Returning once more to an old favourite featured many times before, Hard Corps, and their wonderful single that should have been a hit, ‘Je Suis Passée’ and all its many versions. It has been a long while in the offing, this post, what prompted me to post it now is the newly released compilation CD celebrating the work of producer Martin Rushent, ‘Autonomy – The Productions Of Martin Rushent’, available from Ace Records, as this includes the 7″ single mix of ‘Je Suis Passée’, its first release on CD format.
From the moment I heard Hard Corps I was hooked – that was in the summer of 1984 with the release of the ‘Dirty’/Respirer’ double A side 12″ (and later 7″) single. That love for the band became even greater with ‘Je Suis Passée’.
Timeline of releases
I lived through the release period of this single, so I can bring my own experiences of when I bought the regular UK releases to the table, at least.
The first version of the single to be released was the Immaculate Records 12″-only release (Immaculate Records, 12 IMMAC 2) in a black and white cover, with the French language version of the song on the A side. I don’t know the story behind this, perhaps an initial ‘indie’ release on a more underground level?
Whatever the rationale behind its release on this label, the record itself contains the full length version of ‘Je Suis Passée’ in its French language variation. This version has pretty well become the de facto standard version, featured on later compilation albums by the band.
The B side is the ‘dub’ version of the song, which a) gets referred to by a number of different mix titles across the various releases on this release the sleeve states ‘Club Dub Mix’, while the label has an odd design mistake which seems to have left in part of the A side mix title when pasting in the ‘Club Dub Mix’ text, and b) is actually based on ‘Clean Tables’ rather than ‘Je Suis Passée’.
Not that I had any idea about this at the time – ‘Clean Tables’ would not be released until decades later on the ‘Clean Tables Have To Be Burnt’ compilation album on Minimal Wave records. More on this mix and it’s later re-release further on in this post.
A couple of weeks later the editions on Sonoscope appeared in colour picture sleeves, 7″ (Sonoscope / Polydor, HARD 1 / 881 881-7) and 12″ (Sonoscope / Polydor, HARDX 1 / 881 881-1), promoted by numerous press adverts.
The A side this time of the 12” was the full length English language version of ‘Je Suis Passée’, referred to simply as ‘Extended’ on sleeve and label, which doesn’t appear to have had an official re-release since (perhaps because ‘Clean Tables’ was eventually released?).
The B side of the Sonoscope 12” single features two tracks. There’s no timings provided on the sleeves, so I gave them a fresh listen, timer to hand.
Firstly an ‘Instrumental’ mix of ‘Je Suis Passée’, which I time to be 5’50” duration – so, straight off you can tell that it is not simply an instrumental replica of the A side, since that is timed at approx. 6’58” – and secondly the same ‘Dub’ mix as featured on the B side of the Immaculate Records 12” – this time round the mix is just credited as ‘Dub’ on sleeve and label as opposed to that original 12” credit as ‘Club Dub Mix’. The Dub mix has a duration of approx. 5’58”.
The 7” version on Sonoscope features a 7” mix of ‘Je Suis Passée’, though the sleeve and label simply state of ‘Je Suis Passée’, no mention of an edit/mix.
The B side, like the Sonoscope 12”, features an ‘Instrumental’ mix, which I time my vinyl copy to be a duration of 4’00” – so, a different Instrumental mix to the 12”, it’s also shorter than the 7” A side mix (which is approx. 4’09”), though once again you wouldn’t know from the sleeve or label as both just refer to it as ‘Instrumental’. It is not simply an instrumental replica of the 7” A side – for example, it starts off with the same electronic percussion ion beats that the 12” mixes have, which is absent from the 7” A side mix.
As far as I am aware, neither of the Instrumental mixes have been re-released.
A couple of weeks after the first Sonoscope 7”/12” came the third commercial 12″ issue of ‘Je Suis Passée’, the ‘Hard Mix’ 12″-only version, packaged in a gatefold PVC sleeve with poster included, again supported by press adverts.
The ‘Hard Mix’ is a lot longer than any other mix of the song and had some interesting sonic diversions, twists and turns, though is a good deal more formless than the well disciplined 7”/12” mixes. It’s also largely instrumental, what vocals there are tend to be short loops and drastically pitch-shifted, as some insane harmony.
On side two of the ‘Hard Mix’ 12” there is yet another mix variation in the form of a shorter edit of the French language version – I time this to be approx. 4’52”, so it’s not just a straight French language version of the 7” A side. Again, it gets going with the electronic percussion at the start, unlike the 7” A side.
The third track on the ‘Hard Mix’ 12” is our old friend the Dub mix – which seems to be an ever present across all 12” releases of ‘Je Suis Passée’.
I can’t say for sure when the promo versions were issued, I didn’t know about them at the time, but for reference there are the following promo releases:
- Je Suis Passée (Extended / Full Length Version (as listed on the label)) / Je Suis Passée (Dub Mix) (Sonoscope / Polydor, HARDX 1DJ)
- Je Suis Passée (Hard Mix – Part 1) [7’50”] / Je Suis Passée (Hard Mix – Part 2) [6’40”] Polydor HARDW 1DJ
Same lack of knowledge about release schedules goes for the releases in different, non-UK territories – but for reference, these include;
- West German 7″ (Metronome, 881 881-7) and 12″ (Metronome 881 881-1 ME)
- French 12″ (Polydor 883 115-1)
- Canadian 12″ (Polydor POLSX 106)
I do have a copy of the Canadian 12”, which is a curious variation in that the record is essentially as per the very first UK 12” as it includes the full length French language version of of ‘Je Suis Passée’ on the A side and the ‘Club Dub Mix’ on the B side – but comes packaged in the coloured sleeve design like the Sonoscope 12” design.
The ‘Je Suis Passée’ versions – listed
Officially released versions
These are versions that were released either at the time or on subsequent compilations that the band members have been involved in or endorsed. I am listing these roughly in the order that they were released and noting the variations in how they are referred to – sometimes even on the same release between sleeve and label! – with my own notes about that version alongside.
Je Suis Passée (12″ Extended French Version) (aka The Immaculate French Mix) (aka Version Française)
- The full-length 7’09” duration French language version that is the most easily found version due to its use on a number of Hard Corps compilation albums.
Je Suis Passée (Club Dub Mix) (aka Dub Version) (aka Dub Mix) (aka Club Mix)
- The interesting take on the song that is a legacy of its original incarnation as ‘Clean Tables’ – this mix is well known because of its appearance on the various artists compilation album ‘Trevor Jackson – Metal Dance’ (Industrial Post-Punk EBM Classics & Rarities 80-88)’ (Strut, STRUT091CD). It’s approx. 5’58” duration. It’s the English language take on the lyrics and makes no reference in the chorus to ’je suis passée’, replacing instead with ‘clean tables have to be burnt’.
Je Suis Passée (Extended) (aka Full Length Version)
- The full-length 6’58″ duration English language version – very slightly shorter than the full length French language version – as far as I am aware, this has never been re-released digitally.
Je Suis Passée (Instrumental) [12″ Mix]
- Although the sleeve and label on the regular Sonoscope UK 7″ and 12″ releases just state ‘Instrumental’, they are different versions. The 12” mix I time to be approx. 5’50” duration.
Je Suis Passée [7″ Mix]
- The 7″ mix was vinyl only until very recently, it finally saw light of day again on the ‘Autonomy – The Productions Of Martin Rushent’ compilation CD. Unlike almost every other version, it starts off straight into the music with no electronic percussion section at the start. The 7” mix is approx. 4’09” duration.
Je Suis Passée (Instrumental) [7″ Mix]
- Although the sleeve and label on the regular Sonoscope UK 7″ and 12″ releases just state ‘Instrumental’, they are different versions. The 7” mix I time to be approx. 4’00” duration.
Je Suis Passée (Hard Mix)
- The third commercial 12″ release for the single – as far as I know, this has never been re-released. The longest duration mix at approx. 13’33”.
Je Suis Passée (French) (aka French Vocal)
- This is a shorter edit of the longer French language mix, included on the B side of the ‘Hard Mix’ 12″ – as far as I know, that’s the only time it has ever been released. It has a duration of approx. 4’51”.
Je Suis Passée (Hard Mix – Part 1)
- The mix from the A side of the promo-only ‘Hard Mix’ 12″, duration 7’50”.
Je Suis Passée (Hard Mix – Part 2)
- The mix from the B side of the promo-only ‘Hard Mix’ 12″, duration 6’40”.
The fore-runner of ‘Je Suis Passée’, there is an early, Hard Corps produced version that was released in 2012 on the Minimal Wave compilation album ‘Clean Tables Have To Burnt’.
These are versions that have been released from live recordings, on labels such as Razormaid or online only including by members of the band. Quite what the status of some of these is and if these are ‘officially released’ is a bit more tricky to say definitively, certainly the Razormaid mix.
Je Suis Passée (Richard Skinner Radio Session 29 July 1984) [6’34”]
- Released on the digital download album ‘Radio Sessions’.
Je Suis Passée (Razormaid Mix) [8’00”]
- First released on the Razormaid album’Razormaid Chapter Ten: Noise Reduction!’ and also included on the later Razormaid compilation ‘The Very Best Of Razormaid! V’.
Je Suis Passée (Romo Nights Version) (aka Narcicistic Version) [Remix by Hard Corps band member Clive Pierce] [4’59”]
- This was a free download from Hard Corps. My memory isn’t good enough to recall when this first appeared and on which Hard Corps or affiliated web presence. Over the years, Hard Corps very generously made unreleased material online via various sites. The first was their MySpace page. It was so good to finally hear unreleased tracks that I had only ever read about. This version however was an updated remix by Clive and came a few years later, I think it was put online as firstly as the Narcissistic Mix and later the Romo Nights Version. It’s certainly available online now through Clive’s Medora Music SoundCloud web presence.
While there are releases from other territories, they don’t contain any additional versions, as far as I know.
Well, the most famous version of ‘Je Suis Passée’ that is known about but has never been released is of course from the band’s wonderful appearance on the UK television programme The Tube. At least it can be viewed on YouTube in all its glory.
So, I think that’s about it for ‘Je Suis Passée’. If you are a fan of the song already I hope this helps differentiate the various versions, if you are new to the band I hope it piques your interest further. Hard Corps have a very minimal website at www.hardcorps.co.uk but more actively now seem to have a Facebook presence. Enjoy!