Various Funky Nassau: The Compass Point Story 1980-1986

During the early ’80s, the marketing term "world music” was coined to enable a number of next-generation styles of pop music from around the world to reach an aggregate audience. While the term is mostly untenable as a realistic musical description, the scene at Compass Point Studios in Nassau was one that inspired visions of global musical cooperation. Founded by then Island Records boss Chris Blackwell in 1977, it was a destination for the top acts in the world, such as the Rolling Stones and AC/DC. Its legacy is of a pop/new wave/reggae/funk hybrid articulated in different ways through the music of Talking Heads, Grace Jones and Ian Dury, all of whom are represented on this collection. This disc leans on the production brilliance of Sly and Robbie, whose mechanised soul drank deeply from Jamaican sources but married them to universal pop hooks. Sly Dunbar’s trademark syndrums, so artificial-sounding yet so African at the same time, are key elements on Jones’s "My Jamaican Guy,” Dunbar’s "River Niger” and "Don’t Stop The Music” by his and Robbie’s project, Bits and Pieces. While there are obvious absences in the track list (no Black Uhuru?), this compilation tells the story of the international flavour of the studio. This is where a Jamaican band with an African synth player (Wally Badarou) could cut records with a Spanish DJ (Guy Cuevas) or a French new wave chanteuse (Lizzy Mercier Descloux), and that simply had never happened before. (Strut)