Various Artists - Bustin Out 1982: New Wave to New Beat Vol 2
The second batch of Eighties curiosities dug up by DJ Mike Maguire for this ongoing series is a treasure trove of unflinching mechanical beats, darting synths and mesmeric motorik grooves. The muscular, crunching proto-industrial sound of Die Krupps opens the disc, urgent vocals slipping between metallic clashes and an unremitting bassline, all combining to kick things off with a driven intensity. The slick hip-hop of eclectic New Yorkers ESG proves a smoother than expected transition, highlighting the similarities in the musical DNA of two acts who on the surface could not be further apart.
Another early highlight is 'Hip Hop Be Bop', an epic slice of synth-addled robofunk from Man Parrish which was memorably employed (and talked up to the heavens) in Shaun of the Dead, while Gary Numan number 'Music for Chameleons' is a slick, effortless exercise in moody pop, complete with what could well be a comb scraping across a ruler used as percussion. Brilliant. Front 242’s 'U-Men' is one of the most sought-after 12 inches on this compilation and a bone-dry vocal delivery over a shuffling beat punctuated with bleeps and whirrs is a clear indicator of their affirmed influence on fellow Belgian boundary-pushers Soulwax.
Pressing forward, The Pop Group man Mark Stewart’s dubbed-out, jazz-specked cut 'Welcome to Liberty City', culled from an EP released on Lee Perry affiliate Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound label, drips with dystopic intensity. This sonic attack is followed up with a track Sherwood himself put together with another of dub's greatest innovators Style Scott, whose epic drum work forcibly jacks the reggae-flavoured jam 'Pounding System' to a whole different level.
There are a few missteps to be found, Shriekback’s 'My Spine is the Bassline' is a fairly forgettable electro-pop workout, and Colourbox's woozy 'Breakdown' fail to inspire. This lull is instantly varnished over by the arrival of Afrika Bamabaataa’s seminal 'Planet Rock', blending dread-tinged electronic surges with pure old-school hip-hop to stunning effect. All in all, this is a top-notch collection that will surely serve to open plenty of doors for anyone who comes into contact with its consistently dazzling contents.