Sunday, 4 August 2013

Cassette experiment day 124 - The Art of Noise 'In Visible Silence'

There are some artists (only a very small number I would suggest) that you can listen to no matter what your mood.

My ‘regardless of mood’ list is pretty much restricted to the following;

·         Ken Boothe
·         Al Green
·         Teenage Fanclub
·         Patsy Cline
·         Stevie Wonder

Nina Simone only narrowly misses out because the quality of some of her recordings is woefully poor and because, on around 1% of days, ‘Sinner man’ and ‘See-Line woman’ (or ‘Sea Lion Woman’ if you prefer) just become a little too repetitive for me.

I listened to our cassette of the day, ‘In Visible Silence’ by The Art of Noise back in the cassette experiment’s early stages. At the time I was neither in the mood to listen to or write about it, so I popped it back on the pile and moved on.

Last night, however, I picked it up again, for a late night drive through the meandering revellers in Durham and heard it in a completely different light (if it’s technically possible to hear something in a different light).

Like all music that was achingly modern in the 1980s it now has a tendency to sound achingly dated, but there’s no doubting its significance and, in some places at least, its ground-breaking brilliance.

‘Peter Gunn’, the very 1986 remake of Duane Eddy’s classic, featuring Duane himself, is probably the best known of the tracks here and it’s also probably the album’s most unrepresentative.

Most of the quality to be found exists on side 1, with the opening track ‘Opus’ being a clever repetitive scene-setting aperitif for the likes of the pre Max Headroom makeover version of ‘Paranoimia’* and the glorious ‘Legs’.

The closing track on side 1, ‘Backbeat’ is a bit of a hidden treasure too, but not to be confused with the closing track on side 2, ‘Beatback’ which is fairly unremarkable in comparison.

I sometimes worry that in their less inspiring moments The Art of Noise seem to be more fixated on ‘The Art’ than the ‘Noise’, but when they’re at their best they’re unique – and they’re unique quite a few times on this, which, let’s not forget is only their second album.

Label – China Records

Year – 1986

* years ahead of Peter Andre’s ‘Insania’ please note

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