The Seduction of Claude DebussyCould it be that my musical tastes are simply too narrow to grok this, or is this, in fact, one of the most disappointing comeback albums I’ve ever heard? Original Art of Noise alumni Trevor Horn (who bailed after the group’s debut album in 1984), Anne Dudley (now an Oscar-winning composer of film scores) and Paul Morley are joined by former 10cc founding member Lol Creme for the first new Art of Noise material in a decade. It’s a shame it came out like this, though. With a rather thin shell of a concept – Debussy as the first to drag 20th century music into the 20th century and out of the 19th – the album consists largely of drowsy trance music, with sporadic and often cryptic narration from actor John Hurt. The highlight of the album is a suite consisting of the tracks “Rapt: In The Evening Air” and “Metaforce”, the latter of which wakes things up for a few minutes thanks to Rakim’s rap and a solid beat. (“Rapt”…rapped…get it?) A bonus disc included with early pressings of the CD features three remixes of “Metaforce”, and after one listening of each CD, I’ve come to the conclusion that the bonus disc may actually be better than the album itself, even though I’m seldom in the mood for rap.

Rating: 3 out of 4Since Art of Noise is right up there with the Alan Parsons Project as an early example of a group whose style, ideas and execution are driven by the producer(s) rather than the musicians, The Seduction of Claude Debussy is an example of more thought going into the production than the music itself. Let this be a lesson to the Art of Noise: there still needs to be music involved, if you don’t mind.

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  1. Il Pleure (at the turn of the century) (8:02)
  2. Born On a Sunday (4:40)
  3. Dreaming In Colour (6:42)
  4. On Being Blue (4:58)
  5. Continued In Colour (1:20)
  6. Rapt: In The Evening Air (4:22)
  7. Metaforce (3:44)
  8. The Holy Egoism of Genius (7:57)
  9. La Flute de Pan (2:45)
  10. Metaphor on the Floor (2:06)
  11. Approximate Mood Swing No. 2 (2:15)
  12. Pause (2:30)
  13. Out of This World, version 138 (5:25)
    Bonus Disc:

  1. Metaforce (4:53)
  2. Metaforce: The Sighs of a Metaphor – remix by Roni Size (6:54)
  3. Metaforce: The Size of a Metaphor – remix by Roni Size (5:40)
  4. Metaforce: The Beat of a Metaphor – remix by Rhythm Masters (6:53)

Released by: Universal / Zang Tung Tumb
Release date: 1999
Disc one total running time: 56:48
Disc two total running time: 23:23