By Various Artists
Post-Punk compilations haven't exactly been thin on the ground since the heady days of the late 70's. Only fair, given it's importance even today. The only music movement that's been even vaguely as crucial as punk was the dance music explosion in the mid 80's which produced a million bastard children that have never fallen too far from the tree: dance music has inspired other dance music. Punk on the other hand, inspired people not so much to make more punk, although many did briefly before moving on, but to take the revolution onto the next level in pop, electronica and even funk.
Compiler Mike Maguire has focused, initially, on the funkier side of things which, as a DJ of 30 years standing, I guess you'd expect, and which chimes nicely with the poly-rhythmic indie of today. New York's Bush Tetras and the late, great French disco queen Lizzy Mercier Descloux supply a couple of globe trotting examples of the angular beats that were being played at alternative discos at the time, along with the new pop of Josef K. He goes a bit too far with the inclusion of Material's 'Bustin' Out' which is far too big and polished a production to fit in here, especially compared to the similar but massively lo-fi moroderism's of Killing Jokes 'Almost Red.'
The second half of the mix gets a little more industrial with Belgian Front 242 and Aussies Dead Can Dance (who were awful then and sadly haven't improved with age) which give hints at how Goth took over the rockier and gloomier aspects of post-punk, certainly the first seven of the fourteen tracks are a lot more fun!
I can't help thinking that this has all missed the boat a little, Rough Trade and ZE have done a series of these compilations and Brian Eno compiled the essential No New York/No Wave album in 1978 before this comp even starts. Has this left Mike Maguire with the left-overs?? A little unfair, but a track like Nag Nag Nag or Silent Command from Cabaret Voltaire or almost anything by James Chance or on the early Mute label would have put three or four of these pale imitations to shame.
The good news is that this is intended to be the first of a series and, certainly, the best hope for any compilation is to be used as a springboard to further exploration. 'Bustin' Out' certainly invites that, such were the riches of the time that almost any track could lead down any number of avenues without ever exhausting the discoveries ahead. Have fun!