Saturday 31st March
Art of Noise – My son, Justin loved this group; they had a single in 1984. It was certainly different, using samples and electronic noises sounding musical in a strange but very ‘poppy’ way. He bought the album “(Who’s Afraid of) The Art Of Noise” and he played it. Incessantly. And in the way that good music always gets under your skin, so I began to like this strange new stuff. Fifteen years later my daughter Laura bought me another Art of Noise record “The Seduction of Claude Debussey” – a very different record indeed. The band are actually not a band at all. They barely exist and have ever-changing (if only slowly) members; the only really constant is singer Anne Dudley, programmer J J Jexcalik and engineer Gary Langden. Trevor Horn also produced their first two albums on the famous ZZT label. The history of the band is very strange, with splits and re-unions and long silences – but then they are really an avante-garde collective which make occasional music rather than a band in the conventional sense.
My daughter’s present (The Debussey album) made such an impact that I went back and bought ‘Who’s Afraid’ which I loved all over again, despite not hearing it for maybe over twenty years. Such is the power of music.
But the real gem is The Seduction of Claude Debussey, the soundtrack for a film that has not been made. Narrated by John Hurt and featuring Lol Crème on guitars this is a triumph. Hauntingly beautiful and revolutionary in style, I am not sure if it is classical or very modern music – which is maybe the whole point. Using Debussey’s music as a starting point but harnessing modern beats and even rap it is startlingly wonderful. It is really one long piece with recurring themes, maybe ‘Dreaming in Colour’ is the best track.
It is the sort of record you simply do not tire of. And I have always loved when Classical and Modern music work together from Barclay James Harvest (see B) to Malcolm McClaren (see M).
I also have one of apparently many varied compilations Influence, which features many alternate takes and remixes. Of course it features Kiss with Tom Jones and a few from Claude Debussey, but much of the record is repetitive I find.