Influence: Best Of The Art Of NoiseA while back, this site reviewed a 4-disc Art Of Noise box set, And What Have You Done With My Body, God?, which spent its entire running time on the group’s first EP and first full-length album, and the various detours that led them there, in essence rehashing the same handful of songs in subtly different evolutionary stages over the entire running time of 4 CDs. It’s a very strange thing to think that, for an encore, we now get Influence, a mere 2-CD set which spans the group’s entire career.

What’s more, Influence rolls out some mixes that I haven’t heard before: a stand-alone single version of “Legs” that wraps up within its own style rather than crashing abruptly into the next song on its original album, a very different mix of “Paranoimia” (but still with Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer vocals), and so on. In other words, unlike a best-of album that rehashes what you’ve heard, it gives you some slightly different takes on the familiar expected hits and near-misses (and, atypically for an Art Of Noise retrospective, The Seduction of Claude Debussy is very well represented, though we barely hear anything from the album Below The Waste). There are also a great many things here that I’ve never heard before: TV theme songs, ad jingles, and other oddities. There’s also an intriguing track called “Something Missing” that hints at different creative directions that may have been under consideration for what became the Claude Debussy album.

If there’s a disappointment with Influence, it’s the fact that the career-spanning collection wasn’t given the 4-disc breathing room that And What Have You Done With My Body, God? was; that earlier box set was a bit of a masturbatory exercise in lamenting what plans Trevor Horn and Paul Morley originally had for Art Of Noise (which also seemed to be the point of the much earlier – and appropriately titled – Daft compilation…okay, guys, we get it). Influence deserved at least equal space, simply because Art Of Noise, at all points in its history, is worth a retrospective that truly has some scope. The two discs that are there, however, are hugely enjoyable and highly recommended – to 4 out of 4this day, the Art Of Noise in its various incarnations simply do not get their due for changing the course of electronic music, opening up the eyes of both the listening public and fellow musicians to the possibilities offered by the then-approaching age of sampling real world sounds, both musical and non-musical in origin, to build songs out of.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. A Is For Beginning (2:02)
  2. Moments In Love (4:39)
  3. Beat Box (Diversion) (3:59)
  4. Close (To The Edit) (4:11)
  5. Love Beat (5:15)
  6. Promenade One (0:36)
  7. Legs (3:30)
  8. Peter Gunn (featuring Duane Eddy) (3:58)
  9. Paranoimia (Paranoid Mix) (featuring Max Headroom) (6:33)
  10. Dragnet (Art Of Noise 7″ mix) (3:04)
  11. Promenade Two (0:40)
  12. Ode To Don Jose (4:14)
  13. Acton Art (2:51)
  14. The Krypton Factor Theme (0:52)
  15. Kiss (featuring Tom Jones) (3:32)
  16. Finale (2:40)
  17. Metaforce (5:46)
  18. Something Is Missing (5:21)
  19. The Holy Egoism Of Genius (7:59)
  20. Bonus Track (2:32)
    Disc Two

  1. Interlude One (0:15)
  2. Beep Beep (3:57)
  3. Beat Box (4:43)
  4. A Time For Fear (J.J.’s 12″ mix) (4:07)
  5. Dainty (1:44)
  6. Moments In Love (Anne To Tears Mix) (3:52)
  7. Moments In Love (Monitor Mix) (featuring Lucky Gordon) (2:09)
  8. Interlude Two (featuring Lucky Gordon) (0:17)
  9. This Is Your Life (1:59)
  10. This Is Your Life (4:35)
  11. I’m A Stranger Here Myself (5:22)
  12. Cassandra (6:03)
  13. Interlude Three (1:32)
  14. Dr. Gradus (1:12)
  15. Dreaming In Colour (via Way Out West) (6:46)
  16. On Being Blue (New Mix) (5:48)
  17. Beau Soir (2:51)
  18. Balance (3:18)
  19. Dr. Gradus (1:01)
  20. The Invention Of Love (2:50)
  21. Bonus Track (1:47)

Released by: Salvo
Release date: 2010
Disc one total running time: 74:14
Disc two total running time: 66:08