Various Artists, Mutant Disco Volume #1

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A subtle discolation of the norm.

An expansion of a 1981 UK compilation (released in the newly disco-phobic US as Seize the Beat: Dance ZE Dance with a slightly different track listing), this distillation of the dialectical ZE philosophy most clearly evinced the label's eagerness to both honor and subvert disco's conventions. The LP celebrated two genuine dancefloor hits: Don Armando's 2nd Ave. Rhumba Band's “Deputy of Love,” a 1979 floor filler fronted by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band percussionist Don Armando Bonilla and sung by Fonda Rae, who'd crop up on several early ’80s proto-house cult jams; and “Bustin'Out” by Material with Nona Hendryx, combining hard rock guitar riffs, aggressive but recognizably disco-derived grooves from the experimental fusion band fronted by bassist Bill Laswell and keyboardist Michael Beinhorn (who'd both hit in 1983 with a similar hybrid: Herbie Hancock's “Rockit”), and a menacing performance by the former Labelle diva. The other 10 tracks are ZE singles and/or key album representations that live up to the original UK album's secondary title: A Subtle Discolation of the Norm.