Various Artists

In The Beginning There Was Rhythm

Soul Jazz • 2001

Post-punk has been a mainstream genre for the past 20 years or so, thanks largely to the revivalist bands that harkened back to the sound that transformed the underground at the end of the seventies. Back then, post-industrial bands began to combine the dirty stuff of punk with the edgy stuff of funk or the groove of disco, resulting in music that demanded a different style of dance than pogo. It may all seem obvious now, but at the time it was something new for bands like Cabaret Voltaire to move away from stripped-down rock gestures towards drum machine beats and an increasing willingness to ditch guitars in favour of synthesisers. It was a time of transition, when new wave was not yet topping the charts, and very few of the bands on »In The Beginning There Was Rhythm« ever became stars in that sense. 23 Skidoo, A Certain Ratio, The Pop Group and The Slits were too scruffy for that—the latter, incidentally, being the only female band on the compilation and whose song gives it its title. Virtually all the artists represented were influential, albeit in different ways. Throbbing Gristle will go down in history as the quintessential industrial band, while The Human League, after splitting from their comrades-in-arms who went on to form Heaven 17, wrote themselves into the collective memory of the eighties with their hits. Others have proved remarkably long-lived, such as A Certain Ratio, whose new album was only released in April. The Slits have the last word, because: »Silence is a rhythm too«.