John Foxx compilations across the years Part 5

With seemingly undue haste – there is only two years between ‘Glimmer: Best of John Foxx’, covered in the previous post, and the subject of this post, here we have ‘Metatronic’. What did this compilation bring, that warranted it coming so soon after ‘Glimmer’, you may well wonder?

John Foxx ‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD - front case design
^ John Foxx ‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD – front case design

‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD (Edsel records, EDSX3009, 2010)

It’s a varied mixture featured on this compilation, to be sure; a focus more on the albums recorded with Louis Gordon in the late ‘90s and ‘00s, a live set from a 2008 gig in Sydney, Australia, a few stray remixes as ‘bonus’ tracks and also a DVD featuring a mix of early promo videos and later tracks. Plus a handful of the early classics, including a couple of temptingly previously unreleased early pieces – basically, only the ‘Metamatic’ and its era satellite tracks representing the Virgin years.

John Foxx ‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD - CD 2 and DVD - rear case design
^ John Foxx ‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD – CD 2 and DVD – rear case design

Tracklist:

Disc One

  1. Underpass (Extended Version) (4’25”)
  2. This City (3’09”)
  3. No-One Driving (3’51”) [from ‘Metamatic’]
  4. Burning Car (3’17”)
  5. The Noise (4’18”)  [from ‘Shifting City’] ‡
  6. Everyone (5’42”) [from ‘Shifting City’] ‡
  7. When it Rains (4’23”) [from ‘The Pleasures Of Electricity’] ‡
  8. Automobile (Alternative Version) (5’59”) [from ‘The Pleasures Of Electricity’ 2009 double-CD version] ‡
  9. Broken Furniture (Single Version) (4’03”) [from the ‘Drive’ CD EP] ‡
  10. Drive (Single Version) (4’33”) [from the ‘Drive’ CD EP] ‡
  11. Once in a While (4’14”) [from ‘Crash and Burn’] ‡
  12. From Trash (4’38) [from ‘From Trash’] ‡
  13. Never Let Me Go (3’18”) [from ‘From Trash’] ‡
  14. Smokescreen (2’27”) [from ‘Tiny Colour Movies’]
  15. Cinemascope (3’30”) [from ‘Metamatic’ 2007 remaster 2xCD]
  16. Phone Tap (4’00”) [from ‘Sideways’] ‡
  17. Smoke (7.02) [from ‘Crash and Burn’] ‡

Disc Two : Live in Sydney, 2008

  1. Crash and Burn (4’49) ‡
  2. Uptown / Downtown (6’58”) ‡
  3. The Man Who Dies Every Day (4’20”) ‡
  4. Hiroshima Mon Amour (5’06”) ‡
  5. Underpass (4’19”) ‡
  6. From Trash (4’52”) ‡
  7. Shadow Man (9’22”) ‡
  8. My Sex (8’38”) ‡

BONUS TRACKS

  1. Burning Car (Early Version) (2’44”)
  2. Underpass (Mark Reeder’s Sinister Subway Mix) (4’11”)
  3. Dislocated (Jussi Pekka’s Pointed on a Map Remix) †
  4. 20th Century (Dubterror vs Karborn Mix) (5’01”)

Disc Three (DVD):

  1. Underpass (B&W Version) (3’21”)
  2. He’s a Liquid (3’02”)
  3. No-One Driving (3’00”)
  4. Smokescreen (2.24″)
  5. Underpass (Mark Reeder’s Sinister Subway Mix) (4’08”)
  6. The Noise (Live) [VH1 Session] (4’31”) ‡
  7. Shifting City (Live at the Music Hall, Shrewsbury, 10 January 1998) (7’20”) [from ‘Retro Future’]‡
  8. Underpass (5.1 Surround Sound Audio Only Mix) (3’15”) [NB: This isn’t listed on the packaging, only on the DVD menu.]

All tracks by John Foxx except where noted, as follows:
‡ John Foxx and Louis Gordon
† Jori Hulkkonen with John Foxx

John Foxx ‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD - CD 1 disc label and booklet front cover
^ John Foxx ‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD – CD 1 disc label and booklet front cover

The album was accompanied on its release day with a digital only EP of Mark Reeder remixes of ‘Underpass’.


What is / was unique to this compilation?

  • ‘Underpass’ (Extended Version)
  • ‘Burning Car’ (Early Version)
  • All of the Live in Sydney, 2008 tracks
  • ‘The Noise’ (Live) [VH1 Session]
John Foxx ‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD - CD 2 and DVD disc labels
^ John Foxx ‘Metatronic’ UK compilation 2 x CD + DVD – CD 2 and DVD disc labels

‘Additionally of interest…’

Underpass (Mark Reeder’s Sinister Subway Mix)As noted above, this was released on a digital-only EP on the same day as the album. There is a slight discrepancy in the titles when comparing the two mixes – on the digital EP this is referred to as ‘Mark Reeder’s Sinister Subway Radio Remix’. Both are the same remix though.

20th Century (Dubterror vs Karborn Mix)This was issued a week before the release of the ‘Glimmer’ compilation in 2008 on a very limited edition vinyl only 12” single, coupled with a Dubterror / Karborn mix of ‘Burning Car’ – which made it on to ‘Glimmer’. Other than the 12” single, I think this compilation is its only other physical release.


Where can the exclusives be sourced now?

  • ‘Underpass’ (Extended Version)
    • Was included on the 2018 3 x CD deluxe edition re-issue of ‘Metamatic’.
  • ‘Burning Car’ (Early Version)
    • Was included on the 2018 3 x CD deluxe edition re-issue of ‘Metamatic’ and the 2020 LP ‘Concrete and Organised Noise’.
  • All of the Live in Sydney, 2008 tracks remain exclusive to ‘Metatronic’ and are unavailable elsewhere.
  • ‘The Noise’ (Live) [VH1 Live Session]
    • Remains exclusive to ‘Metatronic’ and is unavailable elsewhere

All in all, not so much duplication with the Foxx compilations so far, with far more focus on the Louis Gordon era to be found here – as to how compelling a release you find it will perhaps hang in the balance with how much you value live recordings, since a good chunk of the exclusives are made up with the Live in Sydney tracks. Finally, some decent sleeve notes once again, this time out written by Gary Hensey, notable for his writing on Foxx such as the interview ‘Blackpool Neon Tango: A John Foxx Interview About Metamatic’ and ‘The Strange World Of… John Foxx’, both published via The Quietus.

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