Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
Stunning summary of electronic pioneer's musical career
on 2 July 2001
John Foxx (born Dennis Leigh) did some remarkable things musically while fronting Ultravox! at the tail end of the 1970s. The band rapidly evolved from a post-punk ensemble into a more refined, electronically-tinged unit over the course of three studio albums. Foxx then decided that he had other designs outside the band's scope and went solo in 1979. Ultravox enlisted Midge Ure to round out the quartet and would go on to critical and popular success. Foxx's musical career over the next five years would prove less glorious, but decidedly more influential in retrospect.
Foxx's early singles like "Underpass" and "Burning Car" conjured images of isolation and alienation, punctuated by a robotic delivery. While the themes would recur frequently, Foxx dropped the affected monotone after his first solo album, "Metamatic" (also the name of his label). However, another artist of the day would grasp onto that identity and make it his own. John Foxx founded all of the elements that would make Gary Numan a superstar.
Perhaps overcompensating for "Metamatic's" mechanical vocals, Foxx's voice veered toward the melodramatic at times on his next two albums, "The Garden" and "The Golden Section". His style had warmed up, with traditional instrumentation introduced back into the mix. Foxx's final album for Virgin, 1985's "In Mysterious Ways", was a more reserved affair, slightly foreshadowing some of his later ambient work. Foxx then took an extended break from music to focus on other artistic pursuits, including photography.
"Modern Art" capably encapsulates Foxx's 20+ years of musical product over 18 tracks, including all of his Virgin singles, samples of his later work (including collaborator Louis Gordon), b-sides and the odd rarity. The remastered sound is exceptional and the packaging and liner notes are most commendable.
If you have never experienced Foxx's work before, this is the perfect starting point (and mightly reasonable pricewise). For longtime admirers, "Modern Art" is the perfect companion to the "Assembly" compilation. And this CD represents essential listening for anyone with an interest in the history and development of electronic music..