~ Release group by Groove Armada


Release Format Tracks Date Country Label Catalog# Barcode
Vertigo 2×CD 13 + 4 Jive (Jive Records imprint) 92301526
Vertigo CD 12 Pepper Records 0530332 5013705303326
Vertigo CD 14 Jive Electro AVCZ-95131 4988064951314
Vertigo CD 14 Jive (Jive Records imprint) 0523762 9326382000331
Vertigo CD 12 Jive Electro 0523782 / 702.2378.2 5013705237829
Vertigo CD 12 Jive (Jive Records imprint) 82876 53580 2 828765358026
Vertigo CD 13 Zomba Records Limited (not strictly a label - avoid adding releases here) 0523772 5013792301526
Vertigo CD 13 Zomba Label Group (NOT A LABEL - add releases to subsidiary labels instead) 0523772 5013705237720
Vertigo CD 13 Jive Electro 01241-41683-2 012414168320
Vertigo Hybrid SACD 12 Jive (Jive Records imprint), Pepper Records 9230678 638592306783


associated singles/EPs: If Everybody Looked the Same
remixes: The Remixes
Allmusic: [info]
Discogs: [info]
Wikidata: Q1951293 [info]
Wikipedia: en: Vertigo (Groove Armada album) [info]
lyrics page: [info]
other databases: [info] Armada - Vertigo/ [info]
reviews: [info]

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Prince may have neglected to mention it, but 1999 actually belonged to Groove Armada's Vertigo and Moby's Play. Along with Air's Moon Safari, released a year earlier, they were standard-issue discs in even the most causal of music collections at the end of the 90s. These records marked the moment that dance music came good at album length, and although not every track of Vertigo was licensed to advertising (unlike Play, of course) it felt like it. Adverts have thankfully moved on, allowing Vertigo space to breath.

Groove Armada, formed of jazz musician Andy Cato and Tom Findlay, had been floating around the dance scene as DJs, pressing white label 12"s, for some time before this album - which was not, as many believed, their first. That was 1998's Northern Star (on indie label Tommy Touch), a collection of rougher jazz/house sketches that showed unlikely promise. Until last year's assured Black Light album, subsequent Groove Armada albums were similarly patchy, but the fully formed Vertigo went gold, and remains its makers' calling card.

With a classy, understated cover, Vertigo is an accomplished blend of musicianship, well-informed samples and guest vocalists. The biggest of its singles was the soon-to-be-live-favourite I See You Baby, with Gram'ma Funk on lead vocals: a dirty slink of a tune celebrating clubbing at its most base (and honest). Another single, the Patti Page-sampling At the River, impresses to this day despite its ubiquity at the time in both television use and on Cafe del Mar-styled chill-out compilations. Its trombone riff taunts you with familiarity, before the song kicks in and the sun dips again to kiss its Balearic beat undercurrents.

It is impossible not to see the duo as ringmasters pressing the buttons, an image which persists to the present day. From the sumptuous G funk of Whatever, Whenever, to Pre 63's muted trumpet, via the ambient landfill of Served Chilled and the house anthem of If Everybody Looked the Same, the pair seldom takes their eyes off the (glitter) ball. The sultry Dusk You & Me particularly impresses, and the hypnotic loops and sumptuous horn-break of Inside My Mind (Blue Skies) allow it to shine as a lesser-known highlight.

2001's Superstylin' single was Groove Armada's resignation as chill-out kings, but they will be forever associated with this album's down-tempo vibe. Although original copies are now more likely to be soundtracking baby feeds than drug comedowns, there is nothing here to be ashamed of - time has been kind and this remains a classic of its genre.