Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Colin Newman, ‘Not To’ UK LP (4AD CAD201, 1982)

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Early 1982 saw Colin Newman’s third solo album ‘Not To’ revisit a good number of songs that Wire had first performed live but never recorded as studio takes, in equal turns sating a curiosity but also further underlining Wire’s extinct status. ‘Not To’ dusted off and updated ‘Lorries’, ‘We Meet Under Tables’, ‘Safe’, ‘5/10’ and ‘Remove for Improvement’, all of which had seen live Wire outings previously (and would be documented in rough, live recordings too – initially in 1981 on ‘Document and Eyewitness’, then many years later the remainder on ‘Turns and Strokes’). (There is also ‘You, Me And Happy’, though any Wire recording of this seems to be unheard of.)

Now, it was not only Colin Newman re-purposing this source material – Gilbert & Lewis and their ‘Dome’ project also made use of ‘And Then…’ on ‘Dome 1’ and ‘Ritual View’ on ‘Dome 2’, while Colin Newman himself had already revisited ‘Inventory’ for his initial solo album, 1980’s ‘A – Z’. ‘Alone’ from that same LP shares writing credits of Newman/Lewis, so a Wire connection there too perhaps.

Colin Newman 'Not To' LP front cover design

^ Colin Newman ‘Not To’ LP front cover design

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Remake, remodel: Wire ‘Change Becomes Us’ and Karl Bartos ‘Off The Record’

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Arriving within a short period of one another, two releases which both delve back into the history books in order to refashion roughs into polished new shapes. Wire have taken a selection of material that previously saw release only as live versions (on 1981’s ‘Document and Eyewitness’ live set and, later, the ‘Turns and Strokes’ compilation gathering together remaining waifs and strays of the period) – so, mostly familiar to long-time Wire fans. Bartos meanwhile has looked back to private musical sketches to bring something new to the world.

Wire 'Changes Becomes Us' limited edition and and Karl Bartos 'Off The Record' CDs

^ Wire 'Changes Becomes Us' limited edition and and Karl Bartos 'Off The Record' CDs

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Skids – ‘Animation’ UK 7″ single (Virgin, VS323, 1980)

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Included for no other reason than it happens to be one of my all-time favourite sleeve designs, graced with an artwork from none other than Russell Mills [http://www.russellmills.com/], who is identified with the Eno/Sylvian end of the musical spectrum more often than not, I’d say.

Skids 'Animation' front cover design

^ Skids 'Animation' front cover design

This ended up being the third single release from ‘Days in Europa’ – I’m sticking firmly to the original 1979 release when I say this – I know that the 1980 remix/re-release also includes ‘Masquerade’, so technically you might say it is the fourth single peeled off the album – but any Skids fan who knew the original first probably finds the 1980 version difficult to swallow, even with a tacked on single from a year before. (And, my goodness, a year was a long time indeed in the late ’70s/early ’80s – in the current era where bands take years between album releases, Skids themselves managed to release two original albums in 1979 – and they were far from the only band with that kind of work ethic.)

Skids 'Animation' back cover design

^ Skids 'Animation' back cover design

Ironically though, the reason for this single release was the remixed and repackaged 1980 re-release of ‘Days in Europa’ (touched on in an earlier blog post here) – this was the single that preceded it. The version of ‘Animation’ is shorter than the original 1979 album mix, due to an earlier fade-out, though otherwise not much different. Meanwhile, the surgery that was meted out on the re-issue LP saw ‘Pros and Cons’ excised from the running order – criminally, in my opinion – to make way for ‘Masquerade’  so, ‘Pros and Cons’ ends up being the B side here.

Skids 'Animation' label side A

^ Skids 'Animation' label side A

Sadly, the magnificent ‘Animation’ stiffed as far as the charts went, stalling at number 56 on the UK hit parade, bringing to an end the run of top 40 UK singles that had seen them score hit after hit from ‘Into The Valley’ through to the preceding ‘Working For The Yankee Dollar’.

Skids 'Animation' label side B

^ Skids 'Animation' label side B

John Foxx and the Maths live in London, October 2011

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

The seemingly evergreen Mr Foxx shows no signs of slowing down his progress and work rate and was in fine form this week, in the company of the Maths, judging by the two live shows in London that I managed to catch, part of a larger UK tour. The first two live outings for the Maths featured a larger complement of members, but these shows have seen a four-piece grouping with the core Maths duo of Foxx on vocals and keyboards along with Benge on electronic percussion (a great set of shiny red Simmons drum pads) and keyboards, joined once again with Serafina Steer (keyboards, bass guitar and backing vocals) plus new member Hannah Peel providing keyboards, violin and backing vocals.

John Foxx

^ John Foxx

First up it was evident that the band themselves were clearly really enjoying the event, which always makes a difference, smiles all round at times. A very ‘live’ experience, for sure. The addition of Hannah Peel’s violin in particular has brought another dimension to old favourites such as ‘Plaza’ and ‘He’s A Liquid’. The set list itself was largely from the ‘Interplay’ album, almost all of it played, plus a track from the just released second album from the Maths (‘The Shape of Things’), ‘The Shadow Of His Former Self’. Along with this were a fair few from Metamatic and some Ultravox! numbers such as Hiroshima Mon Amour, Dislocation et al.

John Foxx

^ John Foxx

I hope that the band are able to tour again, particularly venturing overseas if they can, and I definitely encourage you to catch them if they do so, it was a great experience and I leave you with some photos from the event (with apologies to Benge, who it was difficult to catch from my vantage points).

Benge and Hannah Peel

^ Benge and Hannah Peel

Hannah Peel, Serafina Steer, John Foxx

^ Hannah Peel, Serafina Steer, John Foxx

Hannah Peel, Serafina Steer, John Foxx

^ Hannah Peel, Serafina Steer, John Foxx

John Foxx

^ John Foxx

Hannah Peel

^ Hannah Peel

Can I explain the delay?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

An appropriate title, lifted from one of the tracks from Colin Newman’s fine ‘Commercial Suicide’ album of 1986 vintage. Having fallen off the road for some months without any updates to this Version Crazy blog, ’tis time to climb back on the horse and get going again with renewed vigour, so look out for plenty of posts over the coming months. In a slight change to the mission plan, I may sneak in the occasional contemporary act who have breathed life into the new wave/post-punk ghost. But to begin with its time to set the time machine back to 1978…