Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Discs 1 and 2: ‘Telekon’ (Vinyl 180, VIN180LP038, 2011)

We return once more to the intriguing story of the variations to Gary Numan’s ‘Telekon’ album in this post, by way of the lavish and unique ‘80/81’ box set from November 2011. I found this a quite tempting release at the time for reasons I can’t quite recall now, other than it was a pre-Christmas treat to myself – well, why wouldn’t you?!


The Box

Packaged in a sturdy, matt-silk finish black box with the familiar double red ‘Telekon’ bars, the 80/81 title is picked out in high-gloss spot varnish. May all be either tasteful high-tech minimalism or just a bit too plain for some, depending on your taste.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - front

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – front

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - rear

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – rear


Disc 1: ‘Telekon’ Disc 1

First of all, the headline news here – the mixes of the music contained on this release are the same as to be found on the 1998 ‘20th Anniversary Edition’ CD of ‘Telekon’. The Japanese mini-LP replica sleeve edition, which except for a very slightly revised running order is identical, has been discussed in a previous post on this blog. So, in some cases the mixes to be found on this vinyl edition are not the same as found on the original 1980 LP release. The most obvious differences are found as follows:

  • ‘Remember I Was Vapour’ – no longer has the synth solo (and extreme stereo panning left/right) of the original 1980 mix.
  • ‘The Joy Circuit’ – has noticeably different stereo picture on the intro in particular – violas panned more noticeably off to one side, for example.
  • ‘Remind Me To Smile’ – a different mix, though I must admit I can’t tell the difference…
  • ‘I Die: You Die’ – It is not listed as being any particular mix but it sounds to me to be the same mix as found on 1998’s ‘20th Anniversary’ CD edition. On the UK/US CD that was listed as ‘Alternate Version’. By the time that the Japanese mini-LP replica edition was released in 2004 it was listed as ‘Video Version’. Turns out it’s NOT the mix as used on the video, but it is slightly different from the regular single mix – e.g. the CR78 CompuRhythm drum machine is louder in the mix during the choruses than than found on the regular mix.

So, if you liked those differences from the 1998 edition and have been looking for it on vinyl, the Vinyl180 LP is the release to seek.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 1 - 'Telekon' sleeve front cover.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 1 – ‘Telekon’ sleeve front cover.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 1 - 'Telekon' sleeve rear cover.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 1 – ‘Telekon’ sleeve rear cover.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 1 - 'Telekon' inner sleeve front.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 1 – ‘Telekon’ inner sleeve front.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 1 - 'Telekon' inner sleeve rear.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 1 – ‘Telekon’ inner sleeve rear.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 1 - 'Telekon' label side 1.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 1 – ‘Telekon’ label side 1.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 1 - 'Telekon' label side 2.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 1 – ‘Telekon’ label side 2.

When it comes to the pressing and packaging, major differences to be found. Firstly, the pressing. Spreading the tracks over two records made it possible to include the two extra tracks in decent sound quality that historically had been added to the UK cassette edition back in 1980 but left off the vinyl LP, ‘We Are Glass’ and ‘I Die: You Die’ (though a different mix).

Like the cassette, ‘We Are Glass’ is to be found midway through the programming, at the end of side two of disc one.

Side 1:

  1. ‘This Wreckage’
  2. ‘The Aircrash Bureau’
  3. ‘Telekon’

Side 2:

  1. ‘Remind Me To Smile’
  2. ‘Sleep By Windows’
  3. ‘We Are Glass’

Apart from the front cover design, which is pretty much identical to the original other than printed with a matt finish, the sleeve is quite different. The rear is plain black with minimal typesetting for the titles. The inner cover includes a new type layout for the lyrics and personnel/instrumentation credits and now also includes sleeve notes courtesy of Steve Malins – the same as found on the 1998 ‘20th Anniversary Edition’ CD once more (with a slight edit to omit reference to the CD only extra tracks). Unfortunately, despite the fresh type layout, the same shortcoming has passed from the CD booklet by omitting the personnel credits for ‘We Are Glass’ and ‘I Die: You Die’ – which could easily have been included by consulting the back of each single’s picture sleeves for those wonderfully specific reference to Polymoogs, JP4s, ARP Pro-Soloists, CP30s and all that other good stuff. The label designs are unique to this Vinyl180 release, with a similar stylistic theme across all the discs in the box set.


Disc 2: ‘Telekon’ Disc 2

Starting with the sleeves, this second disc for the album is quite striking. It takes the photo originally found on the rear of the original album and plays around with it in Photoshop (normally a phrase I never like to hear when it comes to tinkering with old record sleeves!) and places it on a dark background. Works well! Like disc one, the inner sleeve carries on the sleeve notes from the CD and once again managed to omit the instrumentation credits for ‘I Die: You Die’.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 2 - 'Telekon' sleeve front cover.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 2 – ‘Telekon’ sleeve front cover.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 2 - 'Telekon' sleeve rear cover.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 2 – ‘Telekon’ sleeve rear cover.

As with disc one, the extra track in the form of ‘I Die: You Die’ is added strength the very end as the final track. As mentioned above, the mixes for two further tracks are unique on vinyl to this edition. (Note: As well as it’s inclusion in this box set, this vinyl edition was also released on its own, though in a gatefold sleeve, not the single sleeves found here.)

Side 1:

  1. ‘I’m An Agent’
  2. ‘I Dream Of Wires’
  3. ‘Remember I Was Vapour’

Side 2:

  1. ‘Please Push No More’
  2. ‘The Joy Circuit’
  3. ‘I Die: You Die’

That’s it for discs one and two of the box… next up, the vinyl debut for ‘Living Ornaments ‘81’.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 2 - 'Telekon' inner sleeve front.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 2 – ‘Telekon’ inner sleeve front.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 2 - 'Telekon' inner sleeve rear.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 2 – ‘Telekon’ inner sleeve rear.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 2 - 'Telekon' label side 1.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 2 – ‘Telekon’ label side 1.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 2 - 'Telekon' label side 2.

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 2 – ‘Telekon’ label side 2.

One Response to “Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Discs 1 and 2: ‘Telekon’ (Vinyl 180, VIN180LP038, 2011)”

  1. Tasteful use of spot varnish ennobles all kinds of minimalism to a higher level. No apologies needed. But Claudia Brücken proved that even maximalism [“Kiss Like Ether”] got better with spot varnish. And even moreso with synthetic vellum! I have to disagree about the cover image to disc two. I really miss the dry ice fog obscuring Numan’s lower body. I never heard of these sets but I am no longer the Numan target audience. And they are vinyl, anyway. I’m more than satisfied by the Japanese “Asylum” CD series from 30 years ago. I can’t be bothered to track down all of the minute release variations in mix though “Telekon” is one of the six crucial Numan albums for me. I’ll leave that level of fandom for my Associates collection!

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