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Boomkat Product Review:
This incredible 10 CD Box Set has been one of the most anticipated releases of the year for us here and is nothing short of breathtaking - charting the first 6 years of Mute's existence through 128 seminal tracks that cover each and every A and B side released by the label in that time frame- plus a full double cd of previously unreleased material that's worthy of the price of admission alone. It's impossible to know where to start here - and the gorgeous 72 book that comes with the package offers an almost overwhelming wealth of information - a rare interview with elusive label-founder Daniel Miller, dozens of newspaper clippings, odd artefacts, record sleeves, posters and several essays - charting the immense legacy of one of the most successful and interesting independent record labels of all time with a startling attention to detail. The collection starts at the very beginning with Daniel Miller's own work under "The Normal" moniker, the brilliant "Warm Leatherette" and "T.V.O.D." setting the scene for a chain of events that by the early eighties had given this accidental record company two multi-platinum selling artists (Depeche Mode and Yazzoo), despite the fact that it never let go of its uncompromising aesthetic and insistence on fearless sonic evolution. Back in 1978 the idea of creating a record label that would specialise in electronic music was an absurd notion - guitars were the order of the day and the punk scene had little appetite for kids with synths. Hearing Daniel Miller describe the first time he saw Depeche Mode play in a tiny pub in Canning Town with three synths and a drum machine conjures a mental image that's totally at odds with the fact that by the late 1980's the band were playing to 100,000 people in Pasadena. Getting an understanding of just how serendipitous and unlikely the growth of Mute from a fledgling bedroom operation to one of the world's best known imprints is a process best undertaken with the music itself - early pieces from Fad Gadget, Daf, Boyd Rice's "Non", Smegma and Robert Rental slowly evolving into peerless pop music from Depeche, Yazzoo and The Assembly, while simultaneously cultivating the experimental wonders of Einsturzende Neubauten, The Birthday Party, Nick Cave and Bruce Gilbert. Going through the tracklisting here re-asserts the notion that Mute is nothing short of a national treasure - and with so many of the tracks here re-mastered and available on cd for the first time (not to mention the 20 bonus rarities included from the likes of Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode and Nick Cave) - "Mute Audio Documents" must surely rank as one of the most exciting collections of late 20th century independent music you're ever likely to own, and a must-have item for anyone with a deep interest in music generally. ESSENTIAL PURCHASE - ONLY A LIMITED NUMBER OF EDITIONS HAVE BEEN MADE!