Jean Karakos founded Celluloid Records in Paris in the late seventies but it wasn’t until he started releasing bass player/producer Bill Laswell’s work in the early eighties that it got off the ground. This two disc, 26 track retrospective (the download adds a further five including a rare Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles piece Doriella Du Fontaine) reveals Celluloid to have been an extremely eclectic and forward thinking label. The material ranges from post punk to electro, dub, world and hip-hop and includes hits such as Timezone’s World Destruction featuring John Lydon and Afrika Bambaataa. The sound varies as well but there is naturally a strong eighties feel as a result of the synths, drum machines and for that matter production styles that were popular at the time. Only the african artists manage to escape this and have not dated so obviously as a result, or is it that they are merely making better music?
The second disc serves up some interesting musical morsels including an instrumental credited to Ginger Baker called Dust To Dust and early examples of hip hop that serve to illustrate how much the genre has changed in the last 25 years. There is plenty to explore here especially for those who enjoy a good drum machine, the drum sounds on here have pretty much disappeared from music today but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! This may not be the view of those who weren’t there the first time however and this compilation offers a fascinating insight into the era, one that has shown some signs of revival already but could come back stronger if enough people get to hear this.