry. “Noel Gallagher? What could HE possibly know about dance music?”
Quite a bit actually. As well as teaming up with The Chemical Brothers twice (on Setting Sun and Let Forever Be), the former Oasis songsmith and current High Flying Bird also worked with Goldie, UNKLE, and in 1998 dropped an unexpected trip-hop bomb at the back end of The X-Files movie soundtrack, Teotihuacan.
The track, which landed less than a year after the cocaine-fuelled third Oasis album, Be Here Now (no track less than five minutes long, talk about self-indulgence!), was reportedly influenced by a trip Gallagher and the band took to Mexico, indeed, photos of Noel atop an Aztec temple (perhaps Teotihuacan itself) can be found on social media.
— Lemonbeats (@LemonbeatsCHNL) December 25, 2015
Commencing with the sound of rainfall and a brooding, building trip hop rhythm, it’s certainly unlike anything in the Oasis back catalogue, and pointed to a potential new direction for the band. Ok, it’s not up there with anything on Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, released the same year, but as new avenues go, it was an admirable, exciting diversion*.
One thing’s for certain, it was a LOT more memorable than the movie it accompanied. 🙂
Sadly, the Oasis album that followed, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, only contained hints of Noel’s new musical boundaries – it’s there on Gas Panic!, a track reportedly influenced by Noel’s decision to give up cocaine, and also, perhaps on the album’s opener, Fuckin in the Bushes.
Oasis would persevere for another four albums, finally fizzling out in 2008 – rumours of a reunion still abound – but 20 years on, Noel Gallagher’s Teotihuacan stands alone, an indication of where the greatest Britpop band of the 90s could, and perhaps should, have gone next.
*Teotihuacan would eventually be deconstructed and reworked as the backing track for Keep What Ya Got by Ian Brown, on 2004’s Solarized – check it out here. Given that Oasis borrowed much of their swagger from The Stone Roses, it’s somewhat apt that Noel thought to return the favour some years later.
[Kudos to SP00KYMULD3R for the YouTube upload]