Various - The Hacienda Classics

A Factory Records' project arguably as famous as the label's major bands (New Order, Happy Mondays), The Hacienda is credited as the beginning of the superclub phenomenon, spawning Cream, Gatecrasher, etc. This Manchester venue opened in 1982, and by the mid 80s was hosting regular house music nights. It stood as a focal point through rave's heyday and Madchester, eventually shutting in 1997. The story of The Hacienda is well-documented, most famously in the excellent film 24 Hour Party People.

The Hacienda Classics, compiled and mixed by Peter Hook of New Order, traces a melting pot music policy. Tracks such as Voodoo Ray and Pacific State are synonomous with the rave era. The latter shares an exotic, transcendental beauty with The Future Sound Of London's Papua New Guinea. They both sound like music from another world; in fact, to many a loved-up clubber they probably were. Keeping with this sense of wonder, but more chilled, are Orbital's Belfast (which those not old enough to have visited The Hacienda may recognise from Human Traffic) and the warm, soul-probing vibe of Mr Fingers' Can You Feel It.

Of course, these were the days when other genres, particularly hip-hop and "indie", merged with dance, giving birth to floor fillers from the likes of Primal Scream and Happy Mondays. K-Klass' blissful remix of New Order's Ruined In A Day is another crossover gem and a massive improvement on the original (which isn't one of the band's better songs). Doves also formed back then as dance act Sub Sub, but Space Face is too anthemic to be a mere footnote.

It would be unfair not to mention what are perhaps the two most commercially successful tunes here. Candi Staton's You Got The Love seemingly gets a remix every couple of years, and Black Box's Ride On Time was not only the biggest selling UK single of 1989, but probably shoulders some of the blame for the indiscriminate hacking up of old songs which has become ever more prevalent. Anyway, its source, Loleatta Holloway's Love Sensation, is also included.

While keeping under the banner of dance, The Hacienda Classics alludes to the sort of diversity which would make Benetton proud. Ravers, hip-hop fans, house heads and indie kids unite! Yes, it may sound dated, and not all of these tracks are essential; yet enough excitement and beauty remains to prove those who would label dance music as inherently disposable wrong.



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