Thursday, February 20, 2014

Back to the Future: The World’s Greatest Club Collection (Remixes from the 80s and 90s)

Having had the overwhelming urge to change the tune on my car stereo, I took the adventurous step of looking back into my CD collection. Building most of it from the mid 80s into the mid 90s, it must encompass a couple of hundred CDs—probably more. I am pretty aware of most of the CDs in my collection, even given the large number of discs in question.

However, along the way several platters squeezed into the glass cabinet, their origins shrouded in the mists of time. One such laser-encoded circular piece of polycarbonate is “The World’s Greatest Collection! Remixed Smash Hits” part of what I take was a series of releases in the “80’s into the 90’s” line from Cleopatra Records (1998).

Not being a dyed-in-the-wool dance music aficionado, I was somewhat skeptical of spinning this high-tech wax and dulling my rock sensibilities. But I was reassured by the presence of several acceptable artists on the liner notes such as Dead or Alive, Gary Numan and Information Society.

The remix of DoA’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record…) does make camp of the New Wave attitude, but the edgy proto-transgender lead singing style of Pete Burns shines through and still makes you want to get down and groove with a pict. I can even now picture in my mind’s eye that spinning disco ball in the palm of Burns’ hand from the video of the same name.

And as when it first graced the airwaves as arguably the then most prominent synthesizer-laced hit, the thumping, extended, sped-up revision to Gary Numan’s “Cars” retains all the potency of the original. Numan’s otherworldly vocals captivate as always. With Numan having recently been back on the concert circuit, interest could very well be revived in his back catalog headed up by this single.

Long one of my guilty pleasures, Information Society’s “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)” pulls the drum machine and vocals out of the original recording, leaving perhaps the most famous sound sample from the television series “Star Trek” to be enjoyed loud and clear: Commander Spock, voiced by actor Leonard Nimoy, saying dispassionately as possible “pure energy.”

Other interesting cuts include “Andreline,” “Deranged” and “Caterpillar.” The sonic qualities of all the songs have been expertly deconstructed and cleaned up so the message of the music will move you as much as the beats bring the rhythm to your body.

-Derek Handova
Appreciative Listener

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