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Various Artists: Disco Not Disco: Post Punk, Electro & Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986

The third Disco Not Disco brings diminish­ing returns to the dance floor.
The third Disco Not Disco brings diminish­ing returns to the dance floor.

You can't quite peg that underwhelming 'meh' feeling this third Disco Not Disco compilation inspires to the economic law of diminishing returns, much less sequel-itis. The first installment of the series, curated by DJs Joey Negro and Sean P. in 2000, introduced a new generation to the spiny and rubbery outer reaches of disco-punk created by the likes of Ian Dury, Yoko Ono and space cowboy/frat-boy fave Steve Miller. It also brought to light the neglected works of avant-garde composer/discophile/AIDS victim Arthur Russell, whose sumptuous and inscrutable tracks ("Kiss Me Again," "Tell You Today") remain beatific some 30 years on. But Russell also illuminates why Disco Not Disco has scant relevance in 2008. In Vol. 1's wake, we've seen Gang of Four's re-formation and the ascent of 21st-­century groups like the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem, while the reissue cottage industry has snatched up the likes of Russell (some six discs' worth and counting) and any other negligible '78-'82 act who deployed "angular" guitars and stumbling basslines (Acute, Soul Jazz, Kill Rock Stars, etc.). Although Vol. 3 tracks from the likes of Delta 5, Konk, James White & the Blacks and Maximum Joy are serviceable, each band has had its own retrospective released in the intervening years. Hearing them as compiled here makes Disco Not Disco — much like the title itself — sound like a retread.

 
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