I learnt more about the spirit of The Blitz and the people who inhibited that world from Kevin Hegge’s brilliant film, Tramps: The Death Of Punk, New Romantics, The Art Of Survival than I did from almost any other source. Tracing the lineage between early 1970’s Glam and its disparate offshoots, charting a course through electronic Disco to its more radical European interpretations and consequent interactions between Art and Fashion. Although centred on London these ideas took root elsewhere in the UK as Punk broke down and new ideas were sought.
This compilations attempts to tell that story across three cd’s beginning with seminal numbers like Mott The Hoople’s epic All The Young Dudes, Alice Cooper – I’m Eighteen alongside all the usual tearaways: Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and The New York Dolls all setting the scene. Disco is also touched upon from Grace Jones, Donna Summer and from Giorgio Moroder’s outstanding Chase.
The second disc breathes life into some of Dj Rusty Egan’s peerless selections for the Blitz with timeless numbers from The Human League, John Foxx, The Associates and Magazine. The list could very easily continue and I wait with anticipation to hear his own forthcoming compilations. Unquestionably this amalgamation of breath-taking styles covers a unique period in British club culture feeling light years ahead of what else was happening, one that remains radically influential today.
CD three continues to expand the story to include selections from a diverse range of artists from Marianne Faithfull’s Broken English to Gina X to Coati Mundi’s wonderful Me No Pop I. I guess this is a broad snapshot of the nightclubs which existed outside of the mainstream around the turn of the decade and the music they celebrated, despite lots of essentials missing – where does it end? – there are still gems hidden from view to discover. On a finer point exactly what could or should qualify as being ‘New Romantic’ with A Certain Ratio and New Order alongside Sister Sledge also featured can only be truly answered by the figures involved. However, to focus primarily on the music there is plenty of brilliance on offer here acting as either a breath of nostalgia or fresh inspiration. Either way that alone is worth the price of admission.
Release: November 25