1. The Gap (Phil Thornalley Mix) - Thompson Twins
2. Turn Your Back on Me (Extended Mix) - Kajagoogoo
3. Burning Flame (Extended Dance Mix) - Vitamin Z
4. Need You Tonight (Liebrand 12" Mix) - INXS
5. I Touch Roses (Long Stemmed Version) - Book Of Love
6. Heaven (Club Mix) - Camouflage
7. West End Girls (Razormaid! Mix) - Pet Shop Boys
8. Enjoy the Silence (Tintin's Static Dub Bum Mix) - Depeche Mode
9. Fade to Grey (Extended) - Visage
10. Imagination - Xymox
11. Don't Leave Me (Special Radio Edit) - Cetu Javu
12. Bizarre Love Triangle (Extended Dance Mix) - New Order
13. New York, New York (Dancefloor Cut Mix) - Microchip League
14. Quite Unusual - Front 242
15. Smooth (Razormaid! Mix) - Cabaret Voltaire
Notes and other random things: This particular episode has a rather strange musical arc to it. It begins with a very frou frou friendly pop burst, settles into a classic alternative retro groove and then ends formidably with a trio of industrial-tinged beauties. As I've mentioned before, these progressions just sort of happen. I don't really plan them, which might explain away some of the unlikely combinations. Then again, maybe, as Depeche Mode sang, I got the balance right for some of you. Either way, I hope you'll find something to like here because there is undeniably plenty on offer.
Thompson Twins have appeared several times before on CRC, usually at the beginning of these episodes as their BPM counts tend to be on the low side. Nevertheless, this track, like the others, is a classic. The original version of The Gap appeared on 1984's Into the Gap album. It was the first of the band's albums to reach platinum status in the U.S. Hold Me Now, Doctor! Doctor! and You Take Me Up were all from that album and were all massive hits for these guys. Thomas Bailey and Alannah Currie, the two constants in the group, formed the band Babble after the dissolution of Thompson Twins. If you haven't already, you should take a listen to them. It's a much more moody and ambient project compared to their pop stuff, but it's a phenomenal listen.
A couple of episodes ago, I mentioned the name Colin Thurston. He was a big time producer who did work for Duran Duran and Talk Talk in the early 80s. Well, here he is again doing the production honors on this great track by Kajagoogoo. The band will forever be known for Too Shy and for lead singer Limahl's trademark spiky locks with mullet, but they did have many other catchy songs (and bizarre hairstyles) in their repertoire. This would be one of them. Though it didn't chart in the U.S., Turn Your Back on Me reached #47 in the U.K. 26 years ago this past March 13. How time flies.
Vitamin Z were more or less a one-hit wonder and depending on what kind of clubs and radio stations you had access to growing up they may be a no-hit wonder. Despite their lack of hit making, the band is notable on several fronts. Besides touring with Tears for Fears, they were only the second collective of Western Europeans to be allowed to film in Turkey, the first being the crew for the movie Midnight Express. (By the way, a sample from that movie turned up on Nine Inch Nails first album Pretty Hate Machine.) They were there to film their video for the song Circus Ring (We Scream About). Also, for current music buffs, lead singer Geoff Barradale is now the band manager for the Arctic Monkeys. In regards to this mix of Burning Flame, band member Nick Lockwood recalls, "Burning Flame was our first release and indeed the first song we wrote together. When we recorded this song, it was our first time together in the recording studio and for me was the beginning of a very long learning experience, which continues to this day." He went on to say the track has special significance for him marking a period of of "beginnings, innocent times, and high hopes."
I haven't had INXS on CRC at all, mostly because I just don't own many dance remixes by these guys. Without the extra measures of pure beats, it's quite hard to mix as much of their work is in the 3-4 minute range. This Liebrand 12" Mix by Ben Liebrand is one I do own. It's a bit more electronically oriented than the original, but a great mix no doubt. The original version of Need You Tonight was the first single released from the fantastic Kick album, but it was actually one of the last songs recorded. The main guitar riff you hear was written by Andrew Farriss, one of the three Farriss brothers in the band. In the official INXS biography he talks about how the riff came to him while trying to hail a cab. Not wanting to lose it, he asked the driver to wait while he ran back up to his hotel room to get "something". Really, though, he ran back up to quickly record the notes, pissing off the cabbie in the process.
Truth be told, the Enjoy the Silence mix is not really anything I created. In reality, I merged the Ecstatic Dub Version of the song with the album version. Why? I love the electronic bass line of the song and wanted to hear more of it. However, the concoction still needed a name, so I searched real hard for something clever. Sadly, I didn't find it. So, I combined the two names and you have the Static Dub Bum Mix. In my mind, this was really the beginning of the end for Depeche Mode in my preferred state. The following album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, saw the addition of more guitar work; the subsequent drug problems that nearly killed lead singer Dave Gahan; and the departure of long-time fixture Alan Wilder, who went on to full-time duty in his Recoil project. As much as I love these guys, I contend that Alan's departure took a huge bite out of the musical arrangements that made classic DM so fantastic. It seemed after that a whole new generation of electronic acts were doing DM better than DM were doing DM. It's always sad to see childhood favorites slipping into the musical abyss, though they did briefly crawl back into daylight again with the incredible song Precious about five years back.
Imagination is one of my favorite Xymox songs from the Twist of Shadows album. The song Obsession from the same album really helped the group burst onto the underground dance scene. Band member Anke Wolbert performed the vocals on this song. Though the original lineup of Ronny Moorings, Pieter Nooten, Frank Weyzig and Anke Wolbert were nothing like the Beatles, I always looked upon her as the Ringo Starr of the band. Like Ringo on the Beatles albums, she usually had a token song to sing on every release. Unlike Ringo's campy creations such as Octopus' Garden, her vocalizations are quite haunting and it's perhaps a shame she didn't take the lead a little bit more. Check out the track Masquerade from the Medusa album as further proof. Here she is at her pop best as are the band as a whole. Xymox are sometimes referred to as the Godfathers of Goth and are still creating dark synth dance music today.
Cetu Javu have appeared on CRC previously. You may recall they are the Spanish band who reside in Germany and sing primarily in English. This version of Don't Leave Me will be a real treat for fans and listeners alike as it is actually in English. The original version off their really hard to find (and very expensive!) second full-length called Where is Where is in Spanish. I found this particular track on a remix compilation I recently bought. When I saw this track was not a remix, I figured it was just the album track, but was pleasantly surprised when the vocals kicked in and it was in English. I know that sounds dorky, but would I be doing a podcast full of 20-30 year old tunes and doing long write-ups like this if I weren't an 80s dork? I'm pretty aware that my dork status was cemented the first time I posted on this site.
Bizarre Love Triangle is a true dance floor classic in every sense. The version here was taken from the single and it's called the Extended Dance Mix. To prove my dorkiness, I thought I would mention that it's the same version that appears on the Substance compilation, though on Substance it does not have the dance mix designation. Instead, you have to go to the fine print where the great Shep Pettibone does get the credit for this gem.
Finally, Microchip League make their second appearance on CRC. In dance club circles, people knew them as MCL. When I first began listening to industrial music toward the end of the 80s, I knew this song as having been performed by MCL. It's kind of embarrassing to admit now, but I didn't immediately associate the initials MCL with Microchip League. So, when someone talked of Microchip League I didn't make the connection between the name and this song eventhough it's by far their best known dance hit. It packed floors back then and is still a killer tune all these years later. Though it has umpteen mixes in total, I chose the Dancefloor Cut Mix for this episode. As is the case with a lot of this early German electronica, Talla 2XLC had his hands all over the production of this project. His work has appeared in earlier episodes of CRC with bands like Robotiko Rejekto and Moskwa TV and will, I'm certain, be laced throughout for as long as I continue posting.
I always say I'm going to shorten these write-ups and then I fail. I'll try harder to be lazy in the future. I promise. As always, if you like any of the artists, be sure to support them as they make this all possible.
Until next time, happy listening!
Photo credit: aussiegall