What a collection. From the Doctor Who theme tune through to the Swedish House Mafia, Electrospective: Electronic Music Since 1958 is a compilation that may not cover every dark corner of the electronic music world, but makes a damn good try.
The first disc manages to take us as far as 1989 with Control I m Here by Nitzer Ebb, stopping en route at Roxy Music, Telex and Messages. Does it all sound dated? Hell yes. But dated like a good whiskey, and it s enjoyable to revisit. For the younger listener, the appearance of Cabaret Voltaire will ring literally no bells none at all but the Original Sound of Sheffield is surely what The Prodigy were listening to as kids, and if you don t know how much cheesy fun Ultravox can be this is as good a way to learn as any. Oh, and King of the Beat! Oh, Mantronix, this track suffuses so much that came after it, takes me back to an long summer of Funk Master Flex ripping it to shreds. There it is.
The compilers have done a good job of creating an accessible but eclectic mix for this first disc. As they put it, Electrospective takes us from the humble beginnings of electronic music to concept rock, krautrock and art rock in the 70s onwards to the supernova of the punk aftermath where record companies were straining at the leash to sign almost anything that sounded futuristic.
The problem with this though is that electronic music is more of a method than a style, and what we think of as electronic music now has changed significantly since its origins. As such, maybe this first disc is for the purists, or those looking for a bit of an education, an atavism that they can whip out on the occasion to show off. As someone likely to do just that, the second disc is very much the one you d have on regular rotation, albeit a disc that starts off with Inner City s Big Fun ( The Party s just Begun!) before hitting the ground at top speed with Soul II Soul and Back to Life which is still a classic track and, in retrospect, amazingly slow paced for an upbeat tune.
There s Daft Punk taking us Around the World, Air with Kelly Watch the Stars and a bit of Moby who, insufferable personality aside, has made some classic tracks, not least Go. Adam F pops up for a slice of heavy drums and bass and there s Radiohead, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp and more... I don t want to just list the tracks, but the point is: this is a heavyweight compilation and I have very little bad to say about it.
Is it a history of electronic music with the prime examples of each of the genre s spawned? No, not at all. Is it a fast and furious overview of a musical process that showcases the growth and range of the music being created in the past fifty odd years? Yes, yes, yes. And at the end of the 39 track journey you certainly wonder where next, which after all, was probably the intention. And if you want to learn more about the artists, the music or the albums involved the handy website http://www.electrospective.com should sort you out. --http://www.inthemix.com.au/
This two-disc compilation charts the journey of electronic music across the last 50 years, from the eery theme tune to Doctor Who
to the club-filling anthems of David Guetta, visiting the likes of 80s electro pop, trip hop and electronic indie along the way.