[Collection] – ‘1979: Post-Punk’ Box Set

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1979

(This stream is a 1-hour sampler of the full box set.  Full streams and download below.)

I originally started Musicophilia mostly to share the box set of post-punk music from 1981 that I’d made in 2004.  Those nine mixes, recently collected in full as the The Complete ‘1981’, have consistently remained the most listened-to of the blog’s near decade run, along with other post-punk sets like ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook’ series and the ‘No Heroes’ collection.  That makes sense, because post-punk is seemingly a light that never goes out, and it’s really no surprise that in many ways it still sounds new in 2017: a big part of the aim of post-punk music was to make the future finally happen.  And so, inspired by the fact that ‘1981‘ continues to find open ears, I began revisiting post-punk, focusing in on the year that first made me realize while it doesn’t get the “history of rock” attention of hippies or punks, post-punk had been a phenomenon that was as significant as any in popular music.  The result is that I’ve finally made something I’ve wanted to make for all these years, a proper box-set scale follow-up to ‘1981: ‘1979: Post-Punk‘.  It’s seven all-new mixes, featuring 112 artists and groups, totaling about eight hours of the wide-reaching, barrier-breaking, future-shaping sounds that got Musicophilia started.

Having spent the intervening years since issuing ‘1981‘ exploring via Musicophilia the 1970s’ endless musical riches, maybe post-punk doesn’t seem quite as ex nihilo to me at age 37 as it did when I was 23.  But it’s certainly no less incredible, and maybe even more so, when you see the ways in which post-punk was really less about being after “punk” and more about being post-everything and bringing it all to bear.   This is music that freely and voraciously pulled dozens of strands of sound from its past (garage rock, Krautrock, funk, jazz, musique concrete, ska), and the literal wide world of its present (hip-hop, sampling, disco, Latin musics, dub), and knitted them all together; while simultaneously democratizing the means of production and distribution.  From all this it created the future it imagined, then and there.  We think of our present “streaming age” as having democratized listening, with everything available to everyone everywhere; and hopefully our tastes are less beholden to genre, time, or place in ways that allow us to see and make more and more interconnections.  But the post-punks got there first.

I originally made ‘1981‘ because that seemed the year of peak post-punk fecundity, the maximum expansion of its sounds, styles, and energy before it all inevitably had to cool down (though post-punk-rooted artist aged much more gracefully than their rock forebears, see ‘The Dawning’ and ‘Evensong’).  1979 isn’t quite so overgrown with sheer diversity and quantity, but it’s got the quality in spades.  Post-punk might have been ‘born’ in ’78, when all the fomenting strands began to coalesce.  But 1979 seems like the year the spark of punk fully became the post-punk wildfire.   Many of the most well-loved and iconic albums of post-punk were issued in ’79: ‘Fear of Music,’ ‘Entertainment,’ ‘The Raincoats,’ ‘Y,’ ‘Unknown Pleasures,’ ‘Cut,’ ‘Metal Box,’ ‘The B-52’s,’ ‘Quiet Life,’ ‘Replicas,’ ‘Specials,’ and on and on, and those artists are well represented.  But ’79 was already generating remarkable breadth, as many more nascent and less well-known groups were also making incredible music, and a lot of them are here, too. As with ‘1981,’ the gap between the legendary and the mostly forgotten is strikingly non-existent.

The scope of this set isn’t quiet as broad as ‘1981,’ substantially because I don’t have months to dedicate to searching, buying, sequencing, re-sequencing (ad nauseum), etc.  this time around.  But I hope ‘1979‘ can add more fuel to the undying fire of post-punk rediscovery, just like ‘1981,’ because the music is just as great.  Hopefully there’s just enough here to help foster a healthy obsession.  Each mix is sonically themed in a similar pattern to ‘1981,’ with Fire, Ice, Brain, Amplifier, Computer, Convertible, and Cassette covering a large swath of the spectrum of post-punk.  (And if you know anyone who is totally new to post-punk, I put together a one-hour sampler from the set, to get them hooked).  You can check out the box set booklet here, with artwork for each mix and the full track listings; and here is the full artist list:

A Certain Ratio · Adam & The Ants · Alternative TV · Animals & Men · Au Pairs · Bauhaus · The Blackouts · Blondie · The Boys Next Door · The B-52’s · The Beat · David Bowie · British Standard Unit · Buzzcocks · Cabaret Voltaire · James Chance & The Contortions · Chrisma · Chrome · The Clash · Comsat Angels · Elvis Costello & The Attractions · The Cramps · Crass · Cult Hero · The Cure · Holger Czukay · The dB’s · Delta 5 · Devo · Door & The Window · The Durutti Column · Echo & The Bunnymen · The Embarrassment · Essendon Airport · Essential Logic · Fad Gadget · Marianne Faithful · The Fall · Family Fodder · The Feelies · The Flying Lizards · John Foxx · Frank Sumatra · Gang of Four · Gina X Performance · Glaxo Babies · Half Japanese · The Homosexuals · The Human League · Richard Hell & The Voidoids · Industry · Joe Jackson · The Jam · Japan · Josef K · Joy Division · Killing Joke · L Voag · Lizard · M · Magazine · Material · Lizzy Mercier Descloux · Monochrome Set · Anthony Moore · Martha & The Muffins · The Mekons · Metal Urbain · Mo-Dettes · New Musik · Noh Mercy · Gary Numan · The Only Ones · Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark · P-Model · Pere Ubu · Plastics · Iggy Pop · The Pop Group · Pylon · The Raincoats · Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers · Rosa Yemen · Scritti Politti · The Selecter · Simple Minds · Siouxsie & The Banshees · The Slits · Patti Smith Group · The Soft Boys · The Sound · The Specials · Spherical Objects · Squeeze · The Static · Walter Stedding · Suicide · Swell Maps · Talking Heads · The Teardrop Explodes · Theoretical Girls · This Heat · Throbbing Gristle · Urinals · Vice Versa · Voigt 465 · Wipers · Wire · XTC · The Years · Yellow Magic Orchestra · Young Marble Giants

Most importantly, you can stream the series at Musicophilia’s Mixcloud page or below, and download the full set at the link below.  Also, I strongly suggest you check out the ‘Le Monde du Funk‘ series (six volumes so far) to explore another major area of musical energy (and a huge inspiration for post-punk) from the 70s  through the 80s, with more to come.  As always, I implore you: please buy as much of this music as you can, to support the artists who made it, and the labels that have kept a lot of it in print, so that it’ll continue to be available and continue to inspire.  I hope you’ll enjoy the music, and pass this post along to anyone who loves this music, or is about to.

Download just the Tracklists & Artwork | Download the ‘1979: Post-Punk’ Box Set (903MB)

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20 thoughts on “[Collection] – ‘1979: Post-Punk’ Box Set

  1. Thank you for listening, and for saying hello! It’s been really great to be back to making mixes–probably more (and better, in my opinion) than in 2008. Thanks!

  2. Is it really 14/15 years since you sent us the boxset of 1981 – still one of most treasured collections?! We’re so glad you’ve done the mixes since and these ones for 1979 are, as usual, thoughtful and great! Massive props from Australia

  3. Thank you! October 2004 was the run of 50 I put out just in my city of the time. Looks like it was March or 2005 when I started sending them out on ILM. Started putting it all together in early 2004. And a 3-disc version of ‘1979’ back in 2003 that I just gave to a few friends!

  4. Whoa! Just saw where you’re writing from–Cyclic Defrost, the awesome music and arts magazine? You sent me a bunch of issues, and it was amazing that something like that existed (especially with federal arts support). Hi! Great to hear from you!!

  5. Dig your mixtapes, they’re nicely sequenced and carefully curated. A question concerning your last one, the 1979 post punk series: is there a link to downloading files containing the individual mp3s, like the 1981 Briefcase -cause it doesn’t seem to be one this time?

  6. Hi Gus–sorry but no. ‘1981’ was originally single files on CD-Rs, so I kept it that way, but I’ve otherwise always done mixed mp3s for mixes, to control the segues/flow, and also because I feel it’s more ethical and more clearly not competing with commercial sales but trying to cause sales for the artists–more like a DJ set or a podcast. The tracklists contain start times for every track; or the streaming option on Mixcloud will announce artist/track as it plays. Thanks!

  7. I’d never say never! One isn’t in the works at present, and 79 and 81 always stood out to me re: post-punk. But 78-81 are all crucial years. If you’d like more now, I’d highly recommend the several “post-post-punk” mixes, the ‘Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook’ series, and the “No Heroes” 3LP set. Thanks!

  8. Thanks for this, another great mix. Are we the same person? We seem to have very similar tastes in music. Despite my advancing years, I’m trying to be down with the kids and so created a Spotify playlist of every song I ever liked, ever. (It’s a bit of an ongoing project.) Anyway, thanks again; enjoy life.

  9. I can’t wait to get stuck into this. Since my mate pointed me in the direction of this page it’s become my favourite place on t’internet. I love the 1981 mixes and have been hoping for 1979,
    Thanks a million my friend.

  10. Thanks Stephen–glad you’re enjoying the mixes. And post-punk is just a portion of all that was going on at this time–look around the blog and I think you’ll find a lot to explore.

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