Various: Street Jams: Electric Funk Parts 1-4

Rhino, 1995

Street Jams: Electric Funk Parts 1-4 cover

I found a series of compilations recently that puts Priority’s Electro Funk to shame. It’s Rhino’s Street Jams: Electric Funk. I even found a reasonably priced boxed set of parts 1-4 at my local record shop. These CDs clock in at over 70 minutes each. The cuts are classic ’80s electro, early underground dance music at its finest. For those of you who don’t know, electro was a short-lived Kraftwerk-inspired genre that formed the basis for modern techno, hip-hop, Miami bass, and countless other sub-genres.

Back to the compilation though—this series has many of the greats, including Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force, Cybotron (Juan Atkins), The Egyptian Lover, Channel One (Atkins again), Freestyle, and Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel. Plus there’s cuts like “Rockit” by Herbie Hancock, “When I Hear Music” by Debbie Deb, and “Let the Music Play” by Shannon. The tracks are full length and mastered at the correct speeds. There’s no cheesy studio mixing to cut off intros and outros. The liner notes are extensive, including photos of several artists. Two recently-produced megamixes are also included; they’re a little melodramatic, but they help hype up the material in the spirit of the era. Overall, if you want to know where modern electronic music is coming from, this is the series to check out.

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A few notes on this one: Shannon's "Let the Music Play" and Aleem's "Release Yourself" are edits of dub versions. The full dub of the former is on Club Epic Vol. 4 while the vocal is on Grand 12-Inches.

Some tracks on this compilation are album versions. For Newcleus 12-inches, check out Jam on This!: The Best of Newcleus. Longer versions of "Planet Rock" and "Play At Your Own Risk" are on The Tommy Boy Story Vol. 1. For 12-inch versions of Grandmixer D. ST, check out The Celluloid Years, also reviewed here.