Archive for the ‘Region crazy’ Category

Thomas Leer – ‘Letter From America’ US double album (Cachalot Records / Cherry Red, A RIPE 1, 1982)

Friday, January 14th, 2022

‘Letter From America’ is a double vinyl compilation album and cassette released in the US in 1982 that gathered together all of the tracks from two of the wonderful Thomas Leer’s original UK releases for Cherry Red records, the ‘4 Movements’ four track 12″ EP and the ‘Contradictions’ 2 x 12″ album, in a sleeve that adapted the Matisse cut-outs inspired design of the ‘4 Movements’ EP.

Thomas Leer - 'Letter From America' US double LP - front sleeve design

^ Thomas Leer – ‘Letter From America’ US double LP – front sleeve design

The ‘4 Movements’ 12″ EP had been my entry point – specifically, the track ‘Tight As A Drum’, which I had heard played on the BBC Radio 1 John Peel show one night, August 1981. It sounded amazing – such a busy, unique sound and structure, its no surprise that that track in particular has had something of a renaissance by its inclusion on various post-punk compilations over the years. The sound has movement alright – like it’s been plugged into the voltage and animated into life as some form of echoing dub that is both coming and going at the same time. (more…)

Year by Year: Cocteau Twins – 1985

Friday, January 7th, 2022

1985 was a year in which Cocteau Twins played around with expectations a good bit, perhaps randomly, but perhaps also a reaction to how close they had sailed to the mainstream the year before with the successes of ‘Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops’ and ‘Treasure’. Starting off their main releases for the year with a single/EP release, by year’s end the band released what most likely would have ordinarily been issued as an album as two separate 12” EPs instead. Meanwhile, exclusive versions of existing tracks would keep on coming on compilation releases. Plus, the band’s first ever compilation of choice cuts from their back catalogue – albeit one that was intended to gather up single tracks, obscurities and album tracks rather than anything as obvious as a singles or ‘best of’ collection.

Electronic Soundmaker and Computer Music – magazine and compilation cassette – February 1985 issue

A real obscurity this one – since the magazine contained an interview with the band, somewhat reluctantly mulling over the previous year’s ‘Treasure’ album, the accompanying cover-mounted cassette contained one of the band’s tracks, ‘Otterley’ – a different, more basic version compared to the album mix by the sound of it… this text is from the magazine;

Featured on our cassette this month is an original version of Otterley, the second to last track on the album. I wondered whether that too began with a drum track.

Simon: “No, that one didn’t. There was a click. It was an open tuning that began it.”

Robin: “All there is on it, in fact I think this might illustrate what I mean by treating and mucking about with instruments, when you hear this particular version, all there is on it is two tracks of guitar, one track of bass and one track of percussion. We only used four tracks. I like to create a sort of space, but not through sort a’ not playing a lot…”

Sadly, I have yet to come by this cassette – anyone out there with a copy?

NME Readers’ Poll Winners ‘84 7” EP (NME, GIV 1)

Side One:

  1. Bronski Beat: ‘Hard Rain’
  2. Cocteau Twins: ‘Ivo’ (New Version)

Side Two:

  1. The Smiths: ‘What She Said’ (Live Version)
  2. U2: ‘Wire’ (Dub Mix)
NME 1984 Poll Winners EP - side 1

^ NME 1984 Poll Winners EP – side 1


Gang Of Four – ‘I Love A Man In A Uniform’ (Remix) US 12″ EP (Warner Brothers Records, 0-29907, 1982)

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

A desirable release back in the day for UK dwellers such as I, another tasty US 12″ EP that contains otherwise unavailable mixes and, in ‘Producer’, a track that was never issued this side of the ocean at all – and packaged up in a unique sleeve design as well, taking its styling cue from the ‘Songs Of The Free’ parent album.

Gang Of Four US 1982 'I Love A Man In A Uniform' (Remix) 12" EP front cover

^ Gang Of Four US 1982 ‘I Love A Man In A Uniform’ (Remix) 12″ EP front cover

Side One:

I Love A Man In A Uniform (Remix) (5:35)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.
Remixed by Steve Sinclair with Hugo Burnham. Engineered by Randy Burns. Executive Producer David Rostamo.

Side Two:

Producer (2:33)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.

I Love A Man In A Uniform (Dub Version) (4:48)
Produced by Mike Howlett and with Jon King and Andrew Gill.
Remixed by Steve Sinclair. Engineered by Randy Burns. Executive Producer David Rostamo. (more…)

Gang Of Four – ‘Yellow’ US 12″ EP (Warner Brothers Records, MINI 3494, 1980)

Sunday, November 28th, 2021

Back in the early ‘80s and my nascent record buying bug began to flourish with a regular wage packet from a Saturday morning job, there were many a tempting release to be found in the record racks of local shops such as 1-Up, The Other Record Shop, Bruce Millers, Easy Rider and the like. The exotic, foreign pressed 12” EPs or mini-album that scooped up tracks from individual 7” single releases and brought them together in a new sleeve design were especially eye-catching. With its bright yellow cover design and stark type arrangement, this positively shouted from the racks. However, it would be some time later before I would come across a copy – before then would be a copy of ‘Solid Gold’ swapped from a school friend and the wonderful ‘Another Day, Another Dollar’ mini-album, found in the second-hand racks of 1-Up, which I have written about before. And far from the expected compilation of tracks from the singles, on close listening there is far more going on, as we’ll see…

Gang Of Four US 1980 'Yellow' 12" EP front cover

^ Gang Of Four US 1980 ‘Yellow’ 12″ EP front cover

In the UK (and various other territories) the Gang Of Four were signed to the  establishment machinery that was EMI Records – however, in the US, they were signed to Warner Brothers Records instead – since the US EMI equivalent, Capitol Records, had passed on the chance to sign the band (a facsimile of the rejection letter having most recently been one of the items of ephemera in the 2021 ‘77-81’ boxed set). So, there was inevitably some leeway for Warner Brothers and their take on how the band’s releases should work – this EP (which isn’t actually called ‘Yellow’, though that has become its unofficially official title these days, not least on CD re-issues). Additionally, when it comes to the music, this EP is not quite as straightforward as its cover credits might indicate. (more…)

Side by side: Brian Eno – Music for Films Volume 2 (1983) and More Music For Films (2005)

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

Having already taken a deep dive into the complexities and version craziness of Brian Eno’s ‘Music For Films’, we are by no means done here. There is plenty left in the tank with the variations of the belated follow-up volume – with a particular focus on how you might piece together a digital version. (The answer is, not completely…)

Brian Eno - 'Music For Films Volume 2' 1983 front cover

^ Brian Eno – ‘Music For Films Volume 2’ 1983 front cover