Sunday, 25 March 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #113 - Various Artists, "Metal Dance: Industrial/Post Punk/EBM: Classics & Rarities 80-88"

Trevor Jackson has put together this collection of what should be absolute fucking gold. It should be teeming with home-made sounds, paranoia, social criticism and post-punk tensions. I love that shit.

Neon's "Voices" sounds like early House music, something like Adonis would make in his dream. "Dream Games" by Shock and Executive Slacks' "The Bus" have leaked from an even earlier era - D.A.F. or one of those industrial outfits. There is clattering, shouting and not a huge amount of syncopation. I like that. "Now our legs are touching/Touching on the bus!" is a fine closing line. D.A.F. themselves turn up a couple of numbers later - touched with anger but slinked with a disco shuffle. "Let's play like we were brothers." Awwwh.

Difficult to resist something called the "Exotic Decadent Disco Mix", so I shan't. The sound of this takes me back to almost ten years ago to the time when hundreds of bands had studied up on their Gang of Four records (or somebody's Gang of Four records) and whacked a chewy, rope-like bass to drag it along behind. The mix doesn't conjure much Euro glamour, but it moves and is contained. SPK's "Metal Dance" trills "We synthesize your dreams away", which has a sweetly-dated futuristic logic, and clips along at a fair pace, pushing many of the post punk/dance buttons of the age. More bins-down-the-stairwell percussion and cut glass vocals.

I'm getting an idea, or sensing a hole where the idea might be, about what this clumsy, slashing drumbeat means. It's so ungainly and uptight and hypermasculine: is that the Eighties in full artificial flower? Even in its underbelly format? Finitribe start manipulating church bells on "De Testimony" - full Miltonic cacophony. Alien Sex Fiend quote Rolf Harris over a spaceship invasion alert on "Under the Thunder": "Abyssinia in the morning/Breakfast in Berlin" sets the past/present scope and some distorted burns like a livid scar across the rumbling, post-punk industrial conga. Honest, it does.

Hard Corps swing in with citric electro squelches. Naked Lunch are decked out in recessional rimshots. Severed Heads' "Dead Eyes Opened" could have oozed out of the witch house headwaters yesterday, it's so au courant. I like the Orb-tastic posh-voiced echoey spoken word stuff about a corpse as well. The Cage rework disco diva Nona Hendryx off of Lady Marmalade into more rim-shot, boggly bass excitement.

Now, Ledernacken - THAT's a post-punk name to conjure with in a Euro-funkisch method. Like a saucy, less arty Yello. There's gristly shouting and a lumpen instruction to "Shake your booty/Shake". Perfekt. Nash the Slash's "Womble" ties up the loose threads that dangled between video nasties and kid's animation. And there's an excerpt from the mighty John Carpenter's might Escape from New York soundtrack. Cowbells glistening with malice and Nineties-that-never-were sangfroid.

I'm beginning to realise what I like so much about post-punk: its appetite. It will eat and ingest and mutate using everything it comes across - disco, punk, metal, industrial, krautrock, electronics. It took up punk's clarion shout of "Anyone can do this" and added "...with anything" to the end. It's fearless music born of huge paranoid connection-making. Modernist music like Picasso's paint or TS Eliot's poetry, feverish with colonialism and the discovery of real subjectivity before post-modernity comes and drains out all the sap, leaving only the skins and pips.

Diseno Corbusier is of the amped-up Dario Argento style sexual panic, complete with loudly moaning Italian woman. Schlaflose Naechte (sleepless nights, teutophiles!) also rattles about in the same Euro angst. Factory's very own Blurt adds his saxophonical fidget - still too Northern and downplayed and playful to be truly anxious. Zazou Bikaye opens it out to another continent again, sounding like a proto-Bug. There's even time for "A Bit of Joy" from Richard Bone at the end, montone joy though it be.

Rating: Funky Modernity out of Angsty Funk

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