Like other DJ composers, Nightmares on Wax mentalist George “Herbs” Evelyn has stopped flea-market shopping for vinyl records out of car boots and started rummaging around in his own mind. The gorgeous retro soul strings, vocal choruses, and chill-out trip-hop he finds rolling easy up there in his fog bank are a definite maturation of the Philly-soul redub and bass-boss Barry White attitude that was pioneered on 1995’s Smoker’s Delight. Since then, though, Evelyn has scratched a ton of vinyl to get to the truth: nothing is warmer than live bodies. This album was still made with a drum machine and just enough wax to keep it in the boot, but bass, keys, guitar, and vocals are live. The real secret to this soft summer vibe is that Evelyn doesn’t simply hand over the vocals and let the pieces become wannabe soul singles. Instead, these cuts maintain a jazz attitude recalling George Benson’s Breezin’–not his most technically challenging playing, but a laid-back, perfectly executed distillation offered up like a gift. Unwrap the fragile jazz riff of “Fire in the Middle” or the upbeat, Fifth Dimension-like background vocal and hip-hop scratch of “Ethnic Majority” and the bad-ass horn funk of “Ease Jimi”. Beware of a short little strings-and-bass dub called “Jorge”: If this one gets in your ears once, you’ll be humming the one-word chorus all summer.