portions of this post originally appeared here
DJs Blank & Jones hail from Germany and have released several original productions and several compilations under their names. Today on The Hideaway, HERC will be taking us through the duo's so8os series.
For most collectors of Eighties music, there are a few rarities here but unlike a lot of other mix compilations, these tracks are from the original master tapes NOT vinyl rips. As with almost every club mix compilation there are mislabeled track or mix names. Originally released in 2009, the first set in the collection was re-released in 2011 with updated artwork (above) to reflect that the collection was indeed the first in an ongoing series: As of this writing there have been seventeen[!] different titles in the so8os series in five years including the eight volumes of the various artists compilations HERC will be featuring today and another nine volumes of specific artist compilations.
new to HERC artists: Sandra (this German legend is the focus of her own double disc so8os collection) and The Men.
The first 3CD set in the series establishes the trend for the series: Disc 1 is a non-stop mix of some of the tracks that populate Discs 2 and 3. Due to rights and clearance issues, digital editions in the so8os series are abbreviated versions of Discs 2 and 3; the Disc 1 mix has also been omitted but the boys sometimes throw in an exclusive digital-only remix of a song. Each set is still in print and easy to find as of this writing.
new to HERC artists: Endgames, Matia Bazar, Kissing The Pink, The Blue Nile and Fra Lippo Lippi
Another thing to notice about many of the individual discs in the series is they run longer than the 80 minute standard with many coming it at over 85 minutes and some coming in just under 90 minutes! For those of us making disc back-ups (or recreating those 90 minute mixtapes we used to make), 800MB blanks are required and can be had online at a slight premium in price with little effort.
new to HERC artists: Jeanne Mas, Hubert Kah (Like Sandra, Hubert is focus of a two disc so8os collection) and Savage Progress [Due to lack of Spotify matches on tracks from here on out, there will not be any further playlists in this post.]
new to HERC artists: Mike Francis, Gazebo, Ivan, Hitlist, Act and Den Harrow
new to HERC artists: William Pitt, Humpe & Humpe, Beautiful Ballet, Ryan Paris, Fake, Fun Fun, Deacon Blue, Liasons Dangereuses and Rheingold
new to HERC artists: Matt Bianco, Mandy Smith (hers is one Classic Pop's Top 50 12"s of the 1980s), Purple Schulz & Die Neue Heimat, I Start Counting and Sharpe & Numan
Some copies of so8os 7 have "Ibiza" on the cover as well and the set has more artists and songs unfamiliar to HERC than any other in the series thus far. HERC knows these artists: Kano, Lime, Wham!, Patrick Cowley, Hugh Masekela, Carly Simon, Dennis Edwards and Art of Noise.
Rather than trying to secure the necessary rights and clearances to include songs in a mix, our boys Blank & Jones gave us three full unmixed discs with so8os 8. While HERC is thrilled with the inclusion of The Monogamy Mix of George Michael's "I Want Your Sex", the Dance Mix of "Pop Goes The World" by Men Without Hats and The Midtown Mix of "Right On Track" by The Breakfast Club, he wonders how dreck from the likes of Tiffany and Starship made the cut. Has the bottom of the barrel been scraped? New to HERC artists: Then Jericho, Marietta and Space Monkey.
Bottom Line: Blank & Jones' so8os series offers something for everyone whether you're an obsessive Eighties dance music collector or new to the 80s compilation scene. The sound quality is superior and although some are claiming a bit of brickwalling going on in latter issues HERC hasn't heard it - when he plays these discs, he plays them loud! All things considered, so8os is an essential purchase.
Diving Deeper: Here are the covers from the nine single artists compilations in the so8os series, some of which contain vinyl transfers: