XL Recordings documents 25 years with 4xLP boxset, <em>Pay Close Attention</em>

Richard Russell looks back on the path forged by his groundbreaking independent label.

From its beginnings releasing early rave material from The Prodigy and SL2 through to early-2000s masterpieces by Dizzee Rascal, The White Stripes, M.I.A., and Radiohead, XL has remained a genre-agnostic force on the independent label landscape.

To mark 25 years in the game, XL will release Pay Close Attention, a two-part compilation that takes its name from the iconic Kool Keith sample in The Prodigy’s ‘Out of Space’. Part 1 focuses on the “roots” of the label — “underground music, made for DJ’s” — while Part 2 features the “singular talents” that have defined its recent output.

“We’ve never compromised. The rave music XL first became known for was known as “hardcore”; that spirit continues,” Russell writes. “To show our appreciation for your support: thank you DJ’s. And thank you also to the retailers, writers and of course, ravers.”

The compilation is due out on August 26 and will be available as a 4-LP boxset (which comes with a DVD and a poster), as well as a 2xCD set and digital download. The track listing is below, along with a previously-unreleased tour diary featuring footage from Tyler the Creator and Odd Future’s first European tour.

SL2 – DJs Take Control
The Prodigy – Out Of Space
Awesome 3 – Don’t Go (Kicks Like A Mule Mix)
Liquid – Sweet Harmony
Jonny L – Piper
Roy Davis Jr. Feat. Peven Everett – Gabriel (Live
Garage Version)
Dem 2 – Destiny
Nu-Birth – Anytime
Basement Jaxx – Jump N’ Shout
Dizzee Rascal – I Luv U
Wiley – Igloo
Various Production – Hater
Giggs – Talkin The Hardest
SBTRKT – Wildfire (ft. Little Dragon)
Jamie xx – All Under One Roof Raving

Prodigy – Firestarter
Peaches – Fuck The Pain Away
The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
Devendra Banhart – I Feel Just Like A Child
Badly Drawn Boy- Once Around The Block **
Ratatat – Seventeen Years
M.I.A. – Paper Planes
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Gil Scott-Heron – New York Is Killing Me
Radiohead – Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi
Tyler, The Creator – Yonkers
The Horrors – Sea Within A Sea
Jai Paul – BTSTU (EDIT)
Bobby Womack – Please Forgive My Heart
The xx – Angels
Sampha – Too Much
Vampire Weekend – Step
King Krule – Easy Easy
ADELE – Rolling In The Deep

Prodigy – Firestarter (Director Walter Stern)
Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At (Director Traktor)
The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl (Director Michel Gondry)
Dizzee Rascal – Fix Up, Look Sharp (Director Ruben Fleischer)
M.I.A – BirdFlu (Director M.I.A)
Vampire Weekend – A-Punk (Director Hammer and Tongs)
Radiohead – Lotus Flower (Director Garth Jennings)
Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here (Director Jane Pollard)
Tyler, The Creator – Yonkers (Director Tyler, The Creator)
Adele – Someone Like You (Live From The Brits 2011)

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