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(Who's Afraid Of) The Art Of Noise?
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This is a very welcome, budget-priced re-issue of the first Art Of Noise album, "Who's Afraid Of The Art Of Noise". If you already own an Art Of Noise album called "Daft", you might notice that it's almost the same album- the story of why the name "Daft" was used for the original CD release of the album is detailed in the sleevenotes, but apart from a couple of additional tracks on "Daft", yes this is the same album- now remastered with a bonus DVD.

The album itself is still stunning. Before they turned their hand to more pop offerings like "Kiss" and "Dragnet", Art Of Noise were more of a sonic experiment in pioneering sampling, rather than a band, and there are some phenomenally odd moments. Despite this, some of probably their most famous tracks are on this album- "Moments In Love" (a glorious ten-minute-long version), "Beat Box" and "Close To The Edit".

The first disc is filled out with a couple of Radio 1 live sessions from 1984 and 1985. It's interesting to hear how AoN would have been regarded by Radio 1 and by the world at large, but apart from a medley of "Beat Box" into "Video Killed The Radio Star", musically it falls into the same category as the "And What Have You Done With My Body God?" box set- there are some interesting subtle differences that hardcore fans will appreciate, but no real undiscovered classics.

The DVD at first looks packed, with a tracklist longer than the CD- until you realise that it is predominantly various versions of the same two promo videos, "Close To The Edit" and "Moments In Love", in subtly different versions which again will fascinate the fans but leave the more casual viewer wondering why they're watching the fourth almost identical version of the same video. Besides the promo clips from the first album, they've thrown on some material from the "Seduction Of Claude Debussy" era, as if there was nothing for AoN between those two albums- completely overlooking Art Of Noise's brilliant work throughout the rest of the 1980s into the early 90s. It feels a little bit too random a selection of whatever video clips they found in a cupboard, rather than a properly cared-for anthology.

The sleevenotes are essentially in two parts. The second part is an interesting and in-depth retrospective of how the first album came into being, which fits in nicely with the overall retrospective of their greatest hits 2CD set from last year. The first part is Paul Morley at his most... intense. I always preferred AoN as a musical offering rather than as an artistic statement so while the occasional soundbite and cryptic phrase on their album artwork from Morley helped add to the mystique, when Paul Morley starts to write about the Art Of Noise at length I'm afraid I rapidly lose interest and find it somewhat pretentious, and slightly at odds with the music. But at the current bargain price of the album, I'm not going to complain about that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2007
My mother purchased this album (LP format) for me in 1984. I played it so much that I literally wore out the label, the album cover and some parts of the vinyl itself. Luckily I was able to get another copy and my only disappointment was that the label design was not of the style that was on the vinyl when the album was initially released (Island Records had gone to a new graphic design). This was the beginning of my fascination with England (I had seen the music video for "Beat Box" before getting the album and was amazed!) At the risk of sounding just like the other reviewers "Moments In Love" has to be one of the greatest slow songs ever made. I would be keen to use the song at my wedding! The awesome thing about the album is the group's ability to take ordinary sounds and generate really good musical compositions. My other favorite is "Who's Afraid (Of The Art Of Noise)". It is so much fun to listen and dance to! The same goes for "Realization".
Get the album. You'll love it!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2012
The original LP on this re-issue sounds fantastic, loads of detail and range. Although a lot of these tracks were previously issued on "Into Battle With" (splitting hairs asisde), its nice to have the full album in its full glory.

The DVD with extras is OK but not your main consideration for purchasing this. The "live" tracks/sessions on this disc are pretty horrific, what was the point of a "faceless" group playing tracks live again, I missed that irony?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2008
"Who's Afraid.." remains one of my all time favorite albums. I bought the CD version when it was issued in the latter half of the '90s, but I still prefer my original vinyl copy (I guess I got used to the crackles!).
It's still as fresh, witty, wierd and (occasionally) irresistibly danceable now as it was then.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2015
Exactly as described. Good price and fast delivery. Many thanks
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2012
Not for everyone but Art of Noise is so very cool and in the early '80s so very unique. Many other have since borrowed or copied from them. That's how you can spot the best. They are often imitated. (Of course AofN borrow from the best also -- I get a 10cc vibe during Moments in Love.)
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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Being a young impressionable nipper when this album was released,already owning the single "close to the edit"
I was amazed!! I was buying depeche, Human League, OMD etc... But I was not prepared for this album, Its mad, strange noises, short catchy melodies, left me thinking what the hell are these weirdo's thinking. But keep listening and some of the gem,s will stick! The single "close to the edit" fart noises and all is ok, but snapshot & backbeat still have it. As for Moments in love, its a timeless master piece (still on chill out albums today).
Only get this album if you liked, strange 80's stuff ,kraftwerk etc..
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2012
I have a terrible problem, called Trevor Horn. You see, I just wish he would let us know who, if anyone, he actually is. Is Horn the Buggles? Is he Grace "Slave to the Rhythm" Jones? Is he Malcolm "Waltz Baby!" McLaren? Is he Frankie Goes to Hollywood? Is he, dammit, Yes?? And is "Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise" actually a radical technodance departure, or just a guy who understands turning pig's ears into silk purses? Is he just using up a new piece of technology to pretend to be a band? All style, and no substance, you see. There were, after all, a plethora of "producers" in the early eighties, that record companies could employ at a salary, rather than risking their necks on actual "artists", and it was Horn's aversion to this that started ZTT in the first place. Then he spattered the market with about 17 different mixes of "Relax", smugly calling it "line extension". I'm sorry, I'm growling rather than reviewing AoN, but whereas, initially, I loved the perky notion of putting a rocket up the arse of Kraftwerk, this now just seems exploitative and greedy. I also feel that maybe he FOOLED me into buying this album (and if you think I am being unjust, perhaps try to imagine what -if anything - Frankie would have been without him)with the pretence that it was some group of underground revolution-boffins. Wrong! So, how do I actually see the album? It's OK... it's aged badly, but then there is nothing so dated as last week's dance music (and SAMPLES!), it's OK driving music, but it sure ain't ENO, and it sure ain't Kraftwerk. "Moments In Love" remains beautiful, but then it comes with swhooshes of progrock, which is just about in its favour... I would like Horn to make a solo album, I think. Commit himself and stop playing dilletante-for-profit and third wheel to Paul Morley's pomposity.
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3 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2007
This is an album I bought as an LP in 1984, and as a CD some time in the recent past.

I really don't know why. Listening to it now in 2007, we now know that Trevor Horn's ZTT stable did not herald the revolution it seemed to threaten back in 1984. This album is all about production values, and about building a library of samples (musical and vocal) for later use in 'Frankie Goes to Hollywood' recordings.

Anne Dudley, whose name is also attached to this project, must cringe with embarrassment if she ever listens to this material again. Even 'Moments in Love', which seemed beautiful at the time, sounds far too simple as a tune and far too dependent on sonic effects generated by the Fairlight computer.

If you want to buy an 'Art of Noise' album, I can still recommend 'The Ambient Collection', which reflects Anne Dudley's love affair with the theme tune to the 1960s French TV series, 'Robinson Crusoe'. On that CD, there's a far greater emphasis on musica and less emphasis on impact and effect.
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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2014
Complete and utter dross from the most pretentious band ever. The complete antithesis of music by a talentless bunch of tossers.
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