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In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...

Bip
In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 21, 2021 08:34PM
I have a ridiculous number of 12” singles in my vinyl collection. I was never a club DJ or anything...but recently the amount of them I had sort of crept up on me.

I guess my age-bracket kind of helped pre-destine me to fall prey to the exciting metallic sheen of 80s big electronic drum sounds. But did I really need ALL these blancmange and gene loves jezebel extended mixes??

But then, I’m in no big hurry to sell them off (most likely for pennies on the dollar). I’m glad to have them....but ask me to name any that strike me as being really truly special, (other than obvious ones like Blue Monday or Grandmaster Flash and the wheels of steel), I don’t think I have too many favorites.

Did you ever buy/collect 12” singles? Do you have certain 12” singles that you covet? Do 12” singles make you want to just puke??

What’s your take on the format?
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 21, 2021 11:08PM
I have a few of them, including the New Order and Grandmaster Flash 12" singles mentioned above. A few of them do stand out in my memory as items that I was eager to buy -- all of Joy Division's singles, a lot of New Order's, a few by Yazoo, the original 12" of Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" and the original of Kraftwerk's "Tour de France." I don't seek these items out, but I don't disparage them either.
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Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 22, 2021 10:43AM
I have a lot of Duran Duran and INXS from HS. The Reflex flex flex flex flex and the like. One really cool one I have is Bela Lagosi's Dead, nice art work. It must have been a thing Bip, I have numerous electro mixes that I would have bought from 1985-1989 of tons of random bands. Another one of my favs is the Cocteau Twins Love's Easy Tears. I have told the story on here before but LSS, the first time I heard the Twins was at 33 RPM not the intended 45! I imagine some of them are worth some dough but not really interested in selling. I also have some EP cassettes around.
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 22, 2021 11:30AM
I got rid of all my old vinyl years ago, but I was certainly fond of the 12” format. I didn’t have many of those discs, but the ones I had I loved. When I was a college DJ, I used to open my show with the 12” of Japan’s live “Canton” recording. Other favorites of mine included the same band’s “The Art of Parties”, as well as the terrific extended remix of John Foxx’s “Endlessly.” I also had, among others, Foxx’s “Your Dress” (his sleeve designs were gorgeous), “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” the red vinyl “Life in Tokyo,” “Up the Hill Backwards” (with Bowie stamps!), the original “Tour de France," and Yukihiro Takahashi's "Stranger Things Have Happened" (which featured a fantastic B-side instrumental, "Metaphysical Jerks," with ace Mick Karn basswork.) All those records--which sounded fantastic on headphones--received regular play on both my home and the radio station turntables. The 12” remix of Ultravox’s “We Came to Dance” was good (though I lamented the loss of Warren Cann’s spoken bit), but it was the B-side, “Overlook,” that I played repeatedly. It remains one of my favorite Vox compositions.
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 22, 2021 04:05PM
As I collected records, I discovered all of the rules as I went along. Having no siblings, I didn’t have anyone to point me in any particular direction. Growing up in the seventies, there were either albums or singles to buy, and singles were 7″ slabs of vinyl with two songs on them. Period. By the time I got into high school and was being tempted by New Wave music, the better record stores in town had import sections, where this new style was available in its pure and uncut form. Usually along with the import albums in JEM polybags, selling for $10.00 a pop (as opposed to the $6.98 US LP list price at the time – 1979), there were also smaller boxes of 7″ import singles.

These delights gave you two songs that were not widely available in America for the usual price of $3.00 apiece. If you had ten bucks to spend, it was possible to buy a domestic album and taste the excitement of an import 7″ single as well. It was also a cool way to hear songs by your favorites in some cases many months before said tunes ever got a domestic release, if ever. And even if it did show up on their US album, usually the B-Side was a tune that only appeared on the single; giving your $3.00 investment value later on down the road if you bought the album. New Wave was nothing if not a return to pop single values (though viewed through a filter of new attitudes and technology) following a decade of bloated, album length decadence.

I knew of “disco singles” but because I never bought disco records, this was something I was aware of but never encountered. In any case, they were not terribly common in record stores of the time (late 70s), which were all pretty much still hippie-esque, sandalwood-scented, quasi head shops. But in 1980, somewhere in the import bins, I had started seeing 12″ records in polybags that retailed for $5.00 instead of $10.00. I didn’t know exactly what they were at first. They looked like 12″ EPs which had become more common in The States by this time. These were comprised of generally four to six tracks for less than the price of an album. This was seen as an effective way to break many of these new, weird New Wave bands the majors were signing but radio was definitely not playing.

The one that sticks in my mind was the 12″ of “Vienna” by Ultravox. I was a huge fan of this album but the 12″ single from it was in a full LP style sleeve [paperboard + inner sleeve] and had a different cover.


Chrysalis | UK | CHS 12 2481 – The UK 12″ single cover


Chrysalis | US | CHR 1296 – The US LP cover I had

Therefore, I made the rash assumption that perhaps what I was seeing was the UK LP cover design as opposed to the B&W band shot on my US copy. I passed on this strange record, at the time.

Curiously enough, I can’t remember the very first 12″ single that I eventually bought, but it certainly happened in 1981. By the end of the year I was definitely savvy enough to buy these new format singles. Usually the A-side was extended and at the least there was a single non-LP B-Side. Sometimes two. It didn’t take long for my import 7″ single consumption to pretty much plummet in favor of 12″ singles. I liked the idea of extended A-sides and they very much fed my collector’s gene. By 1982 I generally eschewed 7″ import singles even if they group involved was part of my core collection; OMD, JAPAN, Ultravox, etc. It wasn’t until many years later that I began re-collecting 7″ material from these artists.

So buying import 12″ singles was definitely the way to keep up with my favorite groups. The fidelity of the format was as good as music sounded in the pre-CD era [barring 7.875 i.p.s. reel-to-reel]. Those fat grooves gave much better bass response than even LPs had. As the early eighties lurched forward, the price moved from $5.00 to $6.00. By the time of the post-MTV 2nd British Invasion, the US labels jumped pretty hard on the 12″ single bandwagon. Domestic material proliferated at this time, for the lower price point of $4.98 a pop. This was a nice profit to the labels, which sold 7″ singles for about 60% less.

Sometimes I found that I could wait a little while and get the US version of a 12″ for the lower price point. Sometimes these were otherwise identical to their UK counterparts. Other times, the packaging and material differed, giving the discerning consumer two copies of a single that needed purchasing. The US labels took the lead in remixing with experts like Steve Thompson, Michael Barbiero, Francois Kevorkian being among the first names that showed up as specifically credited remixers. Early UK mixes were uncredited; presumably the original producer/engineer/tape op was responsible for the remix. But after a few years, the UK followed suit, though the adventurism of the domestic remixes generally handed them a lead of several years over their European counterparts. At least until the mid-to-late eighties.

By 1984, the rules changed again. The sound of Trevor Horn with Frankie Goes To Hollywood ruled the UK charts almost all year. And with only three singles! How did they do this? Here's a history lesson. I’d first heard “Relax” when it was featured on MTV’s “London Calling” program and was so smitten with it that I listened to a cassette tape I’d dubbed of the stereo FM feed I’d recorded of the program [in those pre-stereo TV days] all day the following day. I bought the import single of “Relax” as quickly as I could. I distinctly remember the first time I heard the next single, “Two Tribes.”

I was at a concert for Elvis Costello & The Attractions touring behind their sorry “Goodbye Cruel World” album. Fortunately, Nick Lowe was opening, thereby providing some good memories of the evening in terms of live music, but the big event of the night that had all the kids talking was the between set music where the crew were playing what was obviously “Two Tribes,” the much-discussed second FGTH single in its full 12″ glory.

Quote

“Mine is the last voice you’ll ever hear. Don’t be alarmed.”

As soon as it hit the shops it was in my hands. The ZTT packaging, as I was accustomed to by now, was as fascinating as the ornate and cinematic “Annihilation” remix of the A-side. Everything about this record was designed to push my buttons from the provocative sleeve images [flirting with Ronald Reagan assassination imagery with the placement of the spindle hole in the dimwit Gipper’s forehead] to the no expense spared production of the record, complete with civil defense narration.


ZTT | UK | 12 ZTAS3

Sated, [or so I thought] I went about my business buying records every weekend for a little while and then, I was in a shop I didn’t usually frequent when I spotted this:


ZTT | UK | WARTZ3

What th’ hell…?!? It looked like “Two Tribes,” only everything about the package had been… remixed. The B-side [a cover of Edwin Starr’s “War”] had been made the A-side and “Two Tribes” was now the B-side of the single. My mind hadn’t twigged to the concept of multiple remixes of the same song, but the packaging was so intriguing, I plunked down my precious money anyway – just to see what was going on here! The record had a second remix of both songs that differed from the original 12ZTAS3 that I had bought earlier. The “Two Tribes” remix in particular had the wonderful middle eight that was not on the first 12″ single.

Quote

“Tell the world that you’re winning. Loving life, loving life.“

A line in the sand had been crossed, and ultimately erased. ZTT managed to keep interest in the tune via a plethora of remixes released at regular intervals that saw the song in the UK charts all that summer. There were ultimately four different “Two Tribes” 12″ singles. The two described above, [technically one is a “War” single] and the “Carnage” and “Hibakusha” mixes, as shown below.


ZTT | UK | XZTAS3 – The Carnage Mix


ZTT | UK | XZIP1 – The Hibakusha mix

The “Carnage” mix appeared on both XZTAS3 and WARTZ3 and the “Hibakusha” mix in particular was a limited edition of 5000 and is not in my collection, though I have the mix on a CD compilation. I imagine by the time of the fourth remix, even the best minds of ZTT [and we’re talking about Trevor Horn, Paul Morley and the Theam here] couldn’t bring themselves to bash out a fifth remix of the single, which I’ve never tired of hearing in any version, truthfully.

After the summer of 1984 where ZTT let the genie out of the bottle [though they did it magnificently], it would be viewed as a sign of impoverishment to only release a single extended remix of a track. A pair of 12″ singles would be common and by the time that ecstasy fueled the UK’s rave culture in 1987, half a dozen remixes of a track would be as common as dirt. Labels would throw money [not much, I’m guessing] at remixers to lend mystique to singles and would use the spaghetti gun technique to see if they could turn any old dross into a hit via yet another remix.

At a certain point, the styles moved to the point where techno/rave/dj mixes lost me in the early 90s and subsequently, I stopped collecting many artists who were once “core collection” groups cold due to the fact that I no longer enjoyed the remixed singles I used to seek out diligently. If I couldn’t have it all, I would have none of it any more. Farewell: Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure et. al. But for a good ten years, the remixed 12″ single was a must-have. Ultimately, it was the most attractive way of collecting the output of the many, many artists whom I coveted.

40 Years later and I've seen the amount of old 12" singles [to say nothing of 7" singles] in stock at record stores all but eliminated. Hell, used and new CD floor space has been largely eliminated as well! Most stores in town have no CD format product on sale at all! All to make way for the steamroller of new vinyl LP production to better suck the dinero out of the pockets of youth. Why would anyone store stock a single they would sell for maybe $5.00 when that space could be used for an LP at $30+? As I have been tightly focused on buying used 12" singles and 7" singles as I strive to obtain the tiny nooks and crannies of many artists' careers that have evaded digital distribution for the last 30 years, the current market where old 12" singles are simply GONE is like a hell on earth scenario to me! The days when I can visit a store and load up on highly desirable 12" singles is pretty much gone. I sure hope that all of that wax I'm dying to buy didn't go into a landfill!

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2021 02:44PM by Post-Punk Monk.
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Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 22, 2021 04:37PM
Obviously, I have backlog from the blog on this issue...

FAVORITE REMIXES

Visage | Fade To Grey [Dance Mix] | 1981

This record holds a special place for me since it was the first 12″ remix that I can remember buying. The US remix of “Fade To Grey” was dramatically different from the tepidly extended German 12″, which resembled typical extended mixes of the time. Looped instro sections edited with a razor and block. Not so for the US remix by John Luongo, which amped up the thunderous synth percussion of it all with massive amounts of reverb and time dilation. The dubbed out coda gave it a massive footprint that really shook the earth.

Spandau Ballet | Instinction [Trevor Horn Remix] B/W Chant No. 1 [Remix] | 1982

This is a killer twofer and the single most potent Spandau Ballet release one could possibly own. The A-side represents the sound of TCH pumping a passable album track full of sonic steroids until it almost bursts! Spandau rebounded from two poor selling singles to regain their hold on the top ten in the UK with the gargantuan “Instinction.” As if to set the bar impossibly high, the high-pressure funk of “Chant No. 1” appeared in its earth-straddling eight minute, dubbed out jazzfunk version as previously appeared in the “Diamond” boxed set of 12″ mixes. Original producer Richard James Burgess delivered these goods.

Duran Duran | Planet Earth [Night Version] | 1981

This was the first Double Duran song I ever heard, and it didn’t wait too long before running out to buy their just-released album. The US LP had the long, “night version” supplanting the 7″ mix proffered on the UK album. The long disco buildup culminated in an orgy of bass and percussion from their very capable rhythm section before heading over the falls into the song proper. Back in the day, Duran and their producer, Colin Thurston, actually made an extended mix by re-recording a new arrangement of the song since the arcane arts of remixing were still filtering down in the trade, and hadn’t reached them yet!

Roxy Music | Angel Eyes [12″ Version] | 1979

The band that all of these people emulated, was first across the finish line for developing a transformative 12″ version. Anyone who had heard the jazzy, downbeat LP version of “Angel Eyes” on the “Manifesto” album could not have been prepared for the song’s complete reconstruction as an over-the-top, gossamer eurodisco, neutron bomb of a track. The song was re-recorded and extended by Bob Clearmountain, who knew a few things about how to make a track sound massive. The compressed rhythm section was joined by Andy MacKay’s heraldic horns, ridiculously luscious harp runs and juxtaposed by stinging, sinister [was that e-bow] guitar licks courtesy of Phil Manzanera. Ferry’s crooning vacillates between abandoned release and tough tension.

The Blow Monkeys | It Pays To Be [Long] | 1988

This was my favorite remix of 1988, technically, the beginning of the end for my relationship with daaaance music for a very long span. House music was a reductive force for my ears; grinding down the complexity of music and removing the touches that I found stimulating to emphasize elements that didn’t move me. I couldn’t say that about this release. It took a great single and turned it into a sumptuous dessert of a tune; all whipped cream and expansive filigree. The string buildups never seem to end… and keep me expecting greater and greater plateaus to come. It had the widescreen sound that most of the mixes we’ll consider on this thread share.

Mari Wilson | Baby It’s True [Discotheque Arrangement] | 1982

This was another good single turned into something grandiose for the 12″ remix. As produced by behind-the-scenes mastermind Tot Taylor, the song is a knowing pastiche of pre-Beatles British pop and fully enjoyable as that, but the 12″ pulls out all of the stops as it has been inflated into what was undoubtedly the live arrangement that took its precious time with emcee Hank B. Hive delivering a hilarious soliloquy that simultaneously introduced the band and deflated their knowing showbiz pretensions in one fell swoop.

ABC | Poison Arrow [U.S. Remix] | 1983

This was it. The grand daddy of them all. Surely the finest remix to come down the pike such as to render the already spectacular 7″ mix virtually null and void! Having spent a small fortune already on the song, it seems that Trevor Horn was given another king’s ransom to enlist a small orchestra to embellish this spectacular construction with all manner of showroom jazz band chops as the vibe shifted to something altogether more sophisticated, while retaining every inch of the over the top impact of the original mix. [applause]

Cabaret Voltaire | Sensoria [12″ remix] | 1984

This was something astounding when it surfaced in 1984… the first mashup as remixer John Potoker seamlessly stitched together parts of Cabaret Voltaire’s songs “So Right” and “Sensoria” from “Micro-Phonies” into a sledgehammer monster for the dance floor thanks to sonic glue provided by David Ball and Robin Scott. That’s a lot of cooks, but never has the broth been so powerful. In the process, Cabaret Voltaire moved into the epicenter of my interests for the next few years.

Echo + The Bunnymen | The Killing Moon [All Night Version] | 1984

This may have been just a case of the full length mix having been edited down for the LP/7″ cut, but what a difference the Full Monty made in this case! The 7″ mix alone was wildly steeped in midnight dramatics, but the unfettered arrangement on 12″ unfurls and extends the air of fatal, yet warm, spectacle to heretofore unimaginable degrees for a full nine minutes of luxury. Adam Peters orchestral arrangements were profoundly evocative and the Gil Norton mix is a peak experience.

Heaven 17 | Let Me Go [12″ version] | 1982

Pity Heaven 17 for writing this song with the idea that it would be the make or break single for them in the UK. They created a world class arrangement and filled it with richly stacked harmonies [take that, Roy Thomas Baker!] wherein a fractalized choir of the band members pushed this craft into the stratophere. It sounded like a million dollars had been spent in its creation, and the 12″ version got the balance right between the slinking synthfunk, the metronomic Linn Drum, the lyrical bass guitar of John Wilson, and those million dollar vocals. Alas, to no avail. The single tragically failed to be their calling card in the UK, where it just failed to crack the top 40. In America, it’s possibly the only Heaven 17 song anyone could name! It rose to 4 on the US dance charts, while smoldering at 74 in Pop.

Midge Ure | Call Of The Wild [extended mix] | 1986

I sometimes give Midge Ure a lot of stick, but his last hurrah, really is a tremendous record. With a 12″ version that drastically re-arranged the flow of the song to amazing effect. Rik Walton’s remix is a thunderous creation opening with wild, almost metallic, guitar chords careening over driving rhythms that sounded like the hooves of a huge herd of horses propelling the song onward. Having bought the 12″ on release, I never heard the 7″ version of this non-LP single until a decade later and I was shocked at how tame it sounded in comparison to the 12″ mix. The expansive and formidable 12″ was the last time Midge Ure managed to quicken the pulse.

Duran Duran | Hold Back The Rain [Ext. Remix] | 1982

At the end of the day, this is still may favorite Duran Duran song. The copy of the “Rio” album that I first bought in 1982 had the glorious extended version of “Hold Back The Rain” on it, but as the last track on side one, the seven minute opus was severely groove crammed. It had sounded better on the “Carnival” EP that US Capitol had released to goose the album sales before MTV sunk their teeth in the band. It sounded better still on the UK 12″ of “Save A Prayer” as the premium B-side given a full 12″ side to luxuriate on! It wasn’t until I got the US CD of “Rio” in 1993 that I ever heard the anemic original mix. What David Kershenbaum did with the extended remix staggers the mind and belies his role as Joe Jackson’s early producer. This is why 12″ remixes were invented!

The propulsive track simply needed every square inch of groove space to reach its ultimate potential as heard here! The extended breakdown stretched the track’s tension as far as it was possible, with Simon LeBon’s exhortations of “hold it back” increased ridiculously in pitch until they vanished before the song practically snapped in two with a roll of the Simmons drums from beat monster Roger Taylor, who is really the star of this track. The valuable guest star role here went to the clean, frisky guitar licks of Andy Taylor, in his finest contribution to a Duran Duran track, ever. The relentless tattoos of Taylor’s SDS kit drove and pulled this song ever forward until it finally coasted to a end fade that sounds as if momentum could keep the song rolling for at least another 30 seconds.

Depeche Mode | Strangelove [Hijack Mix] | 1988

My long-term go-to Depeche Mode single was always “Strangelove,” which saw a plethora of remixes; all of them interesting, but the creme-de-la-creme for my ears was the Bomb The Bass “Hijack Mix.” Tim Simenon and Mark Saunders were at the vortex of UK dance culture with “Beat Dis,” the previous year, and this made them the hot remix team du jour. With their mix of “Strangelove,” the track attained an industrial funk edge comparable to what Cabaret Voltaire were achieving a few years earlier. Even the 7″ remix edit was full of concentrated power at their hands. Mark Saunders went on to mix a lot of fantastic material for Erasure soon afterward, but Tim Simenon remained the one to watch. Everything I’ve heard him touch has been best of breed for me.

Spandau Ballet | Gold [Ext. Ver.] | 1983

This is a 12″ mix that’s every bit as dramatic and transformative as Trevor Horn’s 12″ remix of “Poison Arrow” was, with a luscious, John Barry-esque buildup that made the Bond theme roots of the song even more explicit. It’s a huge failure of reality that this track was never the actual theme to a James Bond movie, since it smokes every actual Bond theme post “Thunderball” for lunch with one hand tied behind its back! The jazzy electric piano and guitar carry the melody with horns punctuating the grandeur of it all, before the tympani, congas and percussion arrive on the scene, enhancing the urgent synth riffs that herald the fully formed song’s arrival after the intro’s massive buildup.

Kraftwerk | Radioactivity [William Orbit Hardcore Version] | 1991

I almost didn’t buy this, as I had the German CD single of this title, but the US 12″ had a second William Orbit remix that was vinyl only, so I reasoned that I might as well buy it. It was Kraftwerk, and frankly, the 1991 arrangement of “Radioactivity” that was on “The Mix” was the one ridiculously successful result of that wasteful exercise. It managed to justify the outlay to my ears on that track alone. The Hardcore Mix amps up the pressure to near techno levels while still retaining sufficient melodic structure to bring me along for the ride. And what a ride it is! It’s a perfect blending of the DNA of Kraftwerk and Torch Song; two of my favorite groups. Orbit makes this sound as ridiculously stuffed with technology as it possibly can be. Hums, beeps, drones, and [my favorite] pneumatic hisses send me into overdrive every time I play this.

John Foxx | Like A Miracle [extended mix] | 1983

With Zeus B. Held in the producer’s chair, this single track received the loving care and devotion to take it over the top in exactly the way that most of these songs received. The warm, expansive sound is heavy on the acoustic guitars and piano in addition to the reverberant Simmons Drums and yes, the synthesizers that we expected. Like all of Held’s best productions, there is a full utilization of best-of-breed analog and digital technology together. The long, deliberate buildup is an unparalleled example of its kind. The cineramic sound is impossibly lush and the song has expanded to fill every inch of the listener’s environment. As the song eventually fades, only to have a reprise of Foxx’s backing vocals return, it is a moment that raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

Scritti Politti | Perfect Way [Way Perfect Promo Mix]| 1985

Many of the Scritti Politti 12″ers from the “Cupid + Psyche ’85” era were dub mixes, which are another kettle of fish from the kind of extended versions we’re looking at here. As nice as they are, Green’s vocals are a significant part of Scritti’s appeal. With the fourth single, all the stops were pulled out and “Perfect Way” received remixes by John Potoker and Françcois Kevorkian. The UK 12″ was remixed, but not appreciably longer than the album version. There was a differing US commercial 12″ with a remix credited to Kevorkian, Alan Meyerson, and Josh Abbey, a.k.a. Committee. Even so, that was another five minute cut. We loved “Perfect Way” and needed it to be longer. Fortunately, there was the 7:27 U.S. promo “Way Perfect Mix” which took the same name as the US commercial 12″, but was longer and more rhythmic, with a dazzling, compressed cutup mix of Fred Maher’s drums sounding like a Keith LeBlanc beatbox.

Simple Minds | The American [Interference Mix] | 1998

What!! A Post-Modern Mix on this list? It finally happened in 1999, when I picked up a CD single in a Madrid record store; my one time record shopping in Europe. Though I purchased it in a perfunctory fashion, I was surprisingly smitten with the Interference Mix of long time Simple Minds favorite “The American.” So much so, that it vies with the original for my favor to this day! [in other words, my praise for this Post-Modern Mix could not be higher] The mix is suffused with acidic rave energy and even relies on the hated dance trope of looping bits of the vocal in it, which I normally hate, but here I melt when I hear the end results. Possibly because Interference was actually Tim Simenon and Keith LeBlanc; masters of dance. This was a streamlined, aerodynamic re-imagining of “The American” and it was built for speed. If it had all been this good, maybe I would have liked the 90s.

B.E.F./Billy MacKenzie | The Secret Life Of Arabia [dub mix] | 1982

I still remember how floored I was when I heard the incomparable version of “The Secret Life Of Arabia” by B.E.F. with Billy MacKenzie singing. With their secret weapon bass player, John Wilson, and armed with the mighty Linn Drum Computer, they managed to cut a version of this fairly recent Bowie track that makes the original sound like a Portastudio demo in comparison. To this they added the secret ingredient: Associates singer Billy MacKenzie. The four minute album track begged for more time, so this album contains a 7:06 dub mix of the track that is widescreen, cataclysmic, sonic perfection. The near-hysteria in MacKenzie’s vocals is more than matched by the scope of the thunderous dub mix. In my dotage, I will attempt to mix the album and dub mix together for a 10 minute vocal version. Then, and only then, can I happily expire!

China Crisis | African + White [Steve Proctor 12″ Remix] | 1990

Here was another Post-Modern Remix that managed to make me roll over like a puppy. When Virgin were releasing the first China Crisis greatest hits collection, they reactivated the debut CC single with a Steve Proctor remix. The CD single was immediately purchased, but the remix was of the most modest kind possible. Not so for the delightfully sumptuous 12″ version, that I only purchased years later! For a house DJ to have remixed a China Crisis number, it could have been a disaster, but fortunately, Proctor had a featherlight touch that was the best of both worlds. The 12″ began with a long, nearly three minute ambient buildup that emphasized the most delicate and airy synth patches imaginable. It sounds like a beautiful spring morning has been transcribed to the wax, and in that sense, makes the song even more successful than its earlier mixes. Then, after the buildup climaxes, the song was given a new, clubworthy rhythmic emphasis, with some spot on female vocals added to the mix. It’s just one of the most lovely remixes I can name, and Proctor cites it as one of his favorite mixes as well.

Dead Or Alive | Brand New Lover [The Dust Monkey’s Love Bubble Mix] | 1986

If you bought club music during the mid 80s, you no doubt have work that states that “Mixmaster Phil Harding” was responsible. His work with PWL kept him very busy for at least five years straight, before the SAW sound was ejected from the Record Cell due to burnout. This is my favorite Dead Or Alive number, and to this day, I’m not burnt out on it [like some others I could name]. The melody is gorgeous enough to survive the voice of Pete Burns, so that says a lot! But it’s not the infectious melody or mix per-se that grabs me with this record. It’s the guitar.

I first heard the song when MTV played the video and it was a valid enough earworm, so I bought the album it came from and when I heard the song on the CD, I was treated to some surprising guitar solos, courtesy of Matt Aitken; the “A” in SAW. The injection of guitar made the song even better, so when I bought the US 12″ single a bit later, I was delighted to hear that it had even more of the euphoric guitar that had surprised me on the LP mix. Aitken’s solos here were particularly joyous and upbeat. They added tremendously to the overall track, which manages to occupy 9:00 of your time in a breezy and rewarding fashion.

New Order | True Faith [Remix] | 1988

Mixer Shep Pettibone was all but impossible to avoid if you bought any 12″ daaaaaaaance music in the mid-late 80s. His house stylings were as missable as anyone else’s to these ears, but the remix of New Order’s stupendous “True Faith” certainly rose to the occasion of greatness. The 12″ version if fine, but the song really takes flight with the 12″ remix, by Pettibone. He expertly used rhyrhmic pressure points to almost give the motorik masterpiece a hint of hip-hop feel that added a dollop of funk to the irresolute machine vibe there. I only heard the remix when I bought the semi-legendary CDV format of that single. More often than not, Pettibone delivered perfectly serviceable remix work, but rarely more. Not this time.

Spandau Ballet | I’ll Fly For You [Glide Mix] | 1984

Aha! The last Spandau remix classic that I had alluded to earlier in this series! “I’ll Fly For You” failed to impress in its original mix; being merely another in the seemingly endless series of MOR post-“True” ballads that Gary Kemp got sucked into churning out in a sad attempt to hold onto the brass ring. The glide mix of “I’ll Fly For You,” is a perfectly named, radical re-recording of the song that has been seriously invested with some dramatic and abstract jazz DNA. I’d almost call this ambient dub jazz! In place of the typical "sturdy" Tony Hadley crooning, this dramatic re-arrangement of the tune had Hadley reciting the lyrics breathlessly instead, with only a few points where he broke into song. The EQ alone on this mix is full of radical shifts in emphasis. It was the quintessence of smoky, late night listening and it was one of my very favorite remixes of 1984.

China Crisis | Animalistic [A Day At The Zoo Mix] | 1985

Sometimes it’s not the A-side that got the love. In 1985, the first single from the then-new China Crisis album arrived with an A-side the same as the 3:36 album track. The mixing was instead lavished on the B-side. The appropriately named “A Day At The Zoo Mix” of the cheerful, if slight tune “Animalistic” was like nothing else that I’d heard at that time. After the tune faded out at what would have been its ending on 7″, the 12″ version featured a weird segue into what I could only describe as field recordings made at what sounded exactly like a zoo, with what sounded like Japanese instruments mixed into the recordings.

After a minute or so of this, then gradually, dub elements of the original song were re-introduced back into the mix, until the eleven minute track ended with the song reclaimed from what I can only refer to as a proto-ambient dub workout. It was a mind-blower of what could be attempted with a remix if one’s mind were open enough. I can only surmise that The Future Sound Of London heard this while still in knee-pants since this track has got to be the flashpoint of ambient dub as we know it. That it appeared as a B-side to a China Crisis 12″ single is doubly astonishing. Not that the band didn’t have ambient leanings with earlier tracks like “Dockland” or “Watching Over Burning Fields” all being legitimately part of the China Crisis DNA. Still, it’s hard to imagine a whole hip genre that descended from a China Crisis experiment.

OMD | Dresden [John Foxx + The Maths Remix] | 2013

This is the newest remix in this thread, that’s for certain, but last year when I heard that OMD had picked John Foxx + The Maths to be the opening act on their “English Electric” tour I was ecstatic at the notion of JF+TM producing the next OMD record. I didn’t have to wait long, when this stupendous remix popped out of the remix oven within weeks of my musings.

Having JF+TM secret weapon Benge produce this mix, very effectively addressed my concerns with OMD ca. 2013, namely, their reliance on thin sounding digital and soft synths! That charge can’t be levied against this tremendous remix that crackles with an energy largely thin on the original master of this cut. The song is great, but the production let me down. Not at all for this mix!! JF+TM have [re]made an OMD record exactly as I have wanted it; only better! The additional countermelodies added to the song make it actually sound more like what I used to expect from OMD years ago!

Frankie Goes To Hollywood | Two Tribes [Annihilation] | 1984

You might say that this mix was The Bomb, thirty years ago. Quite literally, as the FGTH track expertly exploited nuclear anxiety in the Reagan era as well as the state-of-the-art in record production to produce an absolutely monster of a 12″ remix. And where ZTT were concerned, there was no shortage of these, as they filled the market with as many remixes as they thought that it could bear. All the better to keep the track aloft in the charts for what turned out to be ludicrously long amounts of time. All of the mixes were great, but this was the first that I had heard, and therefore, a mold-breaker for its time.

The civil defense soundbites and narration absolutely underscored the thoughts, widely prevalent at the time, that nuclear war could happen at any time. Now, thirty years afterward, I think that the brinksmanship was not so much aimed at one country or another, but instead at the citizens of the world, who were made to feel absolutely powerless. All the better to dismantle the social contracts that had popped up after the Great Depression and represented money that was put to much better use in the Swiss bank accounts of our betters. Yeah, in retrospect, nuclear brinksmanship was a game both sides won when you consider that the whole exercise may have been a psy-ops whammy aimed at each nation’s citizens. To reduce their levels of expectation to dramatically lower levels. Well, enough semiotics. Weren’t we talking about 12″ remixes?

Oh, yes we were. This remix sounded like a million dollars worth of 16 bit destruction… and it probably was. Trevor Horn and Theam spent three months making certain that its release would build on what they had achieved with “Relax” and it certainly did that, for my money. At the end of the day, this is my preferred FGTH single. Though I love the glorious middle eight in the “Carnage Mix,” this one still has the killa bassline that I could listen to for hours. Was it Normal Watts-Roy, as Trevor Horn has hinted? Was it from the Fairlight sample library, as Andy Richards has asserted? [Maybe Norman Watts-Roy was the source of the Fairlight sample library?] Does it matter? The Reagan impersonations were brilliant and insolent. If truth be told, Ronald Reagan could have been given co-writing credits on the track, since the societal level of anxiety and tension that it relied upon was his creation.

Intro [Jacqui Brookes] | Lost Without Your Love [12″ remix] | 1983

Sometimes a remix can take a song into a whole different realm with just a few changes to the instrumentation. I adore Jacqui Brookes single “Lost Without Your Love. At least, that’s what she was known as in America. In the UK, her magnificent electric torch songs [did you see that one coming?] were made with Jimme O’Neill, the resident genius from Fingerprintz, before settling for the tedium of The Silencers after the inexplicable failure of this project. On 12” though, the derivative fretless bass of Pino Palaldino, was excised. All of the rhythm bed was excised and the resulting mix had fresh, new injections of electro energy and beatbox that took the song down a completely different path. It almost presages cheap, nasty EBM and sounds remarkably similar to the sort of rhythms that would animate Cabaret Voltaire’s “Sensoria” single the following year.

FAVRORITE 80s REMIX:

Propaganda | Das Testaments Des Mabuse [the third side] | 1984

My favorite Propaganda track is “Dr. Mabuse.” I first bought the 12″ of “Das Testaments Of Mabuse” [12ZTAS 2 in ZTT sleeve] and the 6:34 mix became a huge favorite. Once the album of “A Secret Wish” was released, I held out for the CD version, which followed after a few months back in those dark days of CD pressing. I popped the CD in the tray and instead of pressing “play,” I went straight to hear the version of “Dr. Mabuse” on the UK CD, track nine. I was not quite prepared for what got delivered.

The 10:14 cut on that CD was the most cataclysmic remix that I had ever heard; before or since. It was the sound and fury of a malefic genius transformed into psychotic sound and given a thunderous mix by Trevor Horn, who would never be able to top this production and mix, ever again to my ears. The opening suggested blood chilling horror as a minor chord resolves itself into a major chord, and then drops back to minor key as accompanied by the sound of coins dropping onto a hard surface and rotating until still. A woman’s voice whispered “…Mabuse…” as if held in hypnotic enchantment. Suzanne Freytag then asked “why does it hurt when my heart misses the beat?”

Then the martial, machine-like beat began to pump and grind as a man’s voice intoned “The man without the shadow, promises you the world. Tell him your dreams… and fanatical needs. He’s buying them all… with cash!” Then the relentless bassline began to throb as Claudia Brücken began to sing “Sell him your soul… never look back” as the orchestra, punctuated by rolling tympani, whipcrack beats and the hum and hiss of infernal machinery painted a most stygian vision; void of all notions of conventional morality.

At the point where the seven inch version would have faded, there was a second percussion movement primarily featuring beatbox and Bernard Hermann-esque strings sawing away, Psycho style. Backwards samples of Suzanne Freytag added frissons of disorientation to the tumultuous music. The gothic melodrama became thick enough to cut with a knife as the tension coiled upwards until the storm broke with a crash at the 6:45 mark and then the third movement, very similar to “Strength To Dream,” added a dignified coda to the dark proceedings.

The tempo of the coda remained synched to the jaunty bass line for several measures until the beat slackened to half speed for a more stately effect. At 9:08, a breakdown occurred with just the beats and percussion remaining. A hint of strings heralded the return of Ms. Freytag and another recitation of “why does it hurt when my heart misses the beat?” The track undergoes further recursion with another desperate whisper of “…Mabuse…” before the track finally ends with the sound of tape rewinding and almost sounding like laughter.

This is still my favorite remix I’ve ever heard after 34 years in the trenches. It’s not really a dance track. It creates a desperate, malignant world where there is no hope for anyone to triumph except for the decadent criminal genius Mabuse. It’s more cinematic than most films. It was the sound of Trevor Horn’s Theam moving far outside the realm of pop and dance; spending what sounded like a small fortune to create an entire world.

FAVORITE 90s REMIX:

Claudia Brücken | Kiss Like Ether [Electrical Embrace] | 1991

I can vividly remember popping this into the CD player for the first time in 1991. The first single from the “Love… And A Million Other Things” album was “Absolut[e],” the closest thing to banality that she ever released as a single. It sounded like a Depeche Mode track. Not this one! As I recall, even this second single was still a pre-release, and I didn’t have the album yet. When I pressed “play,” I heard the song for the first time in its remixed form, courtesy of Mark Saunders. The ‘Electrical Embrace’ mix was instantly gripping with fat, spherical sequenced lines that nodded to both Moroder and the Berlin School.

That won me over right there. Then, the song’s theme on string patches was eventually joined by drum machine percussion and synth bass. Ms. Brücken’s vocal contained many delightful excursions into her lower registers for late night smoky intimacy. I loved how Claudia’s harmonies with the backing vocalists [including Claudia Fontaine of Afrodiziak] remained steady until she descended an octave for “ether” in the song’s chorus. The dissolute, jazzy trumpet touches in the trancelike middle eight show the sophistication of her aim with this album. This is a song of adult rapture and bliss that’s far from clumsy teenaged fumbles in a back seat.

The mix concluded with all instrumentation faded down except for the sequencers, looped rhythmic samples of Ms. Brücken’s vocals cut up in abstraction, and birdlike synth trills as the cut ended as it began, on what resembled a backward cymbal hit. In a perfect world, two DJs could segue this mix together in an endless loop for as long as it took to have enough.

And I could never have enough. I bought the CD single first and was blown away by the gorgeous four color plus knocked out stop varnish on the tiny gatefold sleeve. I was not used to five color sleeves for CD singles! I then bought the 7″ in a gatefold sleeve, which sported the same, luscious print job as the CD single, only larger. Then there was the second 12″ remix in a boxed set. The radically different “Earth Mood Magic” mix took the song into world music territory in a sleeve that was all metallic machine aesthetics. I then found the “Electrical Embrace” mix on 12″ single and that piece is one of the most elaborately printed 12″ singles I’ve ever seen. Not only does it have the deluxe five color print job of the CD and 7″, but it also has an overlay outer sleeve that had the black halftone plate reverse printed on synthetic vellum. If one removed the overlay, only the crystalline colors were on the cardboard sleeve. Yes, there were once sleeves that daring!

FAVROITE 00s REMIX:
Onetwo | Kein Anschluß [SITD Mix] | 2007

I came to this remix in an awkward fashion in that I bought the single during the year it was released. Good thing too, because it is a costly thing to buy these days! I played the single and the mixes of “Cloud Nine” were familiar from the first Onetwo EP and weren’t anything to write home about the first time, frankly. Claudia Brücken writing a song with Martin Gore sounded better on paper, I think. But when “Kein Anschluβ [SITD Mix]” played, it freaking popped out of the speakers and into my heart!

Not only was Ms. Brücken singing in her mother tongue for a change, but SITD had crafted a remix that dove headfirst into dark EBM and was most glorious! When I later got the Oneteo album and played the album version, I marveled at the dramatic shifts in tone that SITD managed to effect with the track! The album version of “Kein Anschluβ” is a good album cut on a strong eclectic album. Nothing more. The LP arrangement had chord progressions that evoked Depeche Mode ca. “Black Celebration”-“Music For The Masses.” Nothing too major in my universe. The overall arrangement was fussy with the beat dropping out entirely at certain portions of the song. The energy was pretty diffuse on the track.

In high contrast, SITD moved the song from the Depeche Mode end of the spectrum further left, into Nitzer Ebb territory! The disciplined, relentless beats and vibrant bass have re-cast the track as a pulse-pounding slice of EBM with a side order of ravy gravy on the song’s middle eight. The track gained a laser-like focus in the hands of SITD! The light string patches are a gorgeous contrast to the rest of the music bed, and of course, Ms. Brücken’s evocative vocal was left completely alone as perfection needs no heavy hand to spoil it.

This bad boy can play on a loop for hours in my world! In retrospect, the only fault that I can find with this remix is that it is roughly the same length as the LP track was. I wouldn’t look askance at a mix of this cut that didn’t start to end until after the eight minute mark! I may have to try my hand at this myself one day. I’m hearing sounds in my skull that might work. But this mix is so stellar that I’d hate to ruin it with my meddling.

This was a case of a remix completely renovating a track into something completely different. For the most part, I prefer remixes that enhance the natural attributes of a song, not throw them out of the window and start over. But in this case, I’ll make an exception! I’ll even say that Ms. Brücken might think about recording a whole album with SIDT, but having just looked them up online, and having heard the second tier EBM music they create on their own, maybe this was an instance of catching lightning in a bottle for this one time. Their standard on their own doesn’t seem to be up to the caliber that I’d prefer her collaborating with, in all candor.

This remix was as thrilling as “Promises,” the leadoff track on the last Nitzer Ebb album was. Which is to say, that it works like a fiend for me! What I’d like to hear is Ms. Brücken collaborating with Nitzer Ebb on an album project. It would have the potential to multiply the pleasures of “Kein Anschluβ [SIDT Mix]” up to the next level and beyond. It was very exciting to hear some of the threatening vibe that was present on “Mabuse” insinuate itself back into her music for this most delightful remix.

FAVROITE 10s REMIX:

Visage | Never Enough [John Bryan Widescreen Version] | 2013

The single began with the John Bryan Widescreen Version courtesy of the co-producer and co-writer of much of the album. John Bryan has crafted a stunning re-imagining of the album track that was absolutely given the most helpfully descriptive remix name in history. Bryan, along with Pete Winfield, has scored an orchestral version of the song that is flat out the most mind-bogglingly impressive and overwhelming musical remix I’ve heard in 30 years. Really. This is a remix of the caliber of the US mix of “Poison Arrow” or the “Dr. Mabuse [the 13th Life Mix].” Yes, I think it’s that great and Bryan has matched the achievements of Trevor Horn at his peak in my opinion! The addition of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra takes this amazing song to new, dramatic heights I’ve not heard since the heydays of Roxy Music ca. “Country Life” or Japan ca. “Quiet Life.”

But it doesn’t end with lush, emotive strings – sensitively arranged. Oh no. After a long acoustic orchestral intro, Bryan eases the superlative guitars of Robin Simon into the mix and fades up the full on band onslaught which sounds fully integrated with the string arrangements. And then he blew me away by using an alternative Simon take on a solo right up front that differed wonderfully from the LP mix. Or maybe not. The buildup in the middle eight features such tight syncopation between Simon and the orchestra, that I am now wondering if the producer called Simon back to record a new guitar track after scoring the track for orchestra. It fits like a glove and can’t be the product of mixing random elements. By the time that Steve Strange added a spoken verse [also not on the LP version] right before the killer middle eight with yet another new Robin Simon solo, I was slack-jawed at the magnificence of it all. This was an old-school remix to end them all. It would have been stunning in the context of 1982. In 2014 it was like a revelation of how compelling a remix can be at a time when I was clearing out tons of remixes by bands I like from my music collection. Not this one, though!

It’s especially appreciated when one examines the span of 31 years between these top four remixes. The “Mabuse” remix dated from 1984. The “Kiss Like Ether” remix was from 1991, seven years later. “Kein Anschuß” was from 2007, a whopping sixteen years later. This latest champion remix dates a mere seven years later from that. It’s no coincidence that my favorite mix of the 2000s took place after a sixteen year span that was dead in the center of a long dry spell of remixes where there was little happening in the world of remixes to give me sustenance. The period of 1988-2006 was absolutely a time of 12″ remixes that didn’t do much for me, in spite of years of remix fandom prior to that.

The dance trends that drove the house/rave/techno bus that dominated remixing weren’t for me. In fact, during this time, scads of favorite bands that succumbed to these dance styles on 12″ lost me as a fan. If I didn’t like their single, then I pretty much stopped buying even their albums. This was true for Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Depeche Mode, and a few other bands that I used to have huge, fat collections of. But it was some time around 2006 that I happened across remixes that were more musical than functional [i.e. dance porn] for the first time in a huge span of time.

Most of the remixes that I’ve cautiously bought in the last dozen years have been surprisingly good, which I was really not used to when dealing with daaaaaance music of the 90s and early 'noughts. It seems like the new post-E generation have rediscovered the musical traits that I was more responsive to from earlier times. It seems as if daaaaaaance music has been reclaimed as something more musical and artistic that once again has appeal to me in a way that a whole generation of such efforts didn’t.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2021 08:50AM by Post-Punk Monk.
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 22, 2021 04:59PM
Bravo!
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 23, 2021 04:00PM
PPM,

I'm with you! The UK "Annihilation" mix of FGTH's "Two Tribes" is by far the best of all of them, and it's one of several 12" singles (along with some from New Order and Heaven 17) that I still break out to this day to play. The air raid siren and civil defense narration, recreated from the British Home Office's nuclear war booklet and film series "Protect and Survive" are absolutely chilling ("If your grandmother or any other member of your family should die whilst in the shelter, put them outside, but remember to tag them first for identification purposes."), and I love how near the climax of the song, Holly Johnson shouts, "Are we living in a land where sex and horror are the new gods?," to which I'd answer that pretty much summed up living in the '80s.

I wrote a bit about "Protect and Survive" in one of my ska blog posts:

"...Within this context, according to Dorian Lynskey's terrific book about popular protest music, 33 Revolutions Per Minute, an additional reason that bands like Frankie Goes to Hollywood and The Specials (as well as a slew of British new wave acts) wrote about nuclear war was the May 1980 publication and distribution of the Home Office booklet and release of accompanying short films titled "Protect and Survive,” which grimly detailed the steps the public should take to attempt to survive a nuclear attack and, if they lived through the initial blast, the radioactive fallout afterward. Lynskey notes that even though "Protect and Survive" was "designed to reassure, it proceeded to scare the daylights out of anyone who read it." This and the very real placement of U.S. cruise missiles in the UK (as part of a NATO counter-move against a new medium-range Soviet nuclear missile) convinced many Britons that they would be high on the list of targets should all-out war break out between the superpowers.

Some of the other ska songs expressing the terrible nuclear war anxiety and dread of the early 1980s included: The Beat's "Dream Home in NZ” and "Psychedelic Rockers,” Fishbone's "Party at Ground Zero," The Selecter’s “Their Dream Goes On,” The Specials’ "Man at C and A," and The Untouchables' "Sudden Attack.” By giving voice to our collective fears and setting it to music you could dance to, these ska groups helped make it possible to live and even enjoy life at a time when the world's leaders were unbelievably close to wiping us out forever (look up Able Archer 83, where a NATO training exercise was mistaken by the Soviets as the lead-up to a full-scale attack and nearly cause them to launch their nukes; and the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident, where one Soviet officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov, correctly interpreted unusual reports from the Soviet satellite early warning system as a malfunction (and not a handful of missiles launched from North Dakota) and disregarded military protocol that required him to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike on the USA—thus preventing World War III)."

Also, bravo on this commentary, PPM: "Now, thirty years afterward, I think that the brinksmanship was not so much aimed at one country or another, but instead at the citizens of the world, who were made to feel absolutely powerless. All the better to dismantle the social contracts that had popped up after the Great Depression and represented money that was put to much better use in the Swiss bank accounts of our betters. Yeah, in retrospect, nuclear brinksmanship was a game both sides won when you consider that the whole exercise may have been a psy-ops whammy aimed at each nation’s citizens. To reduce their levels of expectation to dramatically lower levels."

Now, I need to look up that '90s remix of SM's "The American"!

Stay safe in the cell.

Familyman
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Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 25, 2021 11:08AM
Far from ska or Frankie Goes to Hollywood, I remember Discharge's hardcore classic "Protest and Survive." So the title was a play on "Protect and Survive"?
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Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 31, 2021 08:54AM
Familyman, your 2nd paragraph about cruise missiles recalls the back cover to the "Annihilation" 12" of "Two Tribes."


Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2021 08:57AM by Post-Punk Monk.
Reply Quote
Bip
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 23, 2021 09:34AM
Wow monk. Absolutely loved reading your thoughts. The emergence of ZTT and that sound still seems so fresh and exciting to me. In ‘83, did my parents think the Perry Como hits of ‘53 still seem fresh and exciting ?

I want to offer hope, though... 12” singles by obscure bands turn up all the time, albeit unexpectedly and often where you least expect them. In a trip to the Salvation Army there were import 12”singles by Endgames and China Crisis buried amongst the typical banality (“Frank Franklin plays greatest clarinet hits in a relaxed manner”). How the heck did they end up there?
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Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 23, 2021 02:37PM
Bip Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow monk. Absolutely loved reading your thoughts.
> The emergence of ZTT and that sound still
> seems so fresh and exciting to me. In ‘83, did my
> parents think the Perry Como hits of ‘53 still
> seem fresh and exciting ?
>
> I want to offer hope, though... 12” singles by
> obscure bands turn up all the time, albeit
> unexpectedly and often where you least expect
> them. In a trip to the Salvation Army there were
> import 12”singles by Endgames and China Crisis
> buried amongst the typical banality (“Frank
> Franklin plays greatest clarinet hits in a relaxed
> manner”). How the heck did they end up there?

Man, Bip, you are lucky. Occasional ventures to thrift stores only yield dross in my climate. With 2 exceptions! I once found a copy of the debut Zaine Griff LP and John Foxx's "The Garden" [with "Church" booklet!] at a Goodwill. I now own numerous copies of that one, just because. And once I found a CD of "One Nation Under A Groove" at another Goodwill [about a dozen years later]. The rest? The usual thrift store dross! Interesting point about the 38 year span of music time. I remember thinking [back then] about how different music was from just a decade earlier than 1980 and being astounded.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

[postpunkmonk.com]
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 23, 2021 04:24PM
"I once found a copy of the debut Zaine Griff LP"

Somebody else has heard of him.

I just picked up a copy of this myself a couple of months ago from local record store End of an Ear. I'd never heard of him before, but I was browsing their 80s section online one day, saw it, and looked him up. Hardly one of the lost greats, but as Bowie clones go, not bad.
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 25, 2021 07:57AM
Michael Toland Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "I once found a copy of the debut Zaine Griff LP"
>
> Somebody else has heard of him.
>
> I just picked up a copy of this myself a couple of
> months ago from local record store
> End of an
> Ear
. I'd never heard of him before, but I
> was browsing their
> 80s
> section
online one day, saw it, and looked
> him up. Hardly one of the lost greats, but as
> Bowie clones go, not bad.

I'm OLD. I remembered when it came out but hadn't seen a copy waiting to buy for over 20 years. I do also have his 2nd album, "Figures," which was even better. Andy Clark, Yukihiro Takahashi, and Hans Zimmer on synths there with Warren Cann on drums! All right in the Monastic sweet spot. I need to get his more recent work. When a Bowiephile with his talent makes an album called "The Visitor," people take notice!

OMG. That store is amazing! They actually have 12" singles with images for sale online at decent prices!! I'd totally love this store if it were local.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/2021 08:02AM by Post-Punk Monk.
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 25, 2021 08:07AM
I love EoaE in general - they have an amazing selection and cater to folks whose tastes run outside the mainstream. They've also stayed fully staffed during the pandemic - they don't allow in-store visits, but you can order online and go pick up your order same day.

My only issue is that they can be expensive - if they have a collector's item in good condition, they put a premium price on it. I've gotten some cool stuff - particularly from the 80s and jazz sections - for excellent prices, but for some stuff you're looking at $40-50, which is too rich for my blood.
Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 23, 2021 07:59PM
I like the 12" of Ghost Town. Rico's extended solo is beautiful.
I do have a couple that are 12" but seem to be the same as the 7". Siouxsie and the Banshees' Israel and The Jam's Precious come to mind.
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Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 30, 2021 05:33PM
Much of what I would have typed I don't need to, because Monk already did it, and in a more elegant fashion than mine would have turned out.

To the original poster: Yes, you did need all those Blancmange 12"s. Those are among my favorites! They were imaginative expanded versions of great tracks that kept the spirit and flavor of the original. This is the kind of 12" version I loved, before the remixes seemingly all became masturbatory exercises for egotistical DJs who slapped together their own house instrumentation, threw a few samples of the original song on it so they could keep the original artist and song title on there, and then tacked on some ridiculously named remix title to it.

The ZTT episode was revolutionary. There was no Discogs then, no internet in a normal sense. Just trying to figure out what existed out there was an exhaustive exercise. I would scan the adverts in Goldmine and Record Collector; just when I thought I had successfully acquired all the mixes of Dr. Mabuse, what--a promo only ZTT 12" with a unique mix? Ack!

ZTT's releases with Art of Noise bordered on crazy. Fun, and sometimes frustrating, crazy. You could buy two copies of the 12" of "Close to the Edit" with completely identical sleeves, and yet you pull the vinyls out and the records were different. Completely different mixes, different track listings. (Oh, and all the remixes were *good.*) If you bought a new, sealed import copy you didn't know what you were going to get. I remember thinking wait, isn't this against some rule? Don't you have to change the catalog number?! You also never did know if there was another variant out there that you just hadn't encountered yet.

At one point, Record Collector magazine ran a ZTT discography article that was extremely thorough. (If I remember correctly, it was put together by Ian Peel.) They spread it out over three issues. That was a revelation, the first time you had a definitive list of just what all ZTT released to the wild.

Thankfully, I have kept about 95% of my 80s 12" singles. I've always loved them, and if you pushed me to pick favorites, there would be a lot of overlap with Monk's list.
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Re: In praise (or derision) of the 12” single...
March 31, 2021 08:59AM
Mathmandan - I had picked up a brace of Blancmange 12"era at a dusty flea market almost 20 years ago and need to one day spin them! How I wish I didn't have to work! I'd have time to actually listen to the records I buy. But of all the things I buy, maybe 12" singles give me the most pleasure. Especially now, thanks to their scarcity. There's nothing more enjoyable than getting a bog box of them from a dealer [inexpensively, for the most part] and recording them to the hard drive that first time. Some men have their single malt whiskey; I've got 12" singles.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2021 02:52PM by Post-Punk Monk.
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