From 1991 and classic R.E.M. now sadly disbanded. (What a shit musical year it’s been so far!) Harmonies abound and with floaty folk style compliments the cover of a bathers in a heat haze, thank God for the sun today. Backed by 2 acoustic tracks, a gentle “Pop Song `89” recorded at Borderline, London on March 15, 1991. And the folk fused “Half A World Away” recorded for Rockline Los Angeles on April 1, 1991.
(The last one is dedicated to my mate James (versatile singer/songwriter, who loves all things acoustica and pluck-able!)
Warner Bros. Records – W0055 T
||Near Wild Heaven (LP Version)
||Pop Song ’89 (Live Acoustic Version)
||Half A World Away (Live Acoustic Version)
Scratching chins or heads. Well it does have the Pet Shop Boys behind it and it is a rather splendid pop gem that people might have forgotten about. A career revival with the other track , “Nothing Has Been Proven” over here…. (and re-upped)
This was the more well known of the with a contemporary sixties feel about it, synth pop at its finest with Julian Mendelsohn co-producing and mixing. The extended version is fun and sounds much more Pet Shop Boys with percussion breaks and Fairlight. Catchy as hell and what a brilliant voice!
Parlophone – 12R 6234
||In Private (12″ Version)
||In Private (7″ Version)
||In Private (Instrumental Version)
1990 and the voice of Propaganda with the lead single off her solo album, “Love: And A Million Things.”
Rather light and poppy this was produced by Pascal Gabriel and included a host of well respected session musicians. Funky house via synth pop, more than edgy industrial that Propaganda were probably expecting, the 12″ does have some nice sounds on it. “Strangelove” by Depeche Mode springs to mind.
B-side “Whisper” could be Propaganda with a phatt synth bass and heavy electronic percussion , a little “Dr. Mabuse” in places with the half spoken lyrics and sampled guitars. Produced with co-writer John Uriel (from synth band Empire)
Both title tracks start off a bit crispy in the first minute but bear with it and it smooths out.
Island Records – 12 IS471
||Absolut[e] (Shooting Star)
So not got too much faceless early 90’s dance music on here so I thought this might be interesting. From 1993 and containing samples of Jimi Hendrix, mostly spoken word snippets and guitar licks from the infamous Monterey festival performance put to a “4 to the Floor” House beat. The original version has the most guitar licks in a more chilled out, jazzy groove and is the best of the bunch, less banging!
Beautiful People comprised of the drummer from Bush, Robin Goodridge, Luke Baldry and Duncan Kane and had a more musical approach to dance music, with nods to 60’s Psychedelia by sampling Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones.
Continuum Records – 12315-
1A –Rilly Groovy (Ripe Fruity Mix) –6:55
B1 –Rilly Groovy (Vibe Sauce “Dig This” Mix) –4:18
B2 –Rilly Groovy (Original Version) –4:44
Back to 1988 and a short-lived project by Trevor Horn at ZTT and probably in response to Age Of Chance’s success, as well as Sique Sique Sputnik and Westworlds. From Discogs – “A pioneering band who were among the first to attempt to mix rock and club music. The four key members (C J Mackintosh, Dan Fox, John Waddell and Leo T) were augmented by Dave Dorrell (later to be involved in the legendary M|A|R|R|S project) who was described as their “pop instigator” – a role lying somewhere between fifth-member and band manager.” Super pristine production and THAT late 80’s bouncing bass, all New Jack swing with sampled horns, scratches and vocal samples. Side B is really similar to side A, it was hard to tell the difference! Reminds me of Tackhead and Colourbox (who did morph into M|A|R|R|S.) No wonder they supported Pop Will Eat Itself!
ZTT – NROX 1
||Escape From New York
||Escape From New York 2
Well, it seems I’ve stumbled into an early 90’s dance vibe, so off we go!
A rare twelve care of Mike B (tingly treble alert so adjust if necessary!) from Manchester’s own 808 State. Eric Kupper and the late Tom Richardson provide a long techno trip on Cubik Tomix with added guitar wails. Graham Massey gives an complete different, lighter take on Olympic with bubbling bass, classic 808 State. Mike Haas goes all alien , sci-fi on us in the most inventive mix, “Lambrusco Cowboy.”
ZTT – ZANG 5TX
||Olympic (August 90)
||Lambrusco Cowboy Mix
Indie guitar jangle from 1991 and The Wonderstuff sounding like James but in a good way. Mike Glossop provides the production gloss and the extended version has no annoying gimmicks just makes it longer, who’d of thought.Oh, those lyrics and memories of drinking snakebite in the student union. Again, it seems to be a bit of forgotten track. Backed by a cover of Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” with plenty of heavy guitars and Miles Hunt’s eccentric vocal delivery.
Polydor – 867097-1, The Far Out Recording Company – GONEX 12
A1 –Caught In My Shadow
A2 –Gimme Some Truth (Live)
B –Caught In My Shadow (Extended Version)