on 13 November 2014
Five stars for the music. I should take off a star for the packaging but that does not do the music justice, so I careffully stick to 5.
Bad news first, the cover design of Rage in Eden is not the original for copyright issues. It is the alternative artwork that had to be used for a while. There are no lyrics but there have never been any as the artists will demanded the listener to listen, not read, fact. Anyway, one thing I can't get my head around is why the 2 albums are in the wrong chronological order.
Good news is the music. These 2 albums are the first 2 releases of Ultravox's Midge Ure line up and undeniably the best.
Vienna is an absolute milestone in electronic music. Fantastic songwriting, excellent production, and a great retrospect into music technology in 1980. Ultravox did not just play their synthesizers. They explored them, made them better. Matter of fact they contributed to the evolution of synthesizers and drum machines. This makes Vienna special. The beauty is that there's still a lot of rock involved with regards to Midge Ure's guitars and Warren Cann's drums. Both of them equally contributed to the electronic side of things, the latter is one of the great pioneers of drum machines. Midge's vocals are brilliant. Billy Currie adds classical vibe with piano, string synths and viola and Chris Cross plays bass guitar or the cold dystopian monophonic synth bass lines that were so representative of its time. Astradyne, Vienna and Mr x are electronic milestones not far from Kraftwerk. Rock songs like Sleepwalk, All Stood Still or New Europeans are no way dated. This album is a classic.
Rage in Eden is not bad either. It's probably less pioneering or experimental for that matter, less instrumentals in favour of songs. It sounds a bit more on the safe side, more rock. Its 2 singles The Thin Wall and The Voice represent the album quite well. However, a great New Wave/Electronic Rock album, with similar sound and production as its predecessor, again produced with the German "Ur-Gestein" Conny Planck. You can't go wrong with that either.
Both CDs are very well mastered and sound brilliant. They are topped up generously with all the B-Sides of the singles, so you get the awesome German version of Mr X (Herr X) on here as well.
The packaging could be better but musically you cannot ask for more.