Compiled by dance music legend Terry Farley, last year’s Acid Rain compilation hit the spot by using an open minded approach to the track list. Each sub-genre of house music under the telescope (’85-91) was comprehensively represented; twisted instrumental acid, joyous gospel tinged piano tracks, rap led hip-house, soulful black/gay disco updates, and a bunch of electronic sex tracks. Instead of the tried and tested music contained on hundreds of other compilations, Farley – a man who has forgotten more tracks than we’ll ever hear – dug much deeper.

Acid Thunder follows on from it – same curator, same era of dance music, fifty-nine tracks over five CDs, expertly re-mastered, many of which have been out of print for years and again, only a minimal nod to those rinsed out classics. The previous compilation showcased the TRAX label which in turn led to a preference for a tougher edge, whereas this time it’s the D.J International imprint under the spotlight – plus another of the CDs is compiled as a dedication to the late great Frankie Knuckles – so this collection is a much less aggressive journey.

Of course, many of these tracks pinpoint a specific time. Some of the tunes here are rudimentary to say the least; no Pro-Tools, a “cut” was literally a cut in the tape used to record, and these rugged edges were what made it such an anarchic, DIY, punk-like thrill. During the elapsed thirty years, many of the sounds of Acid Thunder have made a return; the sleek warmth of “It’s You” by E.S.P is everything with a Joe Goddard writing credit on it, Marshall Jefferson’s “Open Your Eyes” is the originator of sleek analogue 808 soul and the dark atmospherics emulated by the likes of Caribou or SBTRKT. Plus, European labels such as Kompakt, Ed Banger, and Kitsune all have direct reference points dating back to this era.

It’s not just them. Listen to the minimal tribalism of “Let There Be House” by Bobby Konders, and you hear a Boys Noise track. Byron Stingley’s camp diva delivery on Ragtyme’s “I Can’t Stay Away” could be a new Sam Smith hit, while “Cut by a Laser” by Crystalline could be from a plethora of Parisian Italo revivalists.

A prime example of how timeless these tracks are can be heard in “This Brutal House” by Nitro Deluxe, here in a slightly preposterous 14 minute version. It’s 28 years old, but its power hasn’t diminished in the slightest – listen to a Daniel Avery house workout or a Disclosure pop track, and the lineage leads to this. The sample always told us that house music will never die, and this compilation is testament to that. We’ve lived with house music throughout its existence in the UK – remember, Steve Silk Hurley and Farley Jackmaster Funk both had Top 10 hits back in ’86, the former hitting number one with “Jack your Body”, a track that sounded genuinely freaky when it was played on the radio at the time. So, is this compilation even necessary?

The answer is of course yes. Even though the majority of dance music genres were born there, there’s is a historical lack of understanding of dance music in the ‘States (Jesus Jones being classed as acid house for example). So many people there and in other Countries where the dance music ‘phenomenon’ is a relatively new one will be hearing these tracks for the first time. The ‘States has such a rich history of electronic music that it’s ridiculous to even consider listing it, but it took a bunch of European button pressers (Guetta, Calvin Harris, Avicii etc all) who removed the funk of Chicago, the Moto-Soul of Detroit to dumb it down to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Although this is a travesty, if a bunch of people decide to look beyond the latest Martin Garrix track to go back to the source, then that’s a great thing – and Acid Thunder is the perfect way to do it.

9/10