Various - Metal Dance Industrial / Post-Punk / Ebm : Classics & Rarities
When former Output Records owner Trevor Jackson named his label’s box set I Hate Music, it was meant as more of a wry sideswipe at music business bureaucracy and sycophancy rather than a disillusion with music itself.
Jackson’s curatorship of Strut’s Metal Dance: Industrial/Post Punk/EBM - Classics & Rarities 80–88 is ample evidence of that, compiling many of his favourite underground anthems from his teenage clubbing years in London. Pre-dating acid house and the splintering of dance genres, Metal Dance covers a fertile time when post-punk, mutant disco, dub and analogue electronica collided in exciting new ways.
Standouts include the Exotic Decadent Disco Mix of Jah Wobble’s ‘Invaders Of The Heart’, pitched between his PIL work and My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts-style world music, and On-U Sound owner Adrian Sherwood’s pummelling remix of Berlin noise-mongers Einstürzende Neubauten (infamous for fashioning power tools as instruments).
Elsewhere, Neon’s eerie ‘Voices’ is Kraftwerkian, if Kraftwerk’s robots had malfunctioned and their Trans-Europe Express had derailed; Nitzer Ebb, DAF and SPK provide proto-techno; whilst solo efforts from the Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley and the Pop Group’s Mark Stewart both show different approaches to their former bands: Shelley’s electropop at odds with the punk sound with which he made his name, Stewart adding industrial beats to his brand of anti-corporate polemic.
Despite the plethora of compilations on the market of this ilk in the last 10 years since the post-punk revival, Metal Dance is to be welcomed for its inclusion of some unheralded acts and hard-to-find mixes. The occasional slap bass and 80s drum sound dates some of the material on here, but doesn’t distract from the invention and innovation of the acts featured, who still sound urgent and fresh some 25 years on.