Suzanne Vega – ‘Live In London 1986’ Australian Mini-Album (A&M, L20054, 1986)

‘Live In London 1986’ is a curious yet appealing release I spotted amongst the racks way back in the day, styled to fit in with the UK single releases of ‘Left Of Center’ and ‘Marlene On The Wall’ (1986 re-release) by the looks of it. Turns out that it was only issued in Australia, New Zealand and Japan and it is made up of a variety of live recordings that in some cases found themselves spread across various B side and 12″ singles in the UK – but also a couple that look to be exclusive to this release. My copy is the Australian vinyl mini-album, picked up on import.

Suzanne Vega - 'Live In London 1986' Australian mini-album front cover design
^ Suzanne Vega – ‘Live In London 1986’ Australian mini-album front cover design

Continue reading “Suzanne Vega – ‘Live In London 1986’ Australian Mini-Album (A&M, L20054, 1986)”

Kraftwerk – ‘The Robots’ Brazilian 7″ EP (Capitol Records, 31C 016 85870, 1979)

From 1979, and an era where releases could be weird and wonderful depending on the region of the globe they hail from and how that region liked to do things, a unique picture sleeve four track 7” EP from Kraftwerk. This is the kind of release that, from roughly 1986 onwards, became something of a rare occasion for Kraftwerk, the more that they standardised releases across the world with the ‘Musique Non Stop’ single and ‘Electric Cafe’ album.

Kraftwerk - 'The Robots' Brazilian 7" EP front cover design
^ Kraftwerk – ‘The Robots’ Brazilian 7″ EP front cover design

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Nash The Slash – ‘Novel Romance’ UK 7″ (DinDisc, DIN33, 1981)

A non-album single from Nash The Slash’s brief period signed to the UK DinDisc label in 1981, this record brings together a few of my favourites for its one-off collaborative nature, namely Nash The Slash himself, Bill Nelson in the producers chair and Peter Saville on sleeve design work, under his ‘Dessin Controlee’ nom-de-plume.

Nash The Slash - 'Novel Romance' UK 7" front cover design
^ Nash The Slash – ‘Novel Romance’ UK 7″ front cover design

Continue reading “Nash The Slash – ‘Novel Romance’ UK 7″ (DinDisc, DIN33, 1981)”

Danielle Dax – ‘The Chemical Wedding’ Japanese CD (Vap, 85018-25, 1987)

In a comment on my previous Danielle Dax post about the ‘Yummer Yummer Man’/‘Fizzing Human Bomb’ single, PostPunkMonk absolutely nailed it about Dax with his customary pinpoint accuracy and brevity – “a talent with no fear and ideas to spare”. No better example of that than this curious release, ‘The Chemical Wedding’, which was a mini-album release in Japan only (mini-album I presume, based on its duration) at the tail end of 1987 at The Venue, in Aberdeen. A curio in that it features various tracks that were originally unique and later would re-appear in re-recorded/remixed form over the next couple of years, making this a desirable item to track down for the version crazy completist Dax fans amongst you. (Assuming that’s not just me then!)

Danielle Dax - 'The Chemical Wedding' Japanese CD - front cover design and disc label with folded insert in jewel case
^ Danielle Dax – ‘The Chemical Wedding’ Japanese CD – front cover design and disc label with folded insert in jewel case

I didn’t come by this release at the time though, only much later. I had been able to see Danielle Dax live in November 1987 on a brief UK tour, a great show it was too, the experience something else altogether. Earlier in 1987 was when the ‘Inky Bloaters’ album came out, to some degree of celebration in the music press, it’s fair to say – so, subsequently getting a chance to see the live show in due course, even better.

This release passed by my radar though – perhaps no surprise, as it had no UK equivalent. Seems to have been released in November of that year and when I did find out about it, much later, I assumed it was a straightforward singles A and B sides mopping-up compilation from foreign climes, just the type I like… There was no discogs.com nor eBay to easily find out details back then. But this release was much more than that, as it turns out… a treat for Danielle’s fan base in Japan, since it contains unique versions of ‘Cat-House’ and ‘Whistling For His Love’ and early dibs on ‘Touch Piggy’s Eyes’ and ‘Olamal’, which wouldn’t get releases elsewhere until 1988 and 1995 respectively. And let’s get one thing clear from the off – Dax B sides contain some incredible songs. That 1987 gig at The Venue in Aberdeen and the transformed version of ‘Up In Arms’ a good example – a sonic juggernaut when taking flight in live performance. Continue reading “Danielle Dax – ‘The Chemical Wedding’ Japanese CD (Vap, 85018-25, 1987)”

Duet Emmo – ‘Or So It Seems’ UK 12″ (Mute, MUTE 025, 1983) / French 7″ (Mute/Vogue, VG 108 / 101835, 1983)

This was such a surprising release, completely out of the blue. With three albums already under the project monicker of Dome, an album (‘3R4’) and single (‘Ends With The Sea’) as B.C. Gilbert & G. Lewis, 12″ EP under the name Cupol and the B.C. Gilbert/G. Lewis/Russell Mills exhibition installation soundtrack (‘MZUI’) – evidence witnessed the ex-Wire pair follow a particular sonic path that mostly found its music fashioned from manipulated sound sources – Blackwing studio as instrument in particular – with vocals mostly (but not exclusively) provided by Graham Lewis. Despite the then fairly common default assumption that anything that sounded unusual must be done on ‘synthesizers’, rarely were there much in the way of traditional keyboards and synths to be found on their releases. This release was quite the exception however, no doubt due to the presence of Daniel Miller amongst the ranks.

Duet Emmo 'Or So It Seems' UK 12" single front cover
^ Duet Emmo ‘Or So It Seems’ UK 12″ single front cover

The A side is quite the minimal synth track – building slowly from odd keyboard/synth sequences, the Mute Records house style is there to hear, with the unmistakable vocals of Graham Lewis in particularly fine form on top. It is melodic, make no mistake about it – incredibly so compared to much of the preceding, often stark, output since 1980 by Gilbert and Lewis, where you would have little clue as to quite what instrument or sound source was made to produce what you were hearing. Despite the sweetness in melody and vocals, plenty of more discordant elements were still to be found, particularly the track’s intro section and later saxophone. Continue reading “Duet Emmo – ‘Or So It Seems’ UK 12″ (Mute, MUTE 025, 1983) / French 7″ (Mute/Vogue, VG 108 / 101835, 1983)”