Mantronix

That's My Beat

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As record-store bins began to collapse under the weight of a baffling bumper crop of various-artist compilations put together by everyday artists, free of mixing ("I've never heard of this fellow but I absolutely need two songs on here"), it was pleasantly surprising that room was left for an innovator like Kurtis Mantronik to take his own turn at the game. That's My Beat goes way back to the time when Mantronik was coming up as a young buck (most of these tracks were originally released prior to his debut, 1985's Mantronix: The Album), and it exemplifies the mixed bag of electro, disco, and rap that helped form the sound of New York during the early '80s. This might as well be the fifth volume of Tommy Boy's phenomenal Perfect Beats series. For a record to become popular with party people during this era, it didn't matter who made it and it didn't matter if it was slow or fast -- as long as it moved bodies, it got played. On this disc, a rather happy medium is found between scene standards (Yellow Magic Orchestra's kitschy but ever spectacular "Computer Games," the Art of Noise's concrete-bustin' "Beat Box," Funky Four Plus One's undeniably classic "That's the Joint") and less-popular but inspired choices (Machine's "There but for the Grace of God," Unlimited Touch's "I Hear the Music in the Streets," and Suzy-Q's "Get on up and Do It Again" are underground disco gems). While it's true that old jocks and younger trainspotters might groan at the availability of most of these tracks, those who are returning to this music or are finding it for the first time are in for a real good time.

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