Release Date: Mar 20, 2012
Record label: Strut
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, Alternative Dance, Industrial Dance
This selection of unmixed tracks from graphic designer, DJ, and producer Trevor Jackson -- known more for his early-2000s Playgroup project than any of his many other activities -- is true to its title and subtitle. The title is taken from SPK's included 1983 single, a swift and battering industrial dance track that is emblematic of the compilation as a whole. Metal Dance indeed surveys industrial, post-punk, and EBM (electronic body music) with a handful of classics surrounded by numerous rarities.
Imagine a cold, bleak dystopia set to music. Now try dancing to it. Perhaps more than any other genre, ‘80s industrial rested upon a fundamental contradiction, in fact worked best at its most contradictory. It took years for stalwarts like Skinny Puppy and Ministry to fully drown out their synth-pop origins in onslaughts of noise and metal, while Einsturzende Neubauten and others followed a roughly opposite trajectory, beginning with ear-splitting experimentation, then becoming progressively more listener-friendly with each album.
Trevor Jackson was ahead of the game when it came to bringing 1980s influences back to dance music. With Metal Dance, he's yet to give up on that fertile (if almost harvested-to-exhaustion) decade, even as 90s nostalgia is well underway. But where Playgroup, and many of Jackson's other mixes and collections, mined the punk-gets-loose (or disco-toughens-up) side of the 80s, here he hammers us with two discs of martial mayhem and creepy crawling.
Talking on an American radio station in 1978, Kraftwerk's Ralf Hütter explained the relationship between man and machine that had resulted in their similarly named pivotal LP. "Well, the idea is really to be on the same level. That's why we call ourselves 'the man machine', which means the machines are not subservient to us and we are not the sounds of the machine, but it's some kind of equal relationship, or you might even say friendship between man and machine, and not opposed.