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Various Artists and Compilations

Spirit of Disco | This Is Electronic Body Music | VH1: The Big 80's Christmas

Zance: A Decade of Dance from ZTT | Rock & Wave: Volume 1

Spirit of Disco (Reviewed by wavemeister):

Various Artists 'Spirit Of Disco', 2CD, released in 2001 by ZYX, Italo Disco
CD 1 (TT 69.55), 39 tracks
CD 2 (TT 70.49), 39 tracks

Italo Disco is the term for Dancefloor which was produced and performed by almost Italian DJs and artists, blending Pop, Wave, traces of Rock and some Italian lifestyle. The first records of this genre appeared in the charts around 1982 with the famous 'Puttin´ On The Ritz' by Taco and 'I Like Chopin' by Gazebo.
Over the years, this style became successful in Italy, Spain and Germany, filling the dancehalls and even sustained whole labels like ZYX, which was the main source for this kind of music throughout Europe and Northern America.

Now, ZYX released this DCD which was remixed by Ben Liebrand, who is well known for his remix work (e.g. Phil Collins 'In The Air Tonight').
In the tradition of the famous 'Italo Boot Mix'-series, the CDs features the greatest hits from artists like Radiorama, Scotch, P. Lion, Ken Laszlo and others on these album lenght mixes, spanning the years from the beginning until the end of popularity in the late 80s.

These CDs are lacking a bit of the atmosphere and nostalgia of the Italo Boot mixes due to the technical perfection of mixing and audio quality, but it´s recommendable for beginners and collectors of pop music nonetheless.

ZYX Music is not only offering Italo Disco but a various number of genres such as Freestyle.
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This Is Electronic Body Music (Reviewed by wavemeister):

Various Artists 'This Is Electronic Body Music', released in 1988 on PIAS/SPV, EBM

Front 242 'Body To Body' (1988 Mix)
The Neon Judgement 'Chinese Black'
Click Click 'Sweet Stuff'
à; Grumh... 'Ha People'
Parade Ground 'Strange World'
The Cassandra Complex 'One Millionth Happy Customer' (Remix)
A Split Second 'On Command'
Chris And Cosey 'Exotica'
Borghesia 'No Hope, Ho Fear'
The Weathermen 'Poison'
Skinny Puppy 'Assimilate'

With the growing success of Front 242 in Europe and the US, PIAS/SPV decided to release a compilation for promoting other artists of this genre which were related to this label.
Many of the featured artists were already known to the fans of this genre like The Neon Judgement or A Split Second, and with two exceptions, the tracks were already released on the respective albums and EP´s. But, this was the first time that they were compiled on a single album. The only 'newcomers' were Parade Ground and Borghesia, but nonetheless, 'This Is Electronic Body Music' sold well in Europe and the US.

And thanks to this compilation, their music became known to a wider audience, attracting new fans and even broke the ground for some radio airplay (Radio ffn, a Lower Saxony station, featured a weekly broadcast called 'Grenzwellen' which became famous over the whole nation from 1986-1997).

'This Is Electronic Body Music' featured all the sounds which were common for EBM, harsh electronics, hard rhythms and distorted or echoed voices. The only track which doesn´t fit into the concept is Chris And Cosey´s 'Exotica' with it´s laid back and almost trance feeling, but since both were the nucleus of the Industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle, PIAS felt that it may be wrong to leave them out.

All in all, the quote on the backsleeve is a good description of this compilation: 'This Is Electronic Body Music for you to dance, move and enjoy'.
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VH1: The Big 80's Christmas (Reviewed by abcmcd):

This CD has a terrific blend of touching (Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy), silly (Twelve Days of Christmas), and classic (Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer) Christmas tunes. A wide variety of artists from pop to punk, from classic rock to hard rock, keep the songs fresh. It brings back memories of the Decembers in the 1980s, and is perfect for reliving the holiday feelings of that time.

1--Christmas is the Time to Say "I Love You" Billy Squier
2--Jingle Bell Rock Daryl Hall & John Oates
3--Christmas Wrapping The Waitresses
4--Please Come Home for Christmas Pat Benetar
5--Thank God It's Christmas Queen
6--2000 Miles The Pretenders
7--Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy David Bowie & Bing Crosby
8--December Will Be Magic Again Kate Bush
9--Christmas Day Squeeze
10--Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer The Smithereens
11--Rock and Roll Christmas George Thorogood & The Destroyers
12--Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight) The Ramones
13--Rudolph The Manic Reindeer Los Lobos
14--Happy Christmas (War is Over) The Alarm
15--Twelve Days of Christmas Bob & Doug McKenzie

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Zance - A Decade Of Dance From ZTT (Reviewed by wavemeister):

V.A. 'Zance - A Decade Of Dance From ZTT', released 1994 by ZTT/WEA

Grace Jones 'Slave To The Rhythm' (Blooded) (8.27)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Relax' (Ollie J Mix) (6.28)
Seal 'Killer' (William Orbit Mix) (6.41)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Welcome To The Pleasuredome' (Brothers In Rhythm Rollercoaster Mix) (14.34)
Seal 'Crazy' (William Orbit Mix) (5.24)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'Two Tribes' (Fluke Magimix) (5.26)
Propaganda 'Duel' (Bitter Sweet) (7.36)
MC Tunes V 808 State 'The Only Rhyme That Bites' (Extended Mix) (4.17)
Shades Of Rhythm 'The Sound Of Eden' (X-Press 2´S Vocal Mix) (5.40)
808 State 'Pacific 707' (5.40)
Art Of Noise 'Moments In Love' (Beating Hart´s Mix) 5.09

ZTT, the famous UK label which had a reputation for featuring bands and artists which were a bit out of the ordinary but nonetheless very successful, released this compilation in 1994, together with the Best Of CDs from FGTH.
The label itself had it´s heyday in the 80s, and being featured there was almost a sure recommendation to buy the respective releases.

The variety of artists and styles under the roof of ZTT is still amazing, featuring Pop, Wave and Trance and a number of famous artists.

This release is supposed to span the decade of ZTT releases, but the overpresence of FGTH tracks from the CD 'Reload! Frankie: The Whole 12 Inches' (which isn´t also a complete overview of the 12" in itself) makes it more of a vehicle for promoting this release. It would have also been nice if some of the versions were selected with more care (a bit more variety on the selected artists would have also done good), since this CD aims more on the dancefloor instead of the historic meaning.
So, the tracks from the 80s with the original mixes are making up for this fault, but if you like dancefloor regardless of the decade, it´s a good buy though.

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Rock & Wave: Volume 1 (Reviewed by wavemeister):

V.A. 'Rock & Wave Vol.1' DCD, released in 1992 by Columbia/Sony, Rock / Wave
Tracklist CD1:

P.I.L. - This Is Not A Lovesong
The Clash - London Calling
The Smiths - Panic
The Jams - Eaton Rifles
The Ruts - Babylon´s Burning
Tenpole Tudor - Swords Of A Thousand Men
King Kurt - Destination Zululand
Bow Wow Wow - I Want Candy
Adam & The Ants - Goody Two Shoes
Blondie - Denis
Elvis Costello - Oliver´s Army
Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Hit Me With Your Rhythmstick
The Stranglers - Skin Deep
Echo & The Bunnymen - The Killing Moon
Romeo Void - Never Say Never
Teardrop Explodes - Reward
XTC - Making Plans For Nigel
Theatre Of Hate - (Do You Believe In The) Westworld
Wall Of Voodoo - Mexican Radio

Tracklist CD2:

Anne Clark - Our Darkness
The Sisters Of Mercy - Alice
Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
The Clash - Should I Stay Or Should I Go
The Stranglers - Always The Sun
The Mission UK - Like A Hurricane
Killing Joke - Love Like Blood
Bauhaus - She´s In Parties
Grauzone - Eisbär
Pig Bag - Papa´s Got A Brand New Pig Bag
Tom Tom Club - Wordy Rappinghood
Altered Images - Happy Birthday
Lene Lovich - Lucky Number
Tubeway Army - Are "Friends" Electric?
Fad Gadget - Coitus Interruptus
Japan - Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Human League - Being Boiled

'Rock & Wave Vol.1' was pretty far ahead of time given the date of it´s release, especially with the various number of artists and genres.
These CDs are featuring a wide variety of 80s sounds like Punk, Goth, Wave and independent Pop, and for a major label, it showed a unusual taste in the compilation.

Owning this compilation makes about 90% of similar compilations almost obsolete, the only other compilation which can match the quality is the 'Club Class-X' series of Antler/Subway. Too bad that this series wasn´t continued like the 'Pop & Wave' series from the same label which was extended to 8 releases and 2 special features (Neue Deutsche Welle and 12").
Though this DCD was sold entirely in Germany, some copies found their way outside, and it´s strongly recommended to take a look for this gem at record conventions and second hand mailorder stores.
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