“The only reason why Holger Czukay’s Persian Love isn’t way higher on this list is because many people have already heard it, even if they couldn’t really tell you when or where, or who for that matter. It first came to me via Music + Rhythm (Peter Gabriel’s Womad compilation album that came our way in 1982). Exotic, sweetly melodic, modern — it instantly hooked me, and thus I had to know more, and there was a lot to know. Because, it turns out Holger Czukay came from an obscure German band called Can … and so on. One of those journeys that started small, but damned if didn’t lead me to a vast mansion of musical (and thus human) possibility: doors within doors within doors, and they all kept inviting me deeper, higher. And somewhere along the way, I got the back story on Persian Love itself – how Mr. Czukay constructed it around a fragment of song he’d recorded from shortwave radio. Like a ghost … out of ancient Persia.” (Philip Random)
Wherein Echo + the Bunnymen make it clear that they really are the greatest band in the world (for a few minutes anyway, live at the Royal Albert Hall in 1983), surfing all the powerful and angular waves of the confusing and psychedelic moment, taking them to places where gravity holds no sway. Which in the case of Do It Clean means, what the hell, why not throw in some Beatles, some James Brown, some Nat King Cole and Boney Maroni! Because once you’ve achieved a certain critical velocity, there are no borders anymore, no barricades, no lines between – it’s all just one superlative song.
“Wall of Voodoo being one of the first uniquely post-1970soutfits I ever threw in with — tight, unafraid of new technology, a little nasty, full of film noir shadows and surprises, even some laughs. And they could deliver live. Which is what happened in Vancouver’s Luv Affair, early 1982, one of the great shows of that or any year. They opened strong with a cover of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, and it all peaked maybe an hour later with Back In Flesh – a song about what happens when your arm gets smashed and your salary gets cut and the corporation’s boiling over … and everything else. Yeah, it sounds a bit like the B52s, I suppose, but what the hell’s wrong with that?” (Philip Random)
“There’s no point in trying to do justice to the universe expanding alien immensity that is the Sun Ra story with a few words. So I won’t bother trying. Just urge you to look into it, please, explore at least some of those extra-stellar regions. As for Nuclear War, I think it speaks well enough for itself. We’re f***ed if we allow for even its possibility in our stratagems. True in 1945, true in 1982, true forever to the ends of the time and space.” (Philip Random)
“Yes as a matter of fact, folk music did still matter in the 1980s, certainly in the hands of Richard (and sometimes Linda) Thompson. Because you just can’t argue with a song like Wall of Death, with pushing harder, faster, to the edge and beyond, working your momentum up until gravity’s no longer your master, just a thing to be played with straight up the wall of death (an amusement park thing in Britain, riding a motor vehicle in a circular pit until you get up enough momentum to defy gravity, pull stunts, get the crowd to roaring). Gravity will win in the end, of course, but that’s life, isn’t it? Not defined by where you end up, but all the crazy beautiful moves you pulled en route and the places they got you.” (Philip Random)
“Translator are one of those bands that time seems to have mostly forgotten. Which is a pity because their first album in particular is well worth forty minutes of anyone’s life. And Everywhere That I’m Not is pretty much perfect, the kind of pop nugget that shoulda-woulda-coulda been huge if the music biz of 1982 actually cared about quality, which it didn’t. I guess the cocaine was just too pure in those days.” (Philip Random)
“I don’t know why I never really dove in and listened to Tuxedomoon. Maybe the records were just too hard to find. As it is, Incubus found me in the early 80s via Best of Ralph, a compilation that went a long way toward turning essential parts of my brain and soul inside-out and sideways, all in the interest of driving home the point that the world wasn’t just stranger than I imagined, it was stranger than I could even begin to imagine imagining. Thanks, Ralph.” (Philip Random)
“It’s 1982 and Laurie Anderson, who no one I know has ever heard of, has suddenly painted a picture of the future, equal parts strange and beautiful, yet already haunted. The whole album‘s a gem but the title track deserves special mention for the way it delivers this future — all shopping malls, drive-in banks and every man for himself. And yodeling, hallelujah to that, and to the big science that makes it all possible — those cooling towers off the edge of town, higher than any church steeple ever towered, hissing and droning, liable to melt down and explode at any second.” (Philip Random)
Speaking of prolific, Bill Laswell‘s discography (whether working with Material or solo or any number of other configurations) goes magnitudes deeper and wider than the combined talents of some entire nations, with 1982’s Baselines being his first official solo effort. In the case of Upright Man, that meant laying down a funky, not too busy groove, then dropping in a few samples from the Old Testament to overall cool and mysterious effect.