January 28, 2010

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Bob Blank, The Blank Generation: Blank Tapes NYC 1975-1985
Strut Records, Feb. 2

More artifact than art, this compilation is a patchwork of hoary dance hits and misses as recorded by the parade of big- and small-timers who hired Blank’s (cheap, at the time) New York recording studio during the first 10 years of its existence. Funded by Blank’s success in the wake of his production of Jimmy Sabater’s “To Be With You” (one of the first 45 RPM, 12” disco records), the studio was the scene of some pretty odd jobs, many included here, such as Lydia Lunch’s “A Cruise to the Moon” (a bizarre vocal-less paste of ’60s James Bond, metal guitar and ballroom) and Mikki’s “Itching For Love,” the lead-in to which could have been the root inspiration of everything on Justice’s Cross album. If you’re thinking about Pulp Fiction, you’re right — plenty of love rollercoasters zooming around all over the place, but mind that the ’80s were dawning and peaking within this timeframe, as attested to by The Necessaries in their Thomas Dolby-ish single “State of Art.” While figuring out which songs could appear and which couldn’t, Blank’s legal department may have been hamstrung by copyrights, I don’t know nor really care to ask, but he has certainly pulled a Geraldo Rivera in emptying this vault (some names do jump out, including Gladys Knight and Sun Ra). B+Eric W. Saeger