The best compilations act as gateways into a world of music unknown to the listener, perhaps encouraged to investigate thanks to one stray familiar name or some eye-catching artwork. It’s possible that the art of a finely curated compilation might be in danger of being lost on a current generation brought up on the endless musical possibilities of the mix and match download culture, though 2012 showed that there are still plenty of labels willing to invest the time and knowledge neccesary.
Our list of the top ten compilations looks to capture that, drawing on a selection of established labels celebrated for their ongoing efforts in the realm alongside imprint who’ve made impressive fresh steps in this direction, with an overall diversity of musical styles that hopefully reflects our own divergent tastes. It should also be noted that the drastic decline in quality of commercially released mix CDs, no doubt caused by the over abundance of online podcasts and mixes, reached a tipping point whereby we decided to leave the format out of this year’s “best of” coverage.
Having previously mined the new wave vaults of Factory Records, the pioneering work of leftfield disco producer Bob Blank and the weirder fringes of New York’s post-punk club culture, Strut Records avert their gaze to the worlds of EBM and industrial. It’s a wise choice, not least because those genres – along with post-punk, proto-house and, arguably, the odder end of the disco spectrum – provided 1980s listeners with some of the most revolutionary, inspiring and downright strange music of the era.
You should of course be aware of Strut Records’ forthcoming Metal Dance compilation helmed by Trevor Jackson, which has been soundtracking the afternoon’s endeavours at the Juno Plus offices over the past few weeks.
Trevor Jackson has revealed a promo mix of what we can expect from his forthcoming Metal Dance compilation, to be released in February through Strut.
As mentioned previously on Juno Plus, the compilation will include 27 tracks over 2 CDs, comprised of Jackson’s favourite industrial, post punk and EBM rarities from the 1980s which have influenced his considerable musical legacy as head of the defunct Output Recordings and the man behind Playgroup. Featuring the likes of Severed Heads, Nitzer Ebb and Cabaret Voltaire alongside John Carpenter and Einsturzende Neubauten, the compilation looks set to be one of the year’s more interesting forays into crate digging. A preview of what to expect can be gleaned from the 7-minute minimix below.
Strut Records will release Metal Dance across 2 x CD, gatefold double vinyl and digital formats on 20 February.
Strut add another reason to get excited about 2012 with news that the label has tapped up well respected former Output Recordings honcho Trevor Jackson to compile his favourite industrial, post punk and EBM tracks from the 1980s for the forthcoming Metal Dance.
Mickey Moonlight has always seemed out of place on the Ed Banger roster, but then he’s remained something of an under appreciated musical savant on these shores for well over a decade. For those of a certain vintage why not cast your mind back to the days when Jockey Slut was a living, breathing, pithy fountain of dancefloor knowledge and you might recall Moonlight appearing under his Midnight Mike moniker on their excellent Disco Pogo cover mount CDs.
Those who matured too late to know what this writer is talking about can at least bask in the fact Moonlight has a new album out soon on the grizzled Parisian imprint. Mickey Moonlight & The Time Axis Manipulation Corporation is framed as the debut opus from Moonlight, though some might recall his ill-executed Midnight Parade karaoke covers album from a few years back. A chance to bask in what to expect from the album is offered by lead single Close To Everything, which features the vocal talents of Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jnr, surely one of the most flamboyant front men currently operating.
The title track neatly echoes the early days of Chicago House, where heartfelt emotive male vocals regularly lined the basic, rough hewn drum machine patterns and steadily intoxicating bass line. At less than four minutes it’s also the kind of track which might easily cross over into wider acceptance and is surely more worthy of attention than the Guetta led march of idiocy that currently dominates popular culture. Alongside it, “This Son” ensures Moonlight is making no concessions with regards to his avant garde nature, it being a short excursion through delicate Tropicala featuring esteemed steel pan player Fimber Bravo.
This being an Ed Banger release there are naturally remixes involved with Dirtybird familia The Martin Brothers present and correct for the main room clubbing clique, and Moonlight also contributes further renditions. Of far more interest here is the remix from Trevor Jackson, returning to his Playgroup moniker for the first time since a remix for Tiga last year. Obviously inspired by the nascent house sound of the original, and perhaps poking fun at the current vogue for exhuming forgotten gems and remastering them, his “Back To 86” remix is produced as a live bootleg, heavily saturated and with crowd noise intact. It’s debatable whether you could get away with playing this to an unassuming crowd, and by the time it’s over you kind of want to hear the untainted version, but it’s an ingenious effort from Jackson.
To celebrate a decade of serving the electronic music world with news, reviews and that podcast series Resident Advisor recently unveiled a series of ten parties spread across the world. Readers of Juno Plus are in with a chance to attend the opening event in London.