The music termed post punk is well represented here in many of its diverse strains by some of its prime movers. This multi-hued set, the first in the New Wave To New Beat series, encompasses anything from Gary Numan's austere electronic pop on 'Replicas' through 23 Skidoo's atmospheric tribal boogie on 'The Gospel Comes To New Guinea' to the scrabbling guitar-driven pop of Josef K from Glasgow's Postcard Records providing a major influence on Franz Ferdinand.
What happens elsewhere defies blanket description as every track charts a different musical seam which, invariably, proved highly influential. Killing Joke's radical, apocalyptic approach was often cited as a massive influence on anyone from Nirvana to industrial bands, but also incorporated dub reggae and New York dance music, as evidenced by November 1979's 'Almost Red'. The set also shows how later musical movements germinated in the new technology around this time, especially in the hands of electronic protagonists like former Throbbing Gristle duo Chris & Cosey, who pillaged the new sampling possibilities and predated techno with their use of proto-electro pulses, as illustrated by 'Heartbeat', from their 1981 debut album. Or Belgium new beat pioneers Front 242, whose 'Body to Body' sounds like a spooked house music prototype. New York was also leading the world at this time, particularly the legendary
ZE Label, which embodied the multi-genred melting pot of disco, punk, reggae and latin they called Mutant Disco. The label is represented here by Lizzy Mercier Descloux's infernal treatment of Arthur Brown's 1968 hit 'Fire' and Bill Laswell's Material with 'Bustin' Out', his first major dancefloor statement before going on to become a world-renowned producer. Another side of the city is presented by quintessential downtown NY post punk/no wave outfit the Bush Tetras and their debut single, 'Too Many Creeps', while visionary musician-producer Arthur Russell flies the wigged-out disco flag under his Loose Joints banner on the Larry Levan-remixed 'Is it All Over My Face'. The set also illustrates how the disparate post punk spirit captured the rest of the world with the Kraftwerkian 'Cracked Mirror' from Vancouver's Moev, Germany's No More with deadpan electronic classic 'Suicide Commando' and San Francisco's avant punk Tuxedomoon providing one of the set's most grippingly-complex outings with the title track from their Desire album. Meanwhile, Melbourne duo Dead Can Dance match Lisa Gerrard's spooky vocals with Brendan Perry's subterranean atmospherics on their 1981 'Frontiers' demo.
All perfect examples of how music had moved on since 1977's spring clean, trampling fences like a herd of elephants in this exciting, unpredictable time.
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