Robert Fripp – ‘1999 (Soundscapes – Live In Argentina)’ UK CD (Discipline Global Mobile, DGM 9402 2, 1994)

‘1999 (Soundscapes – Live In Argentina)’ is a selection of recordings documenting Robert Fripp’s return to active service (after an 11 year gap) of performing live, improvisational, sonically challenging yet ultimately rewarding instrumental pieces that evolve and build over the construction of initial loops. This technique of Fripp’s that had been used and documented on earlier live performances (and releases) went by the name of ‘Frippertronics’. From this release onwards, they would use the new description of ‘Soundscapes’, acknowledging the advance in the sonic capabilities that the new technical set up these pieces were structured with would afford.

Robert Fripp '1999 (Soundscapes - Live In Argentina)' UK CD front cover design
^ Robert Fripp ‘1999 (Soundscapes – Live In Argentina)’ UK CD front cover design

When I say sonically challenging, I mean it. Over the next few years and beyond, a steady series of ‘soundscapes’ releases would appear, some are gentler and contemplative mood, some foreboding, unsettling, bleak, some veering off into digital signal processing dial twiddling randomness. ‘1999’ (both the album as a whole and title track in particular) started off in an abrasive and dark a manner as any of those to follow – pieces may begin in an almost silent, minimal fashion but gradually build and loop into a towering aural embodiment of turmoil brought to life. Continue reading “Robert Fripp – ‘1999 (Soundscapes – Live In Argentina)’ UK CD (Discipline Global Mobile, DGM 9402 2, 1994)”

Vangelis – ‘The Collection’ compilation CD (Rhino, 2564658108, 2012)

So, farewell Vangelis – in a long life, we have been richly rewarded with his music for so long and the grace of how he went about his art. He may now be gone, but there remains so much of his music to explore and be thankful for now.

Vangelis - 'The Collection' compilation front slipcase design
^ Vangelis – ‘The Collection’ compilation front slipcase design

I feature this CD since – well, it is VersionCrazy after all and its always about the obscure details of versions and variations – so, why not… ‘The Collection‘ on the face of it is yet another compilation CD of the man’s work – and there is no shortage of them to choose from over the years. But I’ll focus on this one today as it is the one official outing on CD for a version of the opening titles theme for ‘Blade Runner’ that has remained strangely elusive from the multiple variations of the main soundtrack release over the years. Continue reading “Vangelis – ‘The Collection’ compilation CD (Rhino, 2564658108, 2012)”

XTC – ‘Ball and Chain’ UK 12″ EP (Virgin, VS 482-12, 1982)

The second single to be lifted from XTC’s 1982 mammoth opus, ‘English Settlement’. Despite being of equal merit, ‘Ball and Chain’ failed to repeat the success of the preceding ‘Senses Working Overtime’ single, much to my bemusement at the time, as this release came packed with XTC goodness in its EP form. As it turns out, the various tracks have a very rich version crazy history to delve into…

XTC 'Ball and Chain' UK 12" EP front cover
^ XTC ‘Ball and Chain’ UK 12″ EP front cover

No major changes to the A side, culled from the album, a solid piece of Colin Moulding’s craft – the remaining tracks on the EP were from the pen of Andy Partridge and included two new tracks in the shape of ‘Punch and Judy’ and ‘Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass’ on the 7″, while the 12″ release squeezed in an additional dub mix of an ‘English Settlement’ album track (‘Down In The Cockpit’) suitably retitled as ‘Cockpit Dance Mixture’. Continue reading “XTC – ‘Ball and Chain’ UK 12″ EP (Virgin, VS 482-12, 1982)”

Janice Long, 1955-2021

Sad news for Christmas Day this year, learning of the death of Janice Long. I grew up listening and finding out about so many great acts from BBC Radio 1’s evening and weekend shows and Janice Long was one of the key DJs that made a big difference. She had great taste and brought a genuine enthusiasm and warm-hearted humour to proceedings that was a welcome relief from many others. It comes as no surprise to learn of so many wonderful tributes from many of the well-known acts she met along the way. If you are unfamiliar with her, I recommend a 33 minute primer courtesy of the Radio 1 Vintage series that was produced in 2018 and featured a Janice Long compilation.

BBC Radio 1 Vintage - Janice Long compilation
^ BBC Radio 1 Vintage – Janice Long compilation

Continue reading “Janice Long, 1955-2021”

Side by side: Wire – ‘Our Swimmer’ and ‘Second Length’ versions, versions


Our Swimmer

‘Our Swimmer’ dates from a late 1979 recording session* at Magritte Studios which also witnessed the recording of ‘Go Ahead’ (which would be released on the B side of the ‘Map Ref. 41N 93W’ 7″ single) and ‘Midnight Bahnhoff Cafe’ (which would be released on the B side of the ‘Our Swimmer’ 7″ single). It was after the recording sessions that produced the ‘154’ album and the first time without the involvement of long-term producer, Mike Thorne – self-produced by the band. It was proposed as a single release while the band were still signed to EMI records, but rejected by the company.

* The 2014 re-issue of ‘Document and Eyewitness’ states ‘recorded at Magritte Studio, Harmondsworth Dec 1979’ – but I question that date if indeed it was the same session that also produced ‘Go Ahead’, since it was already released long before December. The ‘Nine Sevens’ singles box set also gets it wrong by stating 1980 as the recording year.

Wire - 'Our Swimmer' and 'Second Length' singles
^ Wire – ‘Our Swimmer’ and ‘Second Length’ singles

Continue reading “Side by side: Wire – ‘Our Swimmer’ and ‘Second Length’ versions, versions”