Archive for the ‘Compilation albums’ Category

‘From Brussels With Love’ compilation cassette (Les Disques Du Crépuscule, TWI 007)

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Where does one start on ‘From Brussels With Love’? Something of a who’s who of low-key, left-field acts, mostly contributing original, unreleased material, from the minimal synth jingles of John Foxx that bookend proceedings through a demo version of Thomas Dolby’s lush ‘Airwaves’, a healthy outing for Factory acts including A Certain Ratio, Kevin Hewick (with New Order backing him on this outing), Durutti Column and even Factory’s resident producer, Martin Hannett, contributing a piece. Harold Budd, Gavin Bryars and Michael Nyman feature too, along with an interview with Brian Eno himself, whose ‘Obscure Records’ label unite all three in some form.

There have also been numerous re-issues over the years on LP and CD, with variations in tracklisting and sleeve designs – further info on those on the discogs.com website entry. The most recent re-issue, a CD from 2007 on LTM Publishing (Les Temps Modernes) LTMCD 2479, is the most faithful to the original cassette release.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking on the cassette packaging. This is my own copy, I believe there were variations to the original cassette release, such as including a badge.

'From Brussels With Love' cassette package front cover design

^ 'From Brussels With Love' cassette package front cover design

'From Brussels With Love' cassette package back cover design and cassette

^ 'From Brussels With Love' cassette package back cover design and cassette

'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 1

^ 'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 1

'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 2

'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 2

'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 3

^ 'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 3

'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 4

^ 'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 4

'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 5

^ 'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 5

'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 6

^ 'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 6

'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 7

^ 'From Brussels With Love' cassette booklet inner detail spread 7

‘Machines’ UK compilation LP (Virgin, V2177, 1980)

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

‘Machines’ was a compilation album from late 1980 that showcased a few of the Virgin records/DinDisc roster, while also including a smattering of established names (Gary Numan/Tubeway Army, John Foxx, Human League, Fad Gadget, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) and up-‘n’-coming names too (Henry Badowski/Karel Fialka/Silicon Teens/Thomas Leer). The Virgin records contingent was a mite biased perhaps, with two names in particular seemingly odd bedfellows for such an obviously ‘synth’ themed compilation, namely XTC and PiL.

'Machines' compilation album front cover design

^ 'Machines' compilation album front cover design

‘The Somnambulist’ by XTC first appeared on the double-pack 7″ single for their ‘Generals and Majors’ single from earlier in 1980. It drifts along nicely and is in stark contrast to the abrasively jangly guitar-packed and drum-propelled stuff that the rest of the ‘Black Sea’ album was hewn from. At the time, the main point of interest for the compilation was the previously unreleased ‘Pied Piper’ by Public Image Limited (PiL) – a short, fairly noisy piece that probably fits closer to the ‘The Flowers of Romance’ style (which was of the compilation’s period, though not released until the Spring of 1981), the one and only piece recorded with the late Steve New as part of a short-lived dalliance with PiL. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowers_of_Romance_%28album%29#Related_tracks) This track eventually resurfaced in the late ’90s on PiL’s ‘Plastic Box’ compilation of CDs.

'Machines' compilation album rear cover design

^ 'Machines' compilation album rear cover design

As seems to happen fairly often with these kind of compilation albums, when released in foreign climes, the track listing varies, presumably down to licensing issues, or just tastes of the territory. Versions of the compilation from New Zealand and Germany drop the tracks by Dalek I and Henry Badowski in favour of ‘Crash Course In Science’ by Kitchen Motors and ‘Rapido De Noir’ by Irmin Schmidt & Bruno Spoerri.

'Machines' compilation album A side label design

^ 'Machines' compilation album A side label design

'Machines' compilation album B side label design

^ 'Machines' compilation album B side label design

‘Dreams and Desires’ tape (Pleasantly Surprised, PS006, 1984)

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

‘Dreams and Desires’ was one the ‘Pleasantly Surprised’ series of various artist cassette compilations that appeared throughout the first half of the ’80s, this particular example hailing from late 1984. The sleeve design clearly has a nod and a wink to the Joy Division feel of ‘Closer’, while musically the selection is something of a feast for fans of the 4AD label, with demo/instrumental versions to be found from several of the then current 4AD stable.

Cassette - 'Dreams' side

^ Cassette - 'Dreams' side

Cassette - 'Desires' side

^ Cassette - 'Desires' side

For me, highlights include a great alternative version of ‘Pearly Dewdrops Drops’ by Cocteau Twins – I always found the more regular single version a little tame, but this one swings into life with somewhat more oomph.

Pack contents

^ Pack contents, all spread out

View at a larger size

Rewinding for a moment (ho ho), Pleasantly Surprised was a cassette label run by Robert H King, based in Glasgow, Scotland, first appearing in 1982 with the ‘An Hour Of Eloquent Sounds’ tape (that one is coming up in a future post, it as the first of the series I bought) – the releases always managed to contain a great selection of new, obscure, alternative tracks/versions and so on from well known alternative names of the time, as well as a generous helping of new talent. I expect Mr King had good connections or the gift of charm in securing such plentiful exclusives.

Card insert front design

^ Card insert front design

View at a larger size

Hailing from an era that was something of a high-water mark for going to town on packaging, a la Factory and 4AD, these cassettes tended to avoid the plain old plastic case and come replete with more imaginative clothing. In the case of ‘Dreams and Desires’, you will see from the photos that an oversize folded card insert came in a resealable plastic bag along with several inserts (many being reproductions of 4AD publicity photos).

Card insert, rear

^ Card insert, rear

View at larger size

You can find out more about the series of releases on the Pleasantly Surprised website, well worth some of your time if this post has piqued your interest…

Card insert, middle spread

^ Card insert, middle spread

View at a larger size

Tracklisting

Side One: Dreams

  1. Nervous Chior – Richard Killing
  2. Xmal Deutschland – Tag Fur Tag (Demo)
  3. Artery – Diamonds In The Mine (Live)
  4. Vazz – Silver
  5. Colourbox – Sex Gun (Demo)
  6. Wolfgang Press – Ecstacy (Instrumental)
  7. Pink Industry – Pain of Pride
  8. Band of Holy Joy – A Glorious Morning in Orton Street

Sides Two: Desires

  1. Clair Obscur – Pilgrims Progress (Instrumental)
  2. Dead Can Dance – The Arcane (Demo)
  3. David J – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
  4. Illegitimate Sons of Christ – In One Move
  5. Cocteau Twins – Pearly Dew-Drops Drops (Demo)
  6. In The Nursery – Iskra
  7. Ambrose (featuring Martin Luther King) – Free At Last
  8. Andrew Gray – Illustrated
  9. Virginia Astley – Tree Top Club (Demo)
  10. Patrik Fitzgerald – Smile

Rema-Rema, ‘Wheel In The Roses’ CD EP (4AD, BAD 5CD) / Various artists: ‘Natures Mortes’ (4AD CAD 117CD)

Monday, November 30th, 2009

The original release of the ‘Wheel In The Roses’ EP was one of the earliest 4AD releases, coming after the initial batch of four singles that had gone under the label’s original name of ‘Axis’. It was the only release from Rema-Rema, a short-lived band but from whom the seeds of a good few other acts would evolve or intersect, including Wolfgang Press, Renegade Soundwave, Psychic TV and of course most famously Marco Pirroni’s saddle-up with Adam Ant.

'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - front cover, inner sleeve (front), insert (front) and CD label

^ ' Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - front cover, inner sleeve (front), insert (front) and CD label

What I love about this small object of desire is that despite it being so wilfully obscure and the band’s only proper release (two other songs did appear as live recordings on a tape-only compilation, ‘The Men With the Deadly Dreams’) (the songs from which can be heard on the Rema Rema MySpace site), 4AD saw fit to lovingly reproduce it in CD form. Perhaps it could be down to the fact that despite it’s obscurity, two of the songs had been covered subsequently – ‘Fond Affections’ appearing on the first This Mortal Coil album, ‘It’ll End In Tears’, with Big Black taking on ‘Rema-Rema’ itself.

'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - back cover, inner sleeve (back), insert (back) CD label

^ 'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - back cover, inner sleeve (back), insert (back) and CD label

Tracklisting;

  1. Feedback Song
  2. Rema-Rema
  3. Instrumental (Recorded Live)
  4. Fond Affections (Recorded Live)

'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - insert centre spread

^ 'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - insert centre spread

As well as the original sleeve design reproduced in miniature, the CD comes with an inner sleeve design and additional gatefold insert.

'Natures Mortes' CD - front

^ 'Natures Mortes' CD - front

The track ‘Feedback Song’ itself had also appeared on the Japanese-only compilation album, ‘Natures Mortes’ (4AD CAD 117) in 1981, in a slightly extended form. This extended version (by virtue of its wailed intro) is what appears on this CD EP too, which is the major difference to the original 12 inch vinyl. ‘Natures Mortes’ itself was given a later CD release (CAD 117CD), with a number of additional tracks not present on the vinyl edition, and is certainly one of the most signature-style works of the 23 Envelope design house.

'Natures Mortes' CD - back case and label design

^ 'Natures Mortes' CD - back case and label design

‘Dindisc 1980’ compilation album (Dindisc, DONE 1)

Monday, March 30th, 2009

‘Dindisc 1980’ was a compilation of the acts on the Dindisc label of 1980 vintage, two tracks each from Martha and the Muffins, The Monochrome Set and Revillos, no less than three from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark plus one from Dedringer.

'Dindisc 1980' compilation album, front cover

^ 'Dindisc 1980' compilation album, front cover

Packaged in a customary tastefully crafted sleeve courtesy of Keith Breeden and Dindisc house-designer Peter Saville, most of the tracks appear elsewhere on previous releases but at the time the principal attraction for me was the version of ‘Electricity’ by OMitD, as this was a new, slightly extended re-recording and unavailable anywhere else. (Note: This version did finally make it on to CD with the 2003 re-issue of ‘Organisation’ (DIDCDR6) as one of the bonus tracks.) The version of ‘Messages’ is the extended version from the 10″ single, while their cover of ‘Waiting For The Man’ had only previously been on the flip-side of the same 10″ single.

'Dindisc 1980' compilation album, back cover

^ 'Dindisc 1980' compilation album, back cover

The album also comes complete with a free ‘Gig Game’ – a fold out sheet depicting a map of Scotland, England and Wales, complete with basic rules, spinner and a variety of snakes and ladder type situations of a gigging nature.

Record and label, front cover, game sheet in background

^ Record and label, front cover, game sheet in background

Some of the sample misfortunes include the council imposing noise restrictions in Leeds (lose 10 spaces!), thrown out by bouncers in Aberdeen and arrested for indecency just outside Newcastle! Rock ‘n’ roll, eh?!

The fold-out game sheet

^ The fold-out game sheet