I.A.O. - Phase III: Selected Recordings 1988-1995
Interesting one, this. I knew I.A.O. for their 1987 album, The Love Amps, a lost-to-time post (post)-punk/alt indie deep cut that was most notable to me for the mildly histrionic vocals and the slightly questionable song titles (Spine Cock, My Oral Adventures...?). This collection, however, suggests a volte-face you'd be forgiven for not seeing coming. Someone's dropped a pinger and said 'hello'. As a reinvention goes, it's an intriguing one, and like with those essential E.M.U and Brain Pilot comps from last year (if you haven't got those yet, sort it out), this collection goes someway to pouring light on another hidden corner of dance music evolution - though it's not that much like either of those. I think it says a lot for the current state of *popular* electronic music that this sounds so appealing now. It's naive, but explorative in its innocence, pressing the limits of understanding, technology, and it's joyous for it. It's at its most interesting when it's at the intersection between I.A.O.s past - namely on tracks like All Is Bliss when the vocals of old re-appear - and where they wanted to head. As the title would suggest, I.A.O. seemed to always have their eye on the future, testing new ground. Funny for us to be nostalgic about that now, but i'm glad this wasn't overlooked. Thoroughly enjoyable fare.
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