There are many joys of a good, well thought out compilation. The discovery of something wonderful and new or perhaps remembering long lost favourites.
For me one of the joys of hearing Bustin’ Out 1982 New Wave to New Beat #2, the latest compilation from Future Noise Music’s Year Zero post punk label, has been the chance to remember the sheer wonderfulness of Gary Numan’s 1982 semi-hit ‘Music for Chameleons’
The three minute or so version charted at 19 in the UK singles chart in 1982, but it is the longer six minute version from his album I, Assassin that is such a welcome feature on this album.
It’s a remarkable track, conceived by the perfectionist, electro music pioneer and aviator Numan after hearing the rhythm of plane engines over water, and features some gloriously squelchy bass hooks, innovative (for the time) synth work and Numan’s familiar robotic, futuristic vocals.
Among the other gems across this compilation are Planet Rock’ by Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force, which according to Year Zero was the first hiphop record to use a drum machine
Early house track Klein & M.B.O.’s ‘Dirty Talk’ and Dub Syndicate’s ‘Pounding System’, which was the opening track on their The Pounding System [Ambience in Dub] are other standouts.
Among the less well known nuggets is ‘My Spine Is My Bassline’, by former XTC keyboards player Barry Andrews and gang of Four bassist Dave Allen’s band Shriekback. This electro funk track will particularly please fans of XTC’s remixes and dub versions such as 1980’s Take Away/ Lure of Salvage.
There’s also some rarities to get the new wave collectors in a froth. Front 242’s ‘U Men’ is among these, with copies fetching around £300 according to Year Zero.
It’s not all jolly synths and marvels though. There are a few duffers. Among them is ‘Four Minutes’, the 12″ b-side of early 80s Athens, Georgia, band Pylon’s single, ‘Beep’. Fellow Athens natives REM famously said Pylon were the best rock and roll band in America but you’d be hard pressed to find a rock or dance groove in this dour and misguided track for the band.
Die Krupps ‘Goldfinger’, while interesting as a peak at electro Kraut rock, sounds, well, kind of silly 28 years on.
There’s some undoubtedly great songs peppered by some bad ones but without fail every track is at least interesting, and deserving of its place as an example of this odd transitionary time for post punk electronic music.
Available direct from Future Noise Music.
Full track listing
1. Goldfinger (Extended Version) – Die Krupps
2. Moody (Cut Down) – ESG
3. Dirty Talk (Radio Version) – Klein & MBO
4. Hip Hop Be Bop (Dub) – Man Parrish
5. Music For Cameleons (LP Version) – Gary Newman
6. U-Men – Front 242
7. Liberty City – Mark Stewart
8. Pounding System – Dub Syndicate
9. Dans Les Jardins – Bejamin Lew / Steven Brown
10. My Spine Is The Baseline – Shriekback
11. Breakdown – Colourbox
12. Planet Rock – Afrika Bamaataa & Soulsonic Force
13. Impulse – Chris & Cosey
14. Fiends – Portion Controle
15. Four Minutes – Pylon
by Joe Lepper, May 2010