Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue (Beggars Banquet, BBQLP19, 2015)

Back to a favourite subject of mine, the variations to be found with Gary Numan’s wonderful ‘Telekon’ album. Here we have the most recent vinyl re-issue, from 2015 and the lure of the limited red vinyl double album edition clearly proved far too tempting. So, go on Beggars, give me yet another copy for the collection…

Gary Numan - ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue front cover design

^ Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue front cover design

We’ve been here before on this blog of course. The Japanese mini-LP sleeve replica edition (near identical to the 1998 ‘20th Anniversary’ series CD remaster) and the ‘80/81’ box set vinyl edition dating from 2011. As documented on those, there are different mixes of various tracks that have been used, these variations first emerging when that ‘20th Anniversary’ CD remaster appeared in 1998.

Gary Numan - ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue gatefold (left)

^ Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue gatefold (left)

Gary Numan - ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue gatefold (right)

^ Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue gatefold (right)

So, what do we get on this release then? Headline news is that those variant mixes in question I’ve gone over before are here in their original 1980 form (‘Remember I Was Vapour’ and ‘The Joy Circuit’). There is another, quite noticeably different mix of ‘I Die: You Die’ (Alternate Mix) to be found here and that appears to be unique to this edition as far as I know. There is also ‘Remind Me To Smile’ (USA Mix) – but that is very clearly not the US 7” single edit that I have had on vinyl since 1980. And there are a few extra tracks from singles and B-sides. Depending on your home territory and format preferences back in the day, a few of these are probably either ‘extras’ or were always part of the ‘Telekon’ album that you know and love. The ordering of the tracks, being spread across double vinyl, brings a whole new experience to this listen.

Gary Numan - ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue rear cover design

^ Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue rear cover design

This is the red vinyl edition that was only available direct mail order from Beggars Arkive or available from the merch stall at some live dates (and I imagine sold out fast).

Gary Numan - ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue label design side 1

^ Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue label design side 1

Gary Numan - ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue label design side 2

^ Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue label design side 2

Record one sticks to the first eight tracks from the original UK LP Edition from 1980. So, it starts as usual with ‘This Wreckage’ and ends with ‘Remember I Was Vapour (the original 1980 mix complete with synth solo and madly extreme stereo panning). It does not include ‘We Are Glass’, which UK and European cassette owners of the album will know and love as being at the end of ‘side one’ of the tape, nor ‘I Die: You Die’, which US and Canadian album owners would likely expect by now, since those territories removed ‘Sleep By Windows’ on original releases to make way for it.

Gary Numan - ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue label design side 3

^ Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue label design side 3

Gary Numan - ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue label design side 4

^ Gary Numan – ‘Telekon’ 2015 Double LP re-issue label design side 4

On to record two, side one, this rounds off the two final tracks from the original running order with ‘Please Push No More’ and the now restored 1980 mix of ‘The Joy Circuit’. We then have the A and B sides of the ‘We Are Glass’ single.

Flipping on to side two and there is a lot crammed in here. First off, sides A and B of the UK  ‘I Die: You Die’ single, with the wonderful piano version of ‘Down In The Park’. (I wonder how many Numan fans that inspired into piano lessons?)

We then have ‘A Game Called Echo’, originally recorded as part of the ‘Telekon’ sessions in November 1979 but not included on the album or as a B side at the time. It would eventually see light of day in 1985 on the ‘1978/79 Volume 3’ 12” EP and then on subsequent compilations and album re-issues. ‘A Game Called Echo’ has a particular memory for me, courtesy of ‘Smash Hits’ magazine. It was first reported in the December 13th – 26th 1979 issue of the magazine that the album tracklisting included ‘Telekon’, ‘Remember I Was Vapour’, ‘I Die: You Die’, ‘Sleep By Windows’, ‘The Joy Circuit’ and ‘A Game Called Echo’. Following release of the album in early September 1980, there was also a follow-up query in the 30th October – 12th November issue ‘Fact Is’ column asking about the track’s non-appearance.

‘Photograph’, the B side of ‘This Wreckage’, is next (which along with the ‘We Are Glass’ B side, ‘Trois Gymnopédies’, were recorded at ‘Freerange’ studio during demo sessions, 9-12 April 1979, for ‘The Pleasure Principle’ album), followed by ‘Remind Me To Smile’ (USA Mix). As mentioned earlier, this certainly isn’t the US 7” single edit – that was edited down to the 3’ 20” mark, whereas this is the same 3’ 43” duration as the regular LP mix.

The album finishes with an ‘Alternate Mix’ of ‘I Die: You Die’. This is NOT the same version that is on the 1998 ‘20th Anniversary’ CD remaster, which was listed as ‘Alternate Version’ (and seems to now be listed as ‘Video Version’ on download services. This mix is very different indeed and I assume is some kind of demo version, as so much of the instrumentation is significantly different. There’s no guitar at all during the intro for example and the lead synth line is a lot more prominent. Different take vocally too, with “screaming THEY will suffer” instead of the more familiar YOU, and no sign of the “ still running from the telephone” final line at all.

There is no digital download that comes with the album though, so I think this mix so far remains vinyl only.

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