Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Cassette experiment day 13 - Bill Nelson's Red Noise 'Sound on sound'

There aren’t many rock stars from Wakefield, (that’s a fact, it’s a thing we can’t deny) so it seems only right to treasure any that we have.

In 1979, Bill Nelson, formerly of 70s be-suited rock stars Be-Bop Deluxe unexpectedly released a bold, futuristic new wave (or ‘post-punk’ as I think it legally has to be referred to now) classic that sounds just as fresh and vibrant 34 years later.

Utopian and dystopian futures (two of my favourite kinds!) loom large with jerky, short tracks, six per side. ‘Furniture music’ is probably the best known, but many others are capable of reaching the same high standard. ‘Stop-Go-Stop’ and ‘Revolt into style’ are brilliant, but for me it’s the 100mph, slogan-upon-slogan-fest ‘Art – Empire – Industry’ that stands above everything else. Just when you think this track can’t get any better, in comes a robotic voice (one of my favourite things) and then one of the best track endings ever recorded. I love it when musicians have the confidence to end a track rather than just let it fade away.

Watch out too for references to the impending year of 1984.

At the time this album seemed like it was a million miles away from Be-Bop Deluxe, but with hindsight the natural progression now seems understandable and organic.

I recently placed this album just outside my favourite 50 – having listened to it again today (twice!) I’d be inclined to bump it up about 40 spaces.

This won’t be the last you hear of Bill Nelson in ‘the great 6 month cassette experiment’ – ‘Quit dreaming and get on the beam’ will be along in a few weeks.

Label – Harvest

Year - 1979

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