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this takes me back....
on 24 September 2003
I bought the original in 1982 on cassette so was compelled to see if, over 20 years on, I, Assassin still held it's own.
It does to some degree, but is undeniably a product of it's time. Numan returned to thefore having spent a year in America as a tax exile. He "retired" from live performances with a bang, putting on three consecutive sell out extravaganzas at Wembley Arena. Unsurprisingly, for someone who now professes to love touring, he toured I, Assassin in 1982 in North America, having assembled a new band.
It's a rich album, full of warm anlaogue synths and showcasing the talent of a previously unknown bassist called Pino Palladino. Palladino is now one of the most coveted session bassists on the circuit and has played with some of the world's biggest artists on some of the world's biggest stages. On this album, Numan gave him the freedom to explore using the fretless bass as almost a lead instrument. Palladino developed a fat trademark bass sound that is probably best remembered not on this albunm, but on the following year's Paul Young track, "Wherever I lay My Hat".
So, if you're not a fan of fretless bass, you won't like this album.
I, Assassin proper only has eight tracks, three of which were singles, Music for Chameleons, We Take Mystery, and White Boys and Heroes. This remastered edition contains all the additional tracks that were on the flip sides of the singles and the 12"s. (Remember the days when a 12" single was an event because you got extra tracks?) The additions are all good. As a whole though, the album is fairly one dimensional but that's not necessarily a bad thing. There is some strong song writing here especially if you look at the electronic music he was releasing only a couple of years before.
I, Assassin is probably best appreciated when looked at in conjunction with the ablums it's sandwiched between - 1981's Dance and 1983's Warriors. When you look at these three and realise that he wrote these before he was 24, it does show you what a versatile talent he had at the time.
So, if you like your 80s music, like Japan and like your fretless bass, this should be on your list.