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"In The Beginning, There Was Rhythm"

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The first sentence of the 40-page booklet that accompanies this disc reads "This record features the groups that grew out of punk in the UK and embraced Dance music." Yeah, right, that's exactly how I'd [not] describe Throbbing Gristle and This Heat. Souljazz Records, self-proclaimed re-releaser of hard-to-find dance music, has expanded their dub-and-reggae filled catalog by compiling 11 songs from 9 late 70s UK bands, including the two bands mentioned above, Gang of Four, early Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, 23 Skidoo, A Certain Ratio, the Slits, and the Pop Group.
The music is great, there's no doubt about it, but at the price this disc is going for ($18 in New York) it's really not worth buying, especially since the tracks are mostly available on other discs (I think This Heat's first album, which contains "24 Track Loop," is still out of print, but you can find it used for $10 if you try). Maybe this is an OK comp for someone who's never heard of any these bands, but I wouldn't recommend "20 Jazz Funk Greats" as quintessential Throbbing Gristle or "To Hell With Poverty" as a good start to your Gang of Four collection. The most infuriating elements of this release, though, are the ridiculous liner notes, in which everything is talked about in terms of its relation to "Punk," which is always capitalized for some reason, and its treatment of John Lydon as some sort of musical god. Example: "Whilst appearing to celebrate chaos, or rather because of it, [the Sex Pistols] inspire groups to form wherever they play." That doesn't even make grammatical sense, and it's an absurd statement to make. Incidentally, the word "whilst" is used about 20 times throughout the booklet, and the writer (Stuart Baker) changes tense from past to present every few sentences. From the section about Throbbing Gristle: "Although Throbbing Gristle come into existence at the same time as many Punk bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash, and indeed share some of their values, the music is a million miles away from them. Often described as anti-music, Throbbing Gristle experimented with sound like no one else before them." It's quite frustrating. You can get better ideas about the bands from, and if you gave me an hour and the internet I could make a better, more thorough intro to the "second wave of Punk." The only good thing that might come out of this release is if people who buy it actually follow through and buy these bands' actual records. But if you are curious about any of these bands, forget this disc, pick one or two of the bands you're really interested in and go buy their albums. It will be time and money better spent.


Last Updated on Monday, 18 July 2005 14:58  


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