Colin Newman ‘Feigned Hearing’ 7″ single (Crammed Discs, CRAM13457)

Side A: Feigned Hearing [Edit] 3.30
Side B: I Can Hear Your… [Remix] 3.07

This delightful little single took two tracks from Colin Newman’s ‘Commercial Suicide’ album in some feint hope of contradicting the album’s title perhaps. The A side is certainly a cheery, light, keyboard constructed piece, beat-less through a complete absence of any percussion – you can’t help but feel its chances of success as a 45 were always likely to be limited given that lack of backbeat. But who knows what the reasoning was. It’s well documented in the mighty fine Wire tome, ‘Everybody Loves a History’, that the mid-’80s period saw Colin Newman opting out of the music industry rat-race by way of an extended trip to India. On returning, re-investigating some keyboard-based demos made prior to the trip, pairing up with new partners in both John/Sean Bonnar (musically) and Malka Spigel (musically and by way of marriage), the subsequent album, ‘Commercial Suicide’, was a strong, original work and cheerfully raised two fingers to any notions of commercial success by throwing away any attempts at tracing from the Wire template the previous albums ‘Not To’ and ‘A-Z’ had both clearly drawn upon. The resulting album was still clearly the work of Newman but shot through with a subtler, minimal method and instrumentally a fair remove from the more recognisably Wire-like guitar/bass/drums of ‘Not To’ in particular. 

Colin Newman 'Feigned Hearing' 7 inch single front cover design

^ Colin Newman ‘Feigned Hearing’ 7 inch single front cover design

On this single, ‘Feigned Hearing’ clocks in marginally shorter than its album source by near half a minute – its not mentioned at all on the sleeve or label that it is an edit, but the editing scissors get busy from the off, it doesn’t take much time to get to the opening vocals. Other than this though, its not radically different. Over on the flipside however, ‘I Can Hear Your…’ is noticeably re-arranged. The album version is quite brooding, fading in with its heartbeat like electronic rhythm pulse early on and building up from there. The single remix starts with vocals and cellos, being joined by keyboard pads, the rhythmic pulse coming in somewhat later, more prominent. ‘I Can Hear Your…’, although minimal and keyboard based like all of ‘Commercial Suicide’, is a piece you could easily imagine being used for Wire purposes.

Colin Newman 'Feigned Hearing' 7 inch single rear cover design

^ Colin Newman ‘Feigned Hearing’ 7 inch single rear cover design

It’s a pity that neither of these versions made it on to the CD version of ‘Commercial Suicide’ when it was re-released back in 2003, both seemingly only to be found on this 7″ to this day. Well worth seeking out though if you remain a fan of all things Colin Newman.

Colin Newman 'Feigned Hearing' 7 inch single A side label design

^ Colin Newman ‘Feigned Hearing’ 7 inch single A side label design

Colin Newman 'Feigned Hearing' 7 inch single B side label design

^ Colin Newman ‘Feigned Hearing’ 7 inch single B side label design

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