Various VariousTrevor Jackson presents Metal Dance: Industrial, Post Punk, EBM, Classics & Rarities 80-88
There's more dust at Trevor Jackson's place than in the English countryside on a summer afternoon. The mythical Output DJ and founding member of Playgroup probably has one of the messiest living rooms in the northern hemisphere, what with his 50,000-piece record collection and all. I imagine that when Strut asked him to do a double CD compilation, he chose the theme at random. Because Trevor Jackson can talk for hours on end about practically any kind of music from the past three decades (and possibly four, because if there's one decade that defines the man who helped launch the careers of Blackstrobe, Colder, LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture, it's the seventies punk era, much more defining in his musical taste than the glittery eighties).
I'm not too sure about the man as a DJ, though. The last time I heard him play was in the summer of 2004 on one of those closing parties at FIB, on the beach, when the Spanish-to-foreigner ratio among the festival goers was still 60-40. That night might not have been one of his best, as the party felt more like a small-town street festival rather than a gathering of dance-hungry indie tribes. What's beyond any doubt is that Trevor Jackson has every record. To know how to play them out in a coherent set is another thing entirely. Be that as it may, Strut hired him to make this selection called “Metal Dance: Industrial, Post Punk, EBM Classics & Rarities 80-88”, which, according to Jackson himself, should be seen as “Trevor’s Teenage Years” (the man claims to have been clubbing since he was thirteen). This record isn't really a compilation of industrial/EBM and new wave in the didactic and encyclopaedic sense that Strut, a label that can teach us all a thing or two about music, has us accustomed to—never mind the fine songs by Nitzer Ebb ( “Control I’m Here”), Portion Control ( “Divided”) and Severed Heads ( “Dead Eyes Opened”) in the former category and Pete Shelley ( “Witness The Change”), 400 Blows ( “Pressure”), Cabaret Voltaire ( “Seconds Too Late”) and Jah Wobble ( “Invaders Of The Heart”) in the latter. It's rather a look at the musical education of young Trevor who, at the time, took the radio and John Peel's immaculate accent as a guide. A time when post-punk started to surface in London clubs like Embassy Club and Camden Palace, where people danced to the tunes of artists like The Human League, the band that gave him the ultimate push to immerse himself in the dirtiest of synthetic music.
Since then, and with a preference for the dark side of dance (as the title suggests), with tracks like “The Chase” (Moroder) on repeat, our young hero learned, sitting at the bar in the club drooling, what real disco should sound like, according to him: he's always been more DAF (he's including the ‘Gabi Mix’ of “Brothers”) and Alien Sex Fiend ( “Under The Thunder” opens the second disc) than Fleetwood Mac. It's not unthinkable that Trevor would have liked to have been another Trevor: Horn. He would have loved the Valencia Route, the Spanish version of the new beat and post-gothic sound (in fact, he included “Golpe De Amistad” by Diseño Corbussier, a kind of Iberian answer to Throbbing Gristle), almost as much as The Hacker and Miss Kittin did. These are good times for those nostalgic for minimal wave and other metallic, cold, decadent sounds of yore, and it's a good thing that young Trevor was there at the time, so he can be here now to show us the dark side of the eighties, the sounds forgotten because they were perverse, and which are therefore more suitable for vindication.