Various Artists: ‘The Hacienda Classics’

Various Artists: 'The Hacienda Classics'


'Between 1987 and 1991, The Haçienda was the most exciting night out on the planet'

You know one thing Tony Wilson hated? Nostalgia. When The Haçienda was turned into swanky apartments he didn’t give a fuck. Move on. What’s next? That was his philosophy. The Haçienda was phenomenally important, but if you want to know about future-mapping, hedonistic clubbing right now, fly to Berlin and head for Panorama Bar rather than buying this.

However, if you can afford both, prepare for a 3-CD history lesson (re-released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Haçienda’s opening) that may well melt your brain. Compiled and mixed by New Order’s Peter Hook and Manc DJ/Haçienda veteran Phil Beckett, ‘The Haçienda Classics’ is the most authentic Haçienda overview that NME has ever heard (even the one wet fart, Alison Limerick’s ‘Where Love Lives’, was indisputably massive at the time), and E-ssential listening for any new ravers wanting to chart the journey from K-Klass to Klaxons.

Dance music is always at its best when it’s cheaply made, technically naive and sonically cavalier, and these late ’80s anthems glow white hot with a timeless energy and self-confidence. Tracks such as A Guy Called Gerald’s ‘Voodoo Ray’ and 808 State’s ‘Pacific State’ are the definition of the classic acid house sound of 1988 but, like today’s best indie-electro clubs, The Haçienda never stuck rigidly to one sound. True to this, ‘…Classics’ interweaves pivotal records from mutually sympathetic genres: Detroit techno benchmark ‘Strings Of Life’; Joe Smooth’s glorious vocal house anthem ‘Promised Land’; localised hip-hop classics from King Bee and Young MC; Kariya’s lung-bursting proto-rave choon ‘Baby Let Me Love You…’.

Even 20 years later, you can still feel – never mind hear – why, between 1987 and 1991, The Haçienda was the most exciting night out on the planet.

Tony Naylor