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4.1 out of 5 stars26
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 1 May 2014
When I first heard of the project I was very excited about the prospect of hearing all these old ZTT tunes remixed. The first initial tinge of disappointment was that it was 80% FGTH. Not so much of a problem, but this compilation is worth more than 1 AoN track, and Propaganda's P-Machinery is a massive omission. But I digress...

To the mixes themselves, well, by god they are long. Which, to me, normally isn't a bad thing but in some places here less could be more. The mix of "Duel" is far too long. It's 6 minutes in before you get to vocal and before then you have elements of the start, middle, end, middle, start, end...and then the vocals. At least to have a smattering of vocal (or even some clever choppy vocals) before the 6 minute mark when, frankly (no pun intended) I was getting a bit bored.

"Two Tribes" is a mess, I can't get to grips with what B&J are trying to achieve. Like Duel, it's a bit all over the place. Whereas "Warriors..." I think they hit the nail on the head, with some nice beat editing (which I thought there would be more of, but sadly there isn't.)

"The Power of Love" does lift out the magic of the composition quite well, but again they fall into the trap of having elements of the ending before even the vocal has begun (and given the amount of 'depth' we were told they had on offer, I would have thought this kind of 'bedroom mixing' that even I did in the 80's would be avoided.)

I really do appreciate the 'art' of what the B&J have done, I just wish the mixes could have been a bit more playful and not so rigid and strict. What do I mean? Well, the best example I could think of, and I must admit I was waiting for it...is in "Dr Mabuse" when the vocal of "Kein Zurueck fuer dich" is sung. I would have liked the music to have gone quiet and just to have left the words...but the mixes are too structured and clearly became a labour of love for B&J to allow themselves to have some fun! The mixes would still have been faithful but would have shown a bit more flair.

Now, if B&J could do the same for Depeche Mode...hugely unlikely though!
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on 17 February 2015
I must admit when I first purchased this, I nearly put it back on the rack after one listen but I have found myself playing it continuously. The issue as others have said is that none of these versions are as good as Horn/Lipson/Morley etc extensions from the halcyon 1983-87 period of ZTT, save for the lovely extension of The Power of Love. The reason I have played it so much though, is that they are all familiar songs mixed in a sympathetic manner (i.e. only using the original masters and no new overdubs) and as such - its virtually a ZTT greatest hits album (save for the omission of Close to the edit and P:Machinery).
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on 8 November 2015
Any fans of ZTT and Frankie Goes To Hollywood in particular would give anything to access the original master takes and hear the component parts used to create the masterpieces we know and love, but I feel Blank & Jones have missed a suitable opportunity to let us hear more of the subtle details within the tracks. As others have said, the tracks are too long, and add very little extra interest to what has previously been heard. Occasionally, you'll hear some instrumentation that was buried deep in the original mixes, but these glimpses are few and far between. It's such a shame, as the intention to keep the original instruments without adding or changing it for more modern sounds is a superb idea if executed properly. Buy this if you want to complete your collection, but I suspect it's not something you'll listen to as often as you'd intend to.
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on 29 April 2014
Well it is hard to improve on perfection, but B&J have had a good and respectful go. It is rather like turning up at a garage and seeing your favourite classic car taken to bits and then examining all the parts; interesting, but ultimately they work better as a whole. All the ‘versions’ have appeal, apart from ‘Duel’; it is a personal favourite (and the original 12” Bitter Sweet mix is just wonderful). Sadly though B&J have over-sweetened it and taken out the mystery and bitterness. Just don’t think they’ve understood the song or its lyric. Would have been good to hear a version of p:machinery. Give it a go; its a refreshing meander through the archive, but stick with, now easy to find, original mixes if you want the crown jewels in all their glory.
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on 28 April 2014
...their welcome (unfortunately). When I first saw the tracklisting my heart sunk a wee bit as there was so little non-FGTH on offer, and several tracks were over 10mins long. However generally B&J have done a great and sympathetic job to tracks they clearly love - including some slightly odd FGTH b-sides/LP tracks as those were the master tapes were made available to them. B&J's approach includes extended, constructed intros and outros, something which may not appeal to all, but is an interesting alternative to the original 12" mixes.

However, there are plenty of highlights for those who like the original versions, plus those who like the Razormaid approach to layering and re-construction. All 3 Propaganda tracks are excellent, "Duel" in particular having a lot more space than the original mixes, and keyboards brought to the fore that you will recall as counter-melodies low in the original mix. "Dr Mabuse" is approached in a similar way, the 'seagulls' segment overlaid with some keyboards that are clearly original but work much better in their new setting!

For me FGTH's "Relax", "Rage Hard" (using elements from both main 12" versions)and "Warriors" are worth the entrance price alone, but I agree that 16 mins of "Pleasuredome" is over-indulgent, and doesn't seem to really add much to the original (bar several minutes). "Power of Love" is also very long, but nicely arranged. "Two Tribes" is ok too, but I found the repeated use of the "If your...tagged for identification" line a tad lazy, as there are several other dialogue items they could've used.

Sometimes vocal lines are edited, or placed slightly unexpectedly, such as in "Relax", which can throw the listener on first listen, and a few tracks may arguably lose some of the original energy. Further listens do allow you to adjust your initial expectations though, and in most case the tracks gain in other ways (never been a fan of "San Jose", still not!).

Aside from all the tracks we would've liked to have seen here, but tapes not currently available for B&J to work with, AoN "Moments in Love" is a disappointment. Maybe because the original 12" is pretty much spot on, if lengthy. The Paul Morley snippets and false start mean you don't get much of the track in its strongest form. Shame B&J couldn't have done a re-edit of "Close" too, as they did with Human League's "Don't You Want Me", as that would have been preferable to balance the Frankie material. Maybe if there's a second volume....?

4 strong stars, rated from the MP3 edition (CD with the booklet seems to be in short supply at present). One for the fans, but don't get rid of your original 12" mixes, just add these to them!
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on 3 August 2014
I tried to like it and and I can clearly say that I appreciate the effort. But: What has come out of all the work is am okay CD that has some moments but that lacks an overall concept for the songs and thus an overall magic. Yes, okay, Blank and Jones have taken the material and added a few axtra effects and "oohs" and "ahhhs". But taking "Warriors of the Wasteland" as an example: What they basically did is cut the original song to pieces and then put it together in a number of astonishing ways. I liked the verse that Holly sang when in the background there is the string tone going all the time, but that happens just one verse and the end of the song is just the rythm, as if they wanted to fill some time.
The magic of the Trevor Horn mixes to me were that he took a song, added an intro and an outro and maybe some new instrumentation and then you had something special. You can compare the process with word formation. You take a word (say "Frankie"), add a prefix ("re") and a suffix ("sized") and you have created a totally new word: "refrankiesized". To take the comparison even further: Blank and Jones have not "refrankiesized", they cut the whole word into its tiny fragments, the letters, and thus end up with "rekrafinesized". Hm, not so convincing. The only time I felt the whole thing worked was with "San Jose". Maybe that's because Blank and Jones have already worked with Cafe del Mar tunes. Here they add an intro and outro and we have the whole thing nicely tied together. Or: Maybe it's just me and my preferances. But: This CD will go in the file "Collectibles" and not in my daily listening file.
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on 3 March 2015
Great to hear new mixes all from the original sarm/ztt files - sound like they are mixes from the 80's
a great job by Blank & Jones - cant wait for Volume 2!!!!!
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on 21 May 2014
The reviews are a bit mixed for this album and thats fair enough. The original mixes of these tracks are considered by many as some of the best extended mixes of all time. So any new versions have a tough act to follow and are perhaps always going to fail to improve on the original mixes from back in the day.
So should they have been left alone? There were a lot of remixes of these tracks released some time ago, mixed by Rob Searle amongst others. These were very much of their time created to be played loudly in the nightclubs of that time. These new remixes by Blank & Jones are different as they are very much of their time also, as long as that time is the mid 1980s. Now that is just fine with me. I loved listening to these songs back then and collecting all the different mixes. Over the years unreleased mixes from ZTT have surfaced on various compilations and surely by now the cupboard must have run dry? (or maybe not?!)
Obviously Blank & Jones cannot travel back to the mid 80s and remix these tracks so the next best thing is allowing them to use only the original master multi tracks to create these new/old mixes.
So what are they like? Well because only original tapes were used they sound very faithful to the original mixes and I think sit well along mixes made back in the day. They are not radically different in terms of the sounds/samples used so are immediately familiar to fans of the originals.
So to conclude I think this is a worthwhile project and a pleasure to listen to. I understand some will have issues with parts of the mixes and thats fair enough. There is a lot to like here however and he sound quality is excellent as well.
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on 29 April 2014
I think other reviewers are missing the point somewhat. Yes these are essentially reverential revisits to classic tracks we all know inside and out. The really interesting thing about this compilation for me is how B&J have focused on the all the little subtleties of the original mixes and brought them into the fore of the mix - the wonderful conga and bass section of Dream within a Dream is given more space to breath and extended slightly, the bassline in Welcome to the Pleasuredome is so clean sounding and you can hear the little half notes and runs in the sequence like never before, it's incredible (and if you can't listen to the full 16 mins in pure delight at the clarity of the mix, I don't think you should be here!) - percussion is emphasised too - listen to the clarity of the bongos and hi hats on Two Tribes - so 'up' in the mix, as they should perhaps have been from the start - sounds aggressive and urgent and the vocals are brought to the front too. Interestingly also with Two Tribes you can clearly hear another synth sound sitting directly underneath the sampled and sequenced bassline - again, they've let this solo for a little while towards the end of the track - perhaps as a 'look what we found' gesture? I love these little Easter Eggs!

Art of Noise are under represented - I would have loved to have heard a re-construction of Beatbox for instance.

They could have just left Power of Love at the wonderful strings section - I always thought that song was cloying and sickly sweet sentimental rubbish........San José too, a cover that should never have made the final cut of any record!

Overall it's the nuances that work for me - the air around the Linn drum kick in Duel - little things like that - it's a producers record and a nod to Trevor Horn's amazing original production, but stands up in it's own right.
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on 17 June 2015
If you live frankie, and only frankie. Thus is a must. Very swish and has a nice 80`s style to it.
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