- As a native son who still lives in the city, I loathe how Manchester is currently mired in nostalgia. There is, as ever, exciting stuff going on here, but you'd hardly know it. Over the last few years, it is the city's harking back to the days of the Hacienda and Madchester—a heritage industry of films, books, deluxe reissues, reformed bands and revival club nights—that has made headlines.
Taking an historical interest in music is natural. But nostalgia distorts and simplifies, stifles discussion, inhibits an honest reaction. Ironically, it shuts off old music to new listeners. How do you form your own opinions about Joy Division after seeing Control? Or understand the Happy Mondays through their 2012 incarnation? To that extent, while FAC. DANCE 02—a second trawl through Factory Records' lesser-known dance music back-catalogue—might seem like just another manifestation of this self-mythologizing malaise, it has one distinct advantage. You come to the music fresh. It doesn't have all that recent cultural baggage.
With a few exceptions, such as Durutti Column, most of these acts remain unknown to all but Factory completists. Often with good reason. 52nd Street's electro-soul is an historical curio, but, like Royal Family & The Poor's dense, ragged art-funk, it hasn't aged well. Section 25's "Sakura," a melodica-garnished soup of dub, angular post-punk and polyrhythmic drumming, is, like Shark Vegas's tough, dated electronic pop (Bernard Sumner produced and plays guitar on "You Hurt Me"), primarily interesting because it illustrates that, for all New Order's genius, they weren't the only 1980's Factory act experimenting with that source material.
The still-astonishing ESG, the underrated A Certain Ratio, Latin-jazz outfit Kalima and the joyous proto-house post-go-go project Quando Quango help redress the balance, but perhaps Factory's most important legacy isn't musical, it's ideological. Factory Records was modernist, politically utopian, internationalist, feminist. The label not only established links between northern England and New York clubland, it released Sir Horatio's dub-reggae alongside Cheba Fadela's Algerian rai. Women were highly visible on its roster. 30 years later, that still seems radical. You can mimic its sounds, indulge in rose-tinted nostalgia, but Factory's true heirs are those who share that progressive agenda.
01. A Certain Ratio - The Fox
02. ESG - Moody
03. Minny Pops - Blue Roses
04. Thick Pigeon - Babcock + Wilcox
05. Biting Tongues - Meat Mask Separatist
06. Sir Horatio - Sommadub
07. X-O-Dus - Society
08. The Durutti Column - Self Portrait
09. Section 25 - Knew Noise
10. Shark Vegas - You Hurt Me
11. Fadela - N'sel Fik
12. Kalima - Land of Dreams
01. 52nd Street - Can't Afford (Unorganised Mix)
02. Nyam Nyam - Fate
03. A Certain Ratio - Lucinda
04. ESG - Your No Good
05. Swamp Children - Softly Saying Goodbye
06. Quando Quango - Go Exciting (12-inch mix)
07. Surprise - In Movimento
08. Anna Domino - Take That
09. The Wake - Host
10. Royal Family and the Poor - Vaneigem Mix
11. Section 25 - Sakura
12. Ad Infinitum - Telstar