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various - Personal Space: 1974-1984
Chocolate Industries have outdone themselves with this eagerly anticipated collection of obscure Electronic Soul: 1974-1984. Through seventeen tracks it scans the little known fringes of Black American music at a time when homemade, DIY studios were becoming affordable, effectively exposing the parallel evolutions of Electronic music eschewed by the current slew of synth-wave and underground electronic reissues. It's likely that the only name you'll know from the tracklist is Jeff Phelps, who contributes two tracks - 'Excerpts From Autumn' and 'Super Lady' - from his recently reissued 'Magnetic Eyes' oddity, but they're the tip of a very cool iceberg which takes in all manner of reel-rude yet sophisticated experiments beyond the peripheries of commonly known Soul or Electronic music. Early drum machines are accented with flair while synths lend a lick of futuristic colour and plugged-in tang to conventionally funky, blue arrangements which could have been dancefloor hits in another, parallel dimension (while some probably were floor-fillers in their own locale). There's joints like Spontaneous Overthrow's stoned and psychedelic lament 'All About Money' or Starship Commander Woo Woo's intergalactic epic 'Master Ship' that sound like your wildest fantasies come to life, and together with the outright weirdness of Deborah Washington's 'Shortest Lady' or The New Year's psycho-sexual Blues expressions on 'My Bleeding Wound', afford a much needed documentation of the electronic unknown, while muddying the waters of imposed narrative to brilliant, beguiling effect. Massively recommended!!!