1. XX21 (Remix) - Fortran 5
2. God Tonight - Real Life
3. Brand New Lover (Dust Monkey's Love Bubble Mix) - Dead Or Alive
4. Oh L'amour (The Funky Sisters Remix) - Erasure
5. Hey! Freethinker (Razormaid! Mix) - Voice Farm
6. State Farm (Madhouse Mix) - Yaz
7. Nothing to Fear - Depeche Mode
8. Relax (Ollie J Mix) - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
9. She's a Secretary (Gothic Mix) - Celebrate The Nun
10. Think (Virtual Reality Mix) - Information Society
11. Disappointed (808 Mix) - Electronic
12. Cubik (Kings County Perspective) - 808 State
13. Creation (Ultimatum Mix) - Stereo MC's
14. Behind the Wheel (Beatmaster Mix) - Depeche Mode
15. Subculture - New Order
It occurred to me the other day that I forgot to dip into the mailbag last week as I hinted I would the episode prior. Granted, the fact that I've been absent from 'casting for a few weeks could lead you all to believe I forgot about my listeners as well. Touche. The truth is, though, that is far, far from accurate. I think about my listeners from sunup to sundown and...okay, for much of the day anyway and...all right, I'm no good at deception. I keep my listeners firmly in mind from about 11:23 am to 11:26 am Tuesday mornings. There, you happy? But they are all good thoughts. Nothing bad...okay, maybe the occassional bad thing. Can we just move on now?
So, here is the mailbag for this week. It reads:
I love your show. You play so much great stuff and your mixing is brilliant. Oh how I wish I had your talent.
Well, thanks for that, Faye. I realize I'm not a household name or anything, but I've been a music collector for most of my life and I try to bring a diverse set of that music to you each week. Thanks for the props.
Oh, wait, there's a post script.
P.S. In case you couldn't tell, I'm being sarcastic.
Okay...that's it for the mailbag this week.
The song selection in this week's 'cast consists mostly of high energy retro dance classics, like Oh L'amour by Erasure and Brand New Lover by Dead Or Alive. Both of those make up the "need more cowbell" portion of the episode. Then there are a few instrumental tracks, like Nothing to Fear by Depeche Mode, Cubik by 808 State and the lead off track XX21 by Fortran 5. That's about three times the normal amount of vocal-less boogie tunes, but the sampling in two of the tracks is sort of like vocals, so it's not so bad, really.
Fortran 5 were a collaboration between David Baker and Simon Leonard. The two orginally performed as I Start Counting, whom you may recall from a previous episode, and will recall from a future episode (that's called foreshadowing, people). The two are currently releasing music under the name Komputer. If you're big into Kraftwerk, you need to check out Komputer's first album World of Tomorrow. It's as close as anyone has come to duplicating their unique sound in recent years. And the tracks are solid for the most part, which makes it even better.
Dead Or Alive have made one prior appearance on CRC and now make their second showing with Brand New Lover. While Pete Burns and the boys were the soul behind the music, the brains go to a production collective by the name of SAW. Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman were responsible for defining much of the Hi-NRG British music scene in the early to late 80s. Acts like Divine, Dead Or Alive, Rick Astley, Debbie Harry and others owe some if not all of their success to these guys. They borrowed heavily from the Motown idea of using "artist development deals" to control all aspects of the music they created. They were also ruthless about protecting their own interests, bringing a lawsuit against the band M|A|R|R|S, for example, for the use of the word "hey" from one of their artists. While gaining early traction in the music press for their forward-looking dance music, they quickly received a lot of backlash for what many thought to be hypocritcal practices. It was claimed some of their artists borrowed heavily from that of their predecessors without giving due credit. Though it's all water(man) under the bridge now, there is no denying the impact these three had on the dance music that was to come later.
Voice Farm were a collective headed by Charly Brown and Myke Reilly. Originally from San Francisco, they garnered plenty of attention with their ridiculously over-the-top live performances and are still releasing music. Their latest album Super Nova Experts dropped in 2009. The track Hey! Freethinker originally appeared on their album "f" from 1987. There's a line in the song repeated over and over that takes some sleuthing to figure out. Though it sounds like "Not your ridicule" it's actually Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō. The phrase is a mantra central to the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, which is designed to help attain enlightenment. It's kind of ironic in a sense, because the song truly is on the verge of annoying in many respects, but it's still a classic no less.
The version of Disappointed by Electronic is probably one you haven't heard before. It's not my favorite iteration as I prefer the original, but this mix by 808 State worked better with the playlist, namely because 808 State's own Cubik appears right after making beat matching a breeze. 808 State have appeared before on a few occasions. Born in Manchester, the band took their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine. Founding member Martin Price originally owned a record shop called Eastern Bloc. It was there he met Gerald Simpson and Graham Massey, who would become instrumental in the group's early success. Simpson left the band after only one year and formed the band A Guy Called Gerald, who have appeared in an earlier episode with the track Voodoo Ray.
Released in 1993, Creation was a track that originally appeared on Stereo MC's smash album Connected. Though they wouldn't do another album for almost a decade, their production work was in great demand during that period, doing remix projects for U2, Electronic, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and others under the name...wait for it...Ultimatum. No strange coincidence the version of the song here would be the Ultimatum Mix.
Depeche Mode appears twice in this episode. It's a Cardinal Rule that I only put no more than one DM and one New Order track on each episode, but I'm breaking it here because I couldn't get the Nothing to Fear track out of my brain this week. Appearing on their A Broken Frame album, this song finds Dave Gahan, Andrew Fletcher and Martin Gore in a transition phase. Founding member Vince Clarke left the group after their previous album Speak and Spell and Alan Wilder had not yet become a fully-fledged member, though he was recruited as a keyboardist to tour with DM in support of the album. It was at this point that Martin became the premier songwriter for the band. While Vince was more regimented in his approach, Martin was a little more resourceful, going about his work with just a voice, Casio keyboard and a foot tap. The success of See You from this album helped make them teen pop stars in the eyes of the media. While that song and Leave in Silence did appear on this album, it's not one of their best in terms of hit production, but it's great for those who want to see where the classic line-up began to split away from their beginnings and blaze a new trail all their own. For DM trivia lovers: the marching sound on A Broken Frame's track Shouldn't Have Done That was created by the feet of Blancmange, who were in the studio next door during the recording sessions for this album.
Released in 1985, Subculture appeared in Razormaid! Mix form in an earlier episode. The version here is taken from their Substance album. It originally appeared on the Low Life album, marking the second single released from that project. Peter Saville, the designer credited with all the New Order album cover artwork, claimed that this song was unworthy of his talent, so the 12" single is housed in nothing but a plain black sleeve. This particular version is the 7" edit and features vocals by Ish Ladesma of the 80s band Oxo.
Thanks for tuning in this week. As always, if you like what you hear, be sure to support the artists who make it all possible. I'll be back with another episode again soon.