Nov 21, 2012


Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-1984 DBL LP/Clear DBL LP/CD
Chocolate Industries/Numero 2012

We’re a good 10 months into this pressing ‘n all, but I’ve only withheld because I been in such a solo-donnybrook ‘bout how to address its majesty but proper. But then, as is usually the case ‘round here, I just tossed all the crumpled typing rags over one shoulder and went at it raw. What we got here might seem to some self-explanatory—maybe even obvious. To the rest of us (down here on Earth) this came as a total, wonderful surprise. I don’t wanna shortchange the history of soul music, but I had no idea they got down with Ike Yard and the early Chrome so hard! As much as the 70s and 80s are bloated with improbable methodological alliances (intentional or not); and even when one considers the proliferation of budget electronics and home studio gear; and the private press boom, whodathunk such a wealth lay under such huge shoulder pads?
Personal Space is really the gateway into this ultra-neurotic, twitchy, cockeyed subset of soul records and the PPU label (Peoples Potential Unlimited) a fleshier, meatier expansion thereof. (Imagery! Imagery! –Ed.) I say “ultra-neurotic” cuz, let’s face it: soul is really just shorthand for anxiety, insecurity, paranoia, and depression. Some of these cuts are for the dance floor (Jerry Green’s “I Finally Found the Love I Need,” or Starship Commander Woo Woo), but most are cold lampin’ inside a tangle of Brown Recluse spiderweb smoke (Spontaneous Overthrow, The New Year, Jeff Phelps). There were moments on the first couple spins where I’d think Timmy Thomas had picked up Factrix as a backing band. No kiddin’! But to wrap the whole package in the shells of minds and a bunch of stylistic shockery around a heart bumpin’ with anything other than solid songs would make this a sham. Don’t you worry; deliver they do. I suggest appending Guitar Red’s Hard Times to your session; his cut, “Disco from a Space Show”, is a scant peep down into his strobe-drunk basement galaxy.

I’m finna tackle a stackle of recent PPU releases nextly!

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