Compilation Review: ‘Fac.Dance 02: Factory Records 12″ Mixes & Rarities’ (Strut)


A source of posthumous fascination (or a legacy being mined for all its worth, so say the cynical), the second Fac.Dance collection continues its reconstruction of the 1980-87 timeline covering self-carved sovereignty. Again the point is not being all about New Order, Tony Wilson, The Hacienda and all that; it stands for the barely mentioned, even less credited driving forces that secured the legendary status of the FAC mythology.

What becomes quickly apparent on volume two however is that the proto-punk funk, anti-pop and granite-set indie/dance/shoegaze were far from a barrel of a laughs, and certainly gives no indication as to the hedonistic aura you may associate the Factory brand with. Dour bass, indecipherable/‘arty’ vocals, largely sardonic electro-pop (Lord knows Royal Family and The Poor are heavy-going) and sense of being so cool that it becomes burdensome, hasn’t kept the wrinkles of the rebel rawness at bay. Compared to volume one, there’s not much jumping at you, with Kalima’s sparkling jazz jam “Land of Dreams” (that definitely has aged well) and Ad Infinitum’s audacious cover of The Tornados’ “Telstar” the most conspicuous non-followers of the Manchester skyline, amidst some dub involvement from Biting Tongues, Sir Horatio and X-O-Dus, and world vision from Fadela.

It’ll help pull back a few more layers on the Factory/Hacienda legend, but will also consign a good few more to history book footnotes.
File under: The Durutti Column, A Certain Ratio, Quando Quango

Compilation Review: ‘This Ain’t Chicago – The Underground Sound of UK House & Acid’ (Strut)


Chicago remains a mecca for compilation inspiration, so it’s good for the game when you have Richard Sen of Bronx Dogs talking us through a UK perspective from ’87 to ’91 rather than rehashing the same old classics. In some cases imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — the old stereotype of the United Kingdom pinching a lot of music’s best ideas survives thanks to Baby Ford’s “Crashing” and Julie Stapleton’s “Where’s the Love Gone” — and it’s noticeable more than once how much smoother the source is, compared to the chunkier transatlantic translations and more pointed form of jacking under drum machine rule while using raw materials. (Though Andrew Weatherall’s mix of Sly and Lovechild flies effortlessly with the best of them.)

Sen also brings to light producers finding their feet, featuring future UK Garage stars Julian Jonah and Mark Ryder, and those that would make chart breakthroughs in Bizarre Inc. and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Paul Rutherford, (whose “Get Real” shows how house caught on, as it was produced by pop smoothies ABC). Of the best and most distinctive British sounds sparking up, seek out Rio Rhythm Band’s cheery “Cuba Jakkin’,” Playtime Toons’ Calypso harmony “Shaker Song,” Return of the Living Acid’s vicious “Twin Tub” and Ability 2’s roughneck bliss “Pressure Dub” for an educational account of the Windy City.
File under: Man With No Name, Mr. Fingers, Jamie Principle