Does the world really need another Factory records compilation? At this point, the Mancunian label has been the subject of more than its fair share of nostalgic rehashing. That being said, the label's catalog runs deep, with an influence that's had a lasting effect on both sides of the Atlantic (and beyond). Nowhere was this influence more felt than on the post-disco '80s dancefloor, where Factory's cutting-edge singles stood out from the rest with their unique production (guided by the likes of Martin Hannett, Bemusic, DoJo, and Arthur Baker), cool aesthetics, and smart lyrics. Fac. Dance, the latest compilation to honor the label, assembles 24 of these cuts to make an essential release for anyone interested in the fertile moment between disco and house.
The compilation starts off strong with Section 25's "Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix)" setting the tone. A rare b-side version, the megamix extends the song to eight minutes by accentuating the motorik rhythm with backwards segments, hypnotic banks of synthesizers, and dub sound effects. From there, it's pretty much a grab bag of quality material, and, yes, some of it has been compiled before: Quando Quango is represented, as is 52nd Street, and A Certain Ratio. Yet Fac. Dance manages to balance out the more well-known material—like Quando Quango's "Love Tempo" and 52nd Street's "Express"—with tracks like A Certain Ratio's darkly funky "Knife Slits Water (12" Mix)," Quando Quango's chugging "Atom Rock (NYC Mix)," and Jellybean's "reconstruction remix" of 52nd Street's "Cool as Ice."
Fac. Dance isn't all dancefloor fire. Included among the peak-time jams is a fair assortment of mellower material. Of these, Durutti Column's "For Belgian Friends" stands out. Taken from Factory's 1980 compilation A Factory Quartet, the track is a beautiful and breezy moment that wouldn't be out of place on an early José Padilla mixtape. Similarly, X-O-Dus' 1979 roots reggae b-side, "See Them A' Come," moves the compilation further away from prime time and into downright stoned territory. The result is a release that's broad in scope but that feels focused due to the sheer quality of the material.