Archive for the ‘Design crazy’ Category

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set (2010, Greece, Undo / Blue Noise / EMI CDUN25B)

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

VersionCrazy has previously covered the full limited edition LP/2xCD/DVD boxed set edition of ‘History of Modern’ in some detail (well, visually anyway) – but did you know that there was a smaller scale boxed edition of the album released in Greece as well?

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - front case

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – front case.

I don’t know the full story of why this particular edition came to be, but nevertheless it has its unique qualities, right enough. Firstly, the packaging really goes for it – a unique variation the ‘black’ version of the artwork design is used for the outer box, first seen in the vinyl LP edition in the full super-deluxe edition box set – though with altered colour way here – purple and yellow the predominant highlight colours. As if that weren’t enough, it comes wrapped in ribbon and with a plastic wax seal for good measure as well. Secondly, it has a CD of remixes for good measure too.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - front case seal detail

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – front case seal detail.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - rear case in clear bag with seal sticker

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – rear case in clear bag with seal sticker.

Inside the box there is the ‘deluxe’ CD + DVD edition of the album with the predominantly orange colour way cover design – same version as released in the UK and elsewhere, though without the card slipcase – plus an exclusive CD devoted to various remixes of the first single release from the album, ‘If You Want It’.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - CD/DVD fron cover

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – CD/DVD front cover.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - CD/DVD rear cover.

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – CD/DVD rear cover.

As for the main album content- well, disc one is the standard album, while the second disc is actually a DVD with various video and multimedia elements;

  • Video: In The Studio Interview (6:42).
  • Video: The Making Of The History Of Modern (13:16).
  • Lyrics with Album track playback for each.
  • Hidden Artwork Files.

The videos are interesting enough – some, I assume fairly staged  recording and mixing segments so you get a peek at the 21st century recording set up – far more minimal than back in the heyday of the Gramophone Suite. The artwork files are obviously alternative album variations, most of which ended up being used on single releases at some point.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - CD/DVD - CD

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – CD/DVD – CD.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - CD/DVD - DVD

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – CD/DVD – DVD.

And what of these remixes of ‘If You Want It’? For starters, a few of them are exclusive to this release as a commercial release. (They did appear as promos elsewhere though and some for digital downloads.) For my money the best ones are the Villa Nah remix and the Marsheaux remix. Neither stray too far from the framework of the original but bring along enough tasty synth textures to the table to conjure up interesting aural treats. A few of the others pump up the dance factor with four to the floor beats nailing things down with steam hammer intensity. The ‘Teeth’ remix probably strays the farthest from the original, but has its charms. What surprises me is that none of the remixes played about at all with the Mellotron choir touches that sneaks in towards the end of the regular mix – I feel that could have been worth exploring more. The absolutely cracking snare sound on the original too seems to have gone unused too.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - 'If You Want It (Remixes) CD front cover

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – ‘If You Want It (Remixes) CD front cover.

Ten years on now from the album’s release, I find it stands up well, though with two fairly out of character anomalies in the shape of ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Pulse’. I actually quite like both tracks but they feel out of place with the rest – the latter in particular feels like a band slipping into a horny teens clothing and making some unseemly gyrations. To be fair, the band have acknowledged in interviews the patchwork nature of the album, very much made up of a mixture of leftover strays and newly written material – not helped by the distant recording production mode of both parties at other ends of the country.

Elsewhere, Kraftwerk cast a shadow a little too strongly – ‘RFKW’ is seemingly something based once again on a ‘Europe Endless’ inspired template – the closing ‘The Right Side?’ is built upon a sample of Komputer’s ‘Looking Down On London’ which itself was… guess what… seemingly something of a ‘Europe Endless’ inspired pastiche/tribute… take your pick. Meanwhile, ‘The Future, The Past, And The Forever After’ takes some of the ‘Trans-Europe Express’ train-inspired sonic tricks and reworks then into something really rather funky. Standout track for me remains Part 1 of the album title track.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - 'If You Want It (Remixes) CD rear cover

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – ‘If You Want It (Remixes) CD rear cover.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - 'History of Modern' limited edition CD/DVD boxed set - 'If You Want It (Remixes) CD disc

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – ‘History of Modern’ limited edition CD/DVD boxed set – ‘If You Want It (Remixes) CD disc.

‘Peter Saville Estate 1-127’ book

Monday, September 14th, 2020

It’s not a great surprise I imagine, given my musical tastes as documented on VersionCrazy, to realise that I like much of the design work by Peter Saville. ‘Estate 1-127’ is the second book solely dedicated to his work that I  bought, the first being ‘Designed by Peter Saville’. That had coincided with a retrospective exhibition at London’s Design Museum in 2003, ‘The Peter Saville Show’.

Peter Saville 'Estate 1-127' exhibition catalogue front cover

^ Peter Saville ‘Estate 1-127’ exhibition catalogue front cover

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The Golden Hour of The Future – Recordings by The Future and The Human League

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Released in 2002, this CD finally shone official light of day on to early material by The Human League and immediate forerunners The Future that had been circulating in bootleg form for 20+ years. Hurrah!!! A compilation of this type had been mooted for official release long before – back in late 1981, Heaven 17’s ‘Penthouse and Pavement’ album inner sleeve advertised ‘The Future Tapes’ as a forthcoming release, for example.

The background story is even more involved than I was aware of and adds to the enjoyment of listening to this release now, albeit in some cases that is a pretty lo-fi experience, to be fair.

The Golden Hour of the Future - front cover design

^ The Golden Hour of the Future – front cover design

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John Foxx – ‘Burning Car’ UK 7” single (Metal Beat/Virgin VS360, 1980)

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Near enough to the day (11th July 1980), forty years have passed since the impeccably eerie synthetic ‘less is more’ dynamic of ‘Burning Car’ appeared. As Spring moved into Summer of 1980 it was exciting times for music for me. Spring had brought Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark with ‘Messages’ and The Human League with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ to my ears and Gary Numan had released the exciting ‘We Are Glass’ single. New Musik and The Cure had also kept my cassette recorder busy, taped from the top 40 show. I had read about the forthcoming release of this latest Foxx single mid June in ‘Smash Hits’. It had competition from former band mates Ultravox, who had reactivated and were releasing the first notes with Midge Ure in the shape of ‘Sleepwalk’ – and would be an earlier release than Foxx’s latest.

John Foxx - ‘Burning Car’ UK 7” single picture sleeve front

^ John Foxx – ‘Burning Car’ UK 7” single picture sleeve front

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Gary Numan ‘80/81’ Box Set – Discs 3, 4 and 5: ‘Living Ornaments 81′

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

In the first part of this look at the ‘80/81’ box set, the focus was on discs one and two, which spread the ‘Telekon’ studio album across a couple of individually packaged LPs. The remainder of the box finds the 1981 Wembley ‘farwewell concerts’ documented by way of the ‘Living Ornaments 81’ album – its only appearance on vinyl to date.


Those 1981 farewell shows are a well established part of the Numan folklore of course. I was still too young to have attended any concerts back in 1981. Instead, it was all lived vicariously through the pages of the music press and the likes of the Numan-sympathetic one-off SynRock fanzine, as well as the immediately preceding ‘Living Ornaments 79 and 80’ box set, which I lavished no small amount of several weeks pocket money on. A few months later came the airing on BBC1 TV (Sunday 6th September 1981) of some highlights from the video recording of the show. Despite being condensed down to only 40 minutes in length, this was A Very Big Deal Indeed for me, in an era of only three television channels airing in the UK. Having to compete with the rest of the family and their viewing pleasures – and with no video recorder yet – was no mean feat. The complete show would be released in full form in 1982 on the oddly named ‘Micromusic’ home video cassette and from which this live recording is derived.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 3 - 'Living Ornaments 81' sleeve front cover

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 3 – ‘Living Ornaments 81’ sleeve front cover

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