Various Artists - Rough Trade Shops Electronic 01

Its both an education and a revelation. The ultimate in discovery without having to trail through hoards of bearded men in anoraks at record fairs looking for that lost Kraftwerk single. Its hard to believe that Rough Trade opened their first store way back in 1976, the year before punk kicked off, and around the middle chronology of this compilation. At the time the very use of synthesizers or electronics in music were looked at with suspicion by the real music fans, much like the use of guitars is seen as the ultimate sin by the dance heads today. Electronic Volume 01 looks at the rise of electronic music from 1960 and takes us to the present day.

Schneider TM's 2000 reworking of the Smiths "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" is perhaps the obvious place to start. While Morrissey thought disco music was vile, Johnny Marr went onto embrace the electronic age with the telling moniker Electronic....keeping the vocal melody faithful to the original your left with the feeling of the Tin Man who needs to a heart. An almost electronic void with a desperate need for a soul which could have come straight out of Stephen Spielbergs AI.

Perhaps to gain a fuller picture we need to look at the real innovators of the electronic age. The likes of Kraftwerk, Can, Throbbing Gristle and Faust are perhaps the most significant names on the 2 CD collection and are essential for fans of Primal Scream, the Chemical Brother and perhaps any significantly adventurous band from the last 10 years. Like fans of the Rolling Stones would trace the line back to the unknown American Blues players of the 50s this collection offers a perfect introduction to early days of electronica.

Although Electronic 1 is being touted as a retrospective its good to see that the collection also looks to the future with acts such as Fischerspooner and Matmos holding the torch. An essential purchase for anyone looking to broaden their horizons.

Alex McCann

Post your own reviews / views on our Message Board