Z Records is back in the funk hot-seat, but this time Joey Negro presents a snapshot of the edgier, robotic sounds of the emerging early 80s Electro scene.
From stone-cold classics such as Hashim’s ‘Al Naafiysh (The Soul)’, Tyrone Brunson’s ‘The Smurf’ and Key-Matic’s ‘Breakin’ In Space’ to revered party anthem’s such as Aleem’s ‘Release Yourself (Dub)’, and Dwayne Omarr’s ‘This Party’s Jam Packed’ to electro oddities like Paul Hardcastle’s ‘Rain Forest’ and Kosmic Light Force’s Mysterious Waves we get a genuine labour of love and a timely reminder of the raw drum machine sounds that were soon to define the beginning of the house and techno scenes we have today.
The album features extensive sleeves notes written by early electro pioneer and DJ Greg Wilson who remembers the time as; “during the early-mid ‘80s electro-funk became the dominant force on the UK’s black music scene. With the previous era’s jazz-funk movement running out of steam the way was clear for this new technological direction to sweep out the old and announce a new wave of dance music with a distinctive futuristic edge.”
People maybe associate Dave Lee (Joey Negro) with disco, funk and boogie more than electro but the truth is, he is a music fan first and foremost. Back in 82/83/84 Dave was fanatical about this futuristic new style of dance music called electro. Although at the time this new sound remained very divisive within the soul and jazz-funk scenes, he liked both Lonnie Liston Smith and Man Parrish.
As Dave recalls in his own album sleeve notes: “I can see why the soul boys hated electro as it lacked the soaring vocals, intricate orchestration and polished organic production of jazz funk. Unfortunately for the purists by the mid 80s all dance music had become more electronic with the likes of Roland introducing powerful drum machines and affordable synthesizers, not to mention the onset of early samplers. Many straight up soul boogie records got electro-fied, complete with rapped sections and scratching – not to say it was an improvement, just stating a fact.”
Anyway this isn’t THE definitive electro album, it’s some of Joey Negro’s favourites, plus a few lesser-known and collectable cuts. However that being said we do think it’s one of the best electro comps ever released!