Bauhaus – ‘Shadow of Light’ UK VHS cassette (Kace International, KIP 2 006 D, 1983)

October 28th, 2018

This is the original issue of this VHS cassette that I bought when it was first released in late 1983. That year had been quite momentous for Bauhaus of course with their final album, tour and split and they had gained a level of popularity that they had been working towards for some time. As David J infamously opined in a contemporary interview, with ‘Spirit’ they had knocked on the door of recognition, with ‘Ziggy Stardust’ they decided that it was time to boot it in. There’s no doubt that part of the appeal was their visual edge and the promo videos were all part of this (even if at the time in the UK, it was never easy to actually see these with any regularity).

Bauhaus 'Shadow of Light' front cover design

^ Bauhaus ‘Shadow of Light’ front cover design

So, for me, this video was a big deal. Not least the price – this was was still relatively early days of video releases and I can recall that this video cost something in the region of £20+, which was pretty astronomical compared to the budget for LPs and 45s I had – but such was my fixation with the band at the time, and the near mythical status of some of the videos, that it had to be done. ‘Mask’ for example had been subject of an article about its making by the production company, Standard Pictures, in the NME in June 1982, focusing on how they conjured a pseudo-horror clip in a low-budget fashion filming at night in a disused location. With only three television channels in the UK at the time, it had never been aired, so it just had to be seen by this means, along with the infamous footage from the Old Vic theatre (where their fans had ripped up seating, much to the outrage of the venue).

Bauhaus 'Shadow of Light' rear cover design

^ Bauhaus ‘Shadow of Light’ rear cover design

A mixture of their promo clips and footage from that gig, it is of its time and is on the short side but captures the bands aesthetic as it progresses. The ‘performance’ promo videos of ‘Telegram Sam’, ‘Spirit’ and ‘Ziggy Stardust’ show an increasing degree of polish. ‘Mask’ is quite primitive in retrospect, bigger on ideas than execution, though you can forgive that given the miniscule budget available, while by the time of ‘She’s in Parties’ the budget has been upped a good bit and it shows.

Bauhaus 'Shadow of Light' and 'Archive spines

^ Bauhaus ‘Shadow of Light’ and ‘Archive spines

The live performances from the Old Vic are quite something and capture Bauhaus in the finest of form – only four, but highly charged in the case of Rosegarden Funeral of Sores and In the Flatfield, more of this footage would emerge later on the ‘Archive’ video, but that is another story…

Bauhaus 'Shadow of Light' front cover design

^ Bauhaus ‘Shadow of Light’ front cover design

There have been quite a number of video cassette issues of this on various labels, a later Beggars Banquet release would swop the colourway on the front cover from red to purple. Both ‘Shadow of Light’ and ‘Archive’ would eventually be paired together for a DVD release in 2005.

Bauhaus 'Shadow of Light' rear cover design

^ Bauhaus ‘Shadow of Light’ rear cover design

Bauhaus 'Shadow of Light' label design

^ Bauhaus ‘Shadow of Light’ label design

Wire – ‘Life In The Manscape’ US CD single (Enigma/Mute, 7 75553-2 / MUTE 107, 1990)

September 25th, 2018

‘Life In The Manscape’ turned out to be the one and only single release from Wire’s fan-testing ‘Manscape’ album, a period where the band’s insistence on devotion to process (in this case MIDI/computer-based recording and editing) dragged them well out of shape from the nominal ‘beat combo’ of the preceding Mute releases. (And even those releases had already had their fair share of playing second fiddle to the technology…) The album was viewed by Wire as their ‘1990’ album, a deliberate change in direction and methodology. I personally have a lot of time for it, but the band themselves have long since distanced themselves from it and many’s the fan who have either joined them in that view or would hope for some 21st century remix of it to sort it out.

Wire - Life in the Manscape US CD front insert design

^ Wire – Life in the Manscape US CD front insert design

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Propaganda – ‘The Nine Lives of Dr Mabuse’ cassette single (ZTT, CTIS101, 1984)

March 27th, 2018

An incarnation of Propaganda recently reactivated and performed ‘A Secret Wish’ in full at a couple of sold out shows at ‘The Garage’ in London, under the monicker of xPropaganda. I never thought I would get a chance to hear this album performed live, so it was quite the event, one that simply had to be attended if at all possible. Many highlights, inevitably, ‘Dr Mabuse’ chief amongst them. What better way to celebrate the re-emergence than to take a look back at the ‘singlette’ edition (as ZTT were wont to call their cassettes) of their debut single…

Propaganda - The Nine Lives of Dr Mabuse - cassette single inlay and case - front

^ Propaganda – The Nine Lives of Dr Mabuse – cassette single inlay and case – front

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Colin Newman, ‘Not To’ UK LP (4AD CAD201, 1982)

November 29th, 2017

Early 1982 saw Colin Newman’s third solo album ‘Not To’ revisit a good number of songs that Wire had first performed live but never recorded as studio takes, in equal turns sating a curiosity but also further underlining Wire’s extinct status. ‘Not To’ dusted off and updated ‘Lorries’, ‘We Meet Under Tables’, ‘Safe’, ‘5/10’ and ‘Remove for Improvement’, all of which had seen live Wire outings previously (and would be documented in rough, live recordings too – initially in 1981 on ‘Document and Eyewitness’, then many years later the remainder on ‘Turns and Strokes’). (There is also ‘You, Me And Happy’, though any Wire recording of this seems to be unheard of.)

Now, it was not only Colin Newman re-purposing this source material – Gilbert & Lewis and their ‘Dome’ project also made use of ‘And Then…’ on ‘Dome 1’ and ‘Ritual View’ on ‘Dome 2’, while Colin Newman himself had already revisited ‘Inventory’ for his initial solo album, 1980’s ‘A – Z’. ‘Alone’ from that same LP shares writing credits of Newman/Lewis, so a Wire connection there too perhaps.

Colin Newman 'Not To' LP front cover design

^ Colin Newman ‘Not To’ LP front cover design

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Tiger Lily ‘Monkey Jive’ UK 7″ single (Dead Good Records, DEAD11, 1980)

August 31st, 2017

As I pen this piece, Ultravox! have enjoyed a moment in the sun once more, with the issue of the ‘Island Years’ CD box set gathering their three Island-era LPs (and rarities) and coloured vinyl reissues of their first three long players. So, it is as good a time as any to look back on the proto-Ultravox! single recorded by Tigerlily, namely ‘Monkey Jive’ / ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’, the particular version featured here dating from October 1980. (A small piece about it in Smash Hits of the era can be viewed here.

Tiger Lily 'Monkey Jive' UK 7 inch single front cover

^ Tiger Lily ‘Monkey Jive’ UK 7 inch single front cover

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