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Various Artists: Disco Not Disco: Post Punk, Electro and Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986

Various Artists: Disco Not Disco: Post Punk, Electro and Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986

Release Date:2008

By Raven Baker | Posted 1/30/2008

In 2000, U.K.'s Strut Records released Disco Not Disco, a compilation of mostly forgotten no wave, punk-funk, and electro from the late '70s and early '80s. Strut's timing was great: It was the burgeoning era of mash-ups, iPods, and hipster dance nights catering to a new generation hungry for crucial bass lines and hybrid sounds. Eight years on, Strut returns after a five-year hiatus with a third edition of Disco Not Disco.

This compilation is a smidgen less revelatory than its predecessor thanks to recent full-on reissue treatment for some of the featured artists, such as Delta 5 and James Chance. Still, even for today's ever-weirder underground, Disco Not Disco ponies up some rarer, choice oddities like Liaisons Dangereuses. French in name only, this German electro group's "Los Ninos Del Parque" features Spanish dude-lady vox, by turns deadpan and yelping, over an ominously sputtering beat. Another standout is music journo Vivienne Goldman's "Launderette," a dub-influenced soured-love rant reminiscent of the Slits, reputedly recorded on the sly during a P.I.L. session. Detroit's A Number of Names brings the eerie cosmic proto-techno with "Sharevari," while New York's Konk melds Latin funk, disco, and no wave on the herky-jerk "Your Life." The most interesting track, "Seoul Music," comes from the most well-known group on the comp: Yellow Magic Orchestra-often described as Japan's Kraftwerk-which topped the Nippon charts and performed on Soul Train. On "Seoul Music," the early electronic-music pioneers collage found sound and a buried funk bass line under a melancholy haze of echoes that would make Kevin Shields blush.

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