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StreetSounds is a UK compilation label that specialised in urban and electronic club/dance music during the mid-1980s. It was well-known and influential, and its' releases are regarded as helping to popularise US funk, soul, electro and hip-hop of the era in the UK and Europe. StreetSounds was an offshoot of producer and promoter Morgan Khan's StreetWave label. The first Streetsounds release was the first edition of the label's core compilation series, 'StreetSounds 1' in late 1982. This regular compilation series famously proclaimed itself 'One hour packs of the latest dance packs'. They were composed of full-length versions of (mainly) black club and urban dance music. The tracks were licenced from the US.

Its releases, which started in 1982, were notable because of the Neville Brody-ishness of the graphic design of their sleeves. The label and its compilers such as Greg Wilson were instrumental in bringing to the mainstream audience and white kids in the suburbs, many of whom had never even come into contact with black people, the b-boy vibe, eventually leading to the birth of UK's hip hop scene.


The StreetSounds formula for success

The StreetSounds formula for compilations was quality track selection, and reacting quickly to trends with a frenetic release rate. The popularity of releases was assured by their perceived value-for-money by soul-boy fans of dance music. Khan revised the poor image of compilation albums at that time, by releasing material on good quality vinyl, without the then-usual over-compressed grooves, and always including full-length versions (i.e. disco 12" single length). In the early to mid-80's imported US dance music singles were expensive and not universally available in the UK, and their release on UK labels was slow and haphazard.

Influence and social significance

The run of the StreetSounds series coincided with, fed, and helped promote the rise of electronic dance music during the mid-80s, at a time when style-conscious young adults in the UK were looking for an alternative to rock, pop and post-punk music.

Khan later extended the formula and released other compilation series including jazz-funk, house and high energy genres. The Electro/Hip-Hop compilation series was without rival in its market sector, and proved particularly popular in the emerging UK breakdance scene. This series was a significant force in helping hip-hop music cross over from cult status to the mainstream in the UK. The label is regarded as iconic among the target audience of young adults who admired urban African-American culture listened to dance music, and attended clubs where this music was played and promoted during the 1980s.

Notable releases

Notable StreetSounds releases included the 'Philadelphia Story' box set, the 'SOLAR' Box Set, 'Love Ballads' box set, and 'Dance Decade' retrospective box set. 'The Artists' compilations, that collected representative tracks from specific artists, and 'Anthems' series (compilations of dance music classics) were also well-regarded. The Japanese instrumental group A.B.'s album called Deja Vu was released on the label, in 1983. As is common with record labels, the appearance of the StreetSounds logo was changed several times over the lifespan of the label.

The end of the original StreetSounds

The StreetSounds label went into liquidation in 1988, mainly as a result of large losses incurred by StreetScene, Khan's club music magazine, but perhaps also because of the label over-extending itself with its' increasing number of releases and compilation series.

After its' collapse, the StreetSounds label was dormant for some years. It has since been revived by Morgan Khan, and offers mainly reissues of back-catalogue material from the original StreetSounds incarnation.

The 2009 Revival

In April 2009 Streetsounds released a brand new Electro compilation through the Streetsounds website. 'Nu Electro Volume 1' features 20 tracks mixed by Freddy Fresh and Diplomat and the musical style returns to the electronic roots of the series rather than the Hip Hop style compilation that was released in 1988 as Electro 22.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "StreetSounds" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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