Various Artists - The Recommended Sampler 1982 - 25th Anniversary Edition 2 x CDs
The early 1980s seemingly weren't a great time for creative music. Punk had come, swept away all the old (both good and bad - they didn't care!) and had mostly self-destructed by then, leaving the generally less interesting 'new wave' and all its subsets, all of which seemed to be made to get people to dress up 'creatively' and go out, snort cocaine and dance ('punk disco', my wife called it then). While there *were* a few exciting signs if you knew where to look for it, for the most part the collision of punk and post-punk with various strands and creative fervor (the downtown sound, post-rock, mathrock, etc. etc. etc.) which have, in my opinion, been the core of 'progressive music' for 20 some years now hadn't quite happened yet. When this album appeared in 1982, it really was a musically impressive and influencial document, especially for the 'post-progressive' crowd who who were hoping to find something new and exciting; here was two hours worth of it, all of it really great and almost all of it unreleased elsewhere! Well, now it is 25 years later and things have changed tremendously and what was for me personally a bright light and an huge inspiration (and you can certainly hear a lot of the base and the basic elements of what I tried to turn Cuneiform into here), this is now a relic and a nostaglic listen. But a great one nonetheless. Nothing new has been added and much of the contents have been released on various CDs since, but here it is the way we remember it and it is still a great, great listen. Highly recommended.
"Recommended Records was set up in the late 1970s by Chris Cutler and Nick Hobbs - both then busy with Henry Cow - on the back of the worst possible business model imaginable: to collect and distribute music which, in Cutler’s judgement, was original, important or excellent - and otherwise generally unknown. No major labels, just releases by independents or artists themselves, with particular emphasis on ignored European releases. It was an interesting moment: punk and the new wave had unsettled the old certainties, major labels were floundering and a new generation was setting up its own channels of information and distribution. Out of this stimulating chaos, all sorts of innovations and alternative propositions emerged, especially outside the UK/US axis, which by then had become complacent and arrogant - because they had ‘invented’ rock and what else was there to know? Thus Recommended quickly became the principle source of information about a diverse new underground of innovative music that wasn’t jazz, rock, new wave, or anything quite. By 1982, Recommended was in its fourth year. The catalogue had expanded and the label was firmly established. A sampler seemed an obvious and necessary next step. Compiling extracts from existing releases would have been boring, so we asked the most interesting groups in our catalogue to record something new. The result was two hours of music released as a double LP in a hand silk-screened sleeve that was, as it turned out, a time capsule - a tidy slice taken across a fascinating forking of musical paths that captured a moment of growth that foresaw a variety of possible futures. 26 years on it has become a highly prized collectors item, not only because of the breadth and quality of the music it contains, but also because of its early geographical reach. A lot has changed in little more than a generation."-Chris Cutler
"A keystone reissue of an historic collection featuring: Faust (D), Art Bears (UK), The Black Sheep (NL), Robert Wyatt (UK), The Residents (USA), Henry Cow (UK), This Heat (UK), Art Zoyd (F), Univers Zero (B), Stormy Six (I), Aksak Maboul (B), Picchio Dal Pozzo (I), Decibel (MX), Goebbels and Harth (D), The Homosexuals (UK), The Work (UK), Amos and Sarah (UK), Ron Pate/Raudelunas (USA), Conventum (CAN), Hector Zazou, Joseph Racaille and Patrick Portella (F), The Muffins (USA), R. Stevie Moore (USA). Total Time: 2 hours."