Get ready: as Upper East Side yuppies and bridge ‘n’ tunnel zoolanders swarm the Village, L.E.S. and ‘Burgh to dance off their ’80s nostalgia, tastemaker deejays are holed up in the lab waiting to unleash the second coming of Soul II Soul and an onslaught of early- to mid-’90s big beat. So, consider Family Recordings’ 12″/80s series the final hurrah before the next trend big bang.
Although arriving late in the throwback game, the dance veterans behind Family, Simon Marks (Azuli Records) and Alex Macnutt (the Chillout Sessions), have compiled the definitive deejay guide to ’80s club music. Instead of repackaging “Just Can’t Get Enough” for the umpteenth time, the series caters to the deejay and collector — the serious music nut — by collecting rare twelve-inch extended edits of numerous ’80s classics. Last year, the first two volumes each consisted of three CDs jam-packed with staple hits (Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go?” and Tears for Fears’ “Shout”) and record-bin gems (the Extended Mix of Bauhaus’s “She’s In Parties” and the twelve-inch edit of Black’s “Wonderful Life”). The third volume, 12″/80s/Dance, refines the format by dividing each of the three discs by genre: “pop,” “club,” and “soul and funk.”
Don’t let the record-store style offend you. The organization lends a welcome (though hardly necessary) sense of order to the compilation, matching numerous tracks in terms of theme and production style. If anything, placing “Oh Sheila” on the same disc as “Treat Her Like a Lady” makes sense. But keep in mind that club maestros are helming this project: It will explain why Wham!’s “Everything She Wants” and Art of Noise’s “Close to the Edit” bookend the “pop” disc. The end sum makes 12″/80s/Dance the most accessible edition of the series to date and a gem for record nerds and for casual listeners putting together a party mix.
Family Recordings Web site (audio)