I’ve always admired Music From Memory’s knack for creating interesting comps drawing from certain times, places and artists - thinking in particular Outro Tempo, Uneven Paths, the Suso Saiz retrospective. Other people who I think have done really strong comps are the Jura Transmissions, and Analogue Africa.
What compilations have opened your eyes/ears to new sounds?
And also for those who have been involved in such ventures - they must be a logistical/legal nightmare sometimes, how long does the process tend to take, and do they turn out the way you originally intended them?
I think the Disco Discharge comps opened me up to a lot of new music at that time. Paul Hillery’s ‘Children of the Sun’ comps never disappoint either.
Here are two good ones done by friends.
Soundway (who released Onda de Amor) has several great comps…
Yes Soundway have done some amazing bits
Light in the Attic do some good ones too. Particularly enjoyed their set of ‘Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie’ comps
They’ve made some great ones - liked this one very much!
Also that Kankyo Ongaku ambient one was also top
Historical influence for me included the early-80’s series of compilations here in the UK called Streets Sounds which showcased a lot of then-current electro, boogie and street soul. There were a couple of different series which extended up to the advent of House. Not all the material on them has stood the test of time, but they were pretty influential.
There’s still a label website:
I have various comps from the Soul Jazz label, all of which helped open my ears to stuff I wouldn’t previously have come across (notably their comps on the Tropicalia movement in Brazil, a Strata East label comp, Reggae Disco, and the Lovers Rock comp from their Studio One series)
Loved that Tropicalia one from Soul Jazz definitely opened my eyes to that music. Their kraut rock ones were a pretty great intro to that music for me too.
A few from the 80s.
The first in the Pay It All Back series of Adrian Sherwood productions on On-U-Sound.
This great collection on Charley Records which I’ve only just learnt today was compiled by Marco and Femi who would later be the short-lived Young Disciples.
The ground-breaking Techno! The New Dance Sound Of Detroit
I’ve been inspired by many different compilations over many years, but I think the series that has had the greatest impact on me was headed by Roy Carr at the NME and started with this one in 1981:
This one was brilliant:
And numerous tracks from these comps have still never been released even on those big retrospective band compilations. Like this tune, basically done by a Young Marble Giants offshoot:
I refused to spend £ on cassettes so only ever had freebies, but these were some of my faves.
And they certainly did the job as I bought loads of records by artists they introduced me to - Funky 4+1, Fashion, Yello, King Sunny, The Cabs.
Another comp which I got in the v early 80s (but was actually from 69) which opened my ears to a whole gamut of music id not heard before was this
Various - Nice Enough To Eat
Yes, I’d forgotten those NME tapes. Incredible range of music across the series, from 40’s blues and jazz up to highly experimental contemporary electronic music. I had loads of them, but I had a big purge a few years ago and they didn’t survive. Couldn’t bring myself to part with my copy of C81 though. Didn’t it lend its name to an indie revivalist scene a few years ago??
They also did some good label comps (Stax and Chess iirc?).
Those NME tapes look fantastic - were they given away with the mag, or did you buy them separately? My first contact with NME was in fag end of the Brit pop era and it was definitely a lot less interesting by then.
Edit - think TimIndulge answered that!
You had to cut out and collect a series of weekly tokens printed in the NME (you needed something like 6 out of 8 tokens), then send them together with a cheque or Postal Order for the cost of postage (about 20p…!).
I wonder whether anyone really counted the tokens!