Possibly one of the most abused and misunderstood musical terms in recent years, electro could do with hiring a new PR agency and slapping a few cease and desist notices on those who have appropriated the term to make their Yates Wine Lodge friendly chart house seem oh so edgier.
Still, it’s easy to see the confusion, you can take a handfull of people who all know their shit, stick them in a room and they’ll all come out with differing examples of the what electro actually is. For some we’re strictly talking about the likes of Hashim‘s ‘Al-Naafiysh’ or Cybotron‘s ‘Clear’, others are happy to extend then genre through the ages to include the chart topping likes of Joyce Sims, through the nu-skool types such as Jedi Knights and Gescom, right up to the kind of stuff that gets released on Kitsune or Ed Banger.
Certainly ‘Dreams Come True‘ a new compilation on Domino Records will do nothing to end these arguements. Compiled by journalist Jon Savage (if you’ve yet to, make reading his history of The Sex Pistols and Punk England’s Dreaming a priority) it sets out to document ‘Classic First Wave Electro 1982-87‘ and will probably end up causing just as many debates about ‘what is electro?’ as it settles.
Certainly it’s no definitive account of the period, several stone cold classics are noticable by their absence and you could argue that a fair few of his selections could just as easily fit into different catergories, Class Action’s Weekend, though one of my favourite ever records and possessing one of the most recognisible hi-hat patterns around would always be filed straight under disco on my shelves, The Latin Rascals who I’ve genereally tended to associate with freestyle or early house and Yazoo – synthpop.
Still at the end of the day this is the kind of argument for lazy sundays in the pub with scarily obsessive friends. What does matter is that the 11 tracks on this compilation are all, micro genre confusions aside, absolute classics. OK, there’s a good chance you already own a few of them in one form or another but it’s lovely to have them in one place and whether you’re trying to tediously educate someone on a internet forum or just want a spot on collection of grin inducing dance music then this is a great place to start.
Debbie Deb – When I Hear Music