Monday, 14 July 2014

7 Singles Collection: Art of Noise - Art of Love

Some studio based ambient sounds...


A-side: Art Of Love
B-Side: Heart Of Love
(China 1990)

I first heard the Art Of Noise when they released a version of Peter Gunn with Duane Eddy (more of which in another entry), then of course they did Kiss with Tome Jones. So far so good - my impressions of them were that they were basically a bunch of composers/technicians/engineers producing dancey records with some old stars. I delved a bit more and found out that yes they were as described but without the former mega-stars they seemed much more interested in soundscapes and doing different things with noise and music. This is why I bought this record.

According the label on the record Art of Love is composed of 4 movements. I may be displaying my ignorance here - but I couldn't make out any differentiation between these movements in the record - they flow so seamlessly that it seems to be one big whole. It all starts off with a kicking dances beat with dreamy ambient sounds over the top, with occasional wordless vocals wander in and out of the sound. Inevitably there's a crashing of waves noise that appears as a motif during the record. Art of Love is one of those slightly trippy, blissed out dance records that were so popular in the early 90's. You can imagine clubs full of people doing a knee-bending, shoulder-shrugging, heading-nodding, all stood on the spot kind of a dance to this. 

The b-side is called Heart of Love (can you see what they did there?), and is a remix of the a-side. Time was, I'd have gone off on a right old rant about how re-mixes were a load of old nonsense, and a waste of time, and basically a way of the uninspired and uncreative to put out another tune without having to do anything extra themselves, and at the same time making the poor record buying public shell out for the same thing multiple times over. I've grown out of that and have mellowed out of that stance - as I've come to realise that re-interpretation of something is a valid and creative act in itself and can produce things that are exciting and new out of something else entirely. If you think about it classical composers have been writing variations on a theme by someone else for centuries, or taking it out if the world of music you have Warhol's infinite variety of soup cans and Marilyn Munroes. Back to Heart of Love - who better to do a remix than a bunch of studio boffins - they do actually produce something that is a different and new interpretation of Art of Love. Initially it feels like there's more energy on this b-side, there's a repetitive refrain at the start that chugs away throughout the entire record. It seems to take ages before any rhythm kicks in - it's constantly building and building, we get more crashing waves in the background, and just when my patience is wearing thin with the repetition, we get some bongo and wailing action. This is good, but doesn't last long, because it's soon back to the same short refrain again. I had the kettle boiling in the background whilst I was listening to this - and the sounds just blended straight in. 

 In the end it's a record that tries to be both populist and experimental at the same time and doesn't really achieve either.

Next time some wistful hippies...

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