Trevor Horn never wanted to learn to read the manual and learn how to program a Fairlight. At the time, one of the most powerful and expensive synthesiser systems, the Fairlight impressed its sound and sequencing on the biggest hits of the 80s thanks to Horn’s team of technicians and producers. One of them, JJ Jeczalik, became accomplished at working the machine’s primitive sampling and looping capabilities. Add producer Gary Langhan, composer Anne Dudley, and you have the Art of Noise.
Paul Morley wanted in the project, too – lifting the group’s name from the writings of the Fascist artist, Russoli. It was never clear what Morley added, other than words on record covers, but Horn’s contributions are also difficult to detect. The project used his tools and studios, and his label released its first records, but the Art of Noise eventually moved on.
There is more history before we get to the present day, but for the moment we are interested in the emergence on streaming services of various versions of the band’s first hits, “Moments in Love” and “Close to the Edit.”
“Share (Moments in Love)” appeared on 1 September 2023 with eight tracks. From “Moments in Love (Original, Part One)” to “The Spring Flowers,” established fans will be familiar with the material, but it is a solid reminder of how ahead of the times the group were. If this isn’t one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, then the heart is dead.
The rhythms of “Close (to the Edit)” should be firmly embedded in the heads of any electronic music fan from the 1980s. The Art of Noise team worked on Malcolm McLaren’s b-boy/world music crossover with Trevor Horn, and they both borrowed the feeling of the streets and returned phrases for sampling by the original hip hop generation. Class.
From the band’s FB post:
Two tracks arrive on download and streaming platforms for the first time: the original 7″ A-side mix (“altogether now”) and the 12″ picture disc A-side mix (“Edited”).
Three tracks from the various original 12″ vinyl editions of Close (To The Edit) return to digital platforms: Close-Up, Close-Up, Closely Closely (Enough’s Enough). The single’s classic B-side, originally titled A Time To Clear (It Up) on the 12″ picture disc rounds out the set.
All tracks featured are taken from the original master tapes. In the case of Edited, that’s a copy master from Good Earth Studios of Dean Street, London dated 05 February 1985. And in the case of the 7″ A-side mix, that’s the original Town House cutting master by Gordon Vicary from 17 September 1984.
The 7″ version itself was edited together by Nicholas Froome, assisted by Dave Meegan, on 05 April 1984 at Sarm East studios working with tapes originally recorded by Dudley/Jeczalik/Langan on 12 May 1983.
Art of Noiseologists will note that, when the Influence compilation was released in 2010, the ‘single version’ of Close (To The Edit) it included was, in fact, the earlier, slightly longer 04:11 edit. This will arrive on digital platforms later this month, under its original title, Beat Box (Diversion Seven).