Producers – Made In Basing Street

Made In Basing StreetThey may not be the Traveling Wilburys, but this group – consisting of veteran producers and session musicians developing a few jams into full-blown songs – may have turned out the best album of 2012 while no one was watching.

With Lol Creme (10cc) and Trevor Horn (Yes, Art of Noise, The Buggles) as full-time members, it’s a given that this group’s original numbers come from guys who know how to write a song or two. What’s surprising is just how cohesive the whole thing is – Made In Basing Street bolts from one strong, memorable number to another without pausing for breath, or, as the old saying goes, “all killer, no filler.” None of the songs sound like they were album tracks farted out to fill space.

And it’s hard to even pick a favorite. “You And I” recalls the early ’80s, when synths were a novel (and perhaps occasionally overused) new addition to the instrumental palette, while such songs as “Waiting For The Right Time”, “Watching You Out There” and “Every Single Night In Jamaica” recall all that was good about ’70s rock anthems. Stripped-down numbers like “Stay Elaine” and “Barking Up The Right Tree” are no less memorable. Needless to say, each song is impeccably arranged and crafted, since the group’s members have built their entire careers on pairing the right song with the right production.

4 out of 4With all of the members’ careers still chugging along nicely, I’m under no illusion that we’ll be getting a follow-up to Made In Basing Street anytime soon, and in any case, these classic rock Justice Leagues are often formed and dissolved at the whim of their members. But I sincerely hope there will be a follow-up at some point, simply because the debut album was so good. Half a year later, I’m still playing this one a lot.

Order this CD

    Disc One

  1. Freeway (5:14)
  2. Waiting For The Right Time (4:15)
  3. Your Life (6:26)
  4. Man On The Moon (4:02)
  5. Every Single Night In Jamaica (5:16)
  6. Stay Elaine (3:44)
  7. Barking Up The Right Tree (3:21)
  8. Garden of Flowers (4:14)
  9. Watching You Out There (5:35)
  10. You & I (5:47)
    Disc Two (Deluxe Edition only)

  1. Your Life (extended) (7:40)
  2. Garden Of Flowers (alternative) (5:53)
  3. Seven (3:50)
  4. There’s Only So Much You Can Do (3:29)
  5. Freeway (extended) (12:06)

Released by: The LAST Label
Release date: June 25, 2012
Total running time: 48:32 (single disc) / 33:13 (deluxe edition bonus disc)

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Art Of Noise – Influence: Best Of The Art Of Noise

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