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Systems Of Romance Extra tracks, Original recording remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (10 July 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Commercial Marketing
  • ASIN: B000EU1PWS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,835 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

The band's 3rd album from 1978 has been digitally remastered and expanded with the addition of 2 Bonus Tracks. Produced by Conny Plank and Ultravox. The 16 page booklet now contains sleevenotes and lyrics.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Whenever I begin to champion this album, I always commence with an apologetic disclaimer and this review will not diverge from that well-trodden path. It must be stated, that the original Ultravox line-up, fronted by John Foxx, bore no resemblance to the later, `Slick' - Viennese-rollers fronted by that chameleon of popular culture - Midge Ure.

When `Systems of Romance' was released in the late summer of 1978, Ultravox had already released two previous albums. The first being; `Ultravox!' (1977) released at the height of punk. This Eno produced, Bowie influenced record saw the band slated for their unfashionable cyber-punk stance. The follow up `Ha! Ha! Ha!' released in the latter end of the same year was a harder, `punkier' affair, but the final track `Hiroshima mon Amour', revealed a new, romantic element to the band, out went the pseudo-goth lyrics, and in came European, mechanic sensibility.

I had loved the cover of `Ha! Ha! Ha!' the misaligned, 3D starkness of the band, reeked of un-Romanised punk imagery, but yet it contained a psychedelic aloofness that was despised by the music press. John Foxx had planted a seed in my head at the end of Ultravox's last album and I anticipated, what I hoped would be the greatest album ever recorded. My wish that this new album would follow the direction of `Hiroshima mon Amour', was fuelled by the fact that Stevie Shears, the `punk' guitarist had been replaced by a - `long-hair' Robin Simon. On the day of its release, I was not disappointed.

`Systems of Romance' was recorded by Conrad Plank at the legendary Krautrock producer's own studio near Cologne. At the time of recording (1978), no one was producing music like this for it was considered pretentious and unfashionable in the post-punk rock climate.
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Format: Audio CD
Sometimes one stumbles across a 'forgotten' album by accident, listens to it, and wonders why it didn't get the huge ground breaking success it truly deserved. 'Systems of Romance' is one such album.
In my quest for having a complete collection of Ultravox albums I also bought (when I could find them) back catalogue recordings on vinyl of their previous incarnation with John Foxx. That 'Systems of Romance' was the last album I found was a rather cruel twist of fate.
Ultravox mk1 were very much 'arty' and experimental, leaning more to bands like early Roxy Music, David Bowie and to a lesser extent The Velvet Underground. The first album - 'Ultravox!' was pure 'art rock' weirdness, whereas their second 'Ha! Ha! Ha!' succumbed more to the influence of the then current Punk/New Wave movement.
With 'Systems of Romance', their third and final album with John Foxx, they seemed to say to hell with everything and all that was around at the time. Locking themselves away in Germany with some primitive synths, electronic musical equipment, guitars, bass, drums and the guidance of the late lamented German producer Conny Plank they came up with a master piece.
The year was 1978. Punk was still spewing bile, Disco was big and only bands like Kraftwerk were allowed to make electronic music. Then along came this album....
From the opening strains of 'Slow Motion', Systems of Romance proves its significance. Fat synth lines cavort with drums, guitars and the 'extremely English' vocals of John Foxx. It sounded totally unique, and only when Gary Numan (a fan of this album) came along a year later with 'Are Friends Electric?' and 'Cars' did this electro crossover musical style become accepted.
Every track on this album is worthy of a listen.
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By D. J. H. Thorn VINE VOICE on 28 April 2007
Format: Audio CD
I remember this album being released. The publicity surrounding it, though not over-generous, suggested that there was a lot more to come from Foxx and co. Instead, Gary Numan stole their commercial thunder, admitting as much at the time, with his sci-fi fantasies, before Ultravox underwent a major personnel change and a more commercial approach. This album, it must be said, suffered from being a few years ahead of its time. In general, this band were always out of place, a bit like a group of sophisticated Germans plunged into Clash-era Hammersmith. 'Systems Of Romance' pulses at times with the same fire as much of contemporary new wave, but without the street-cred of the era. Meanwhile, David Bowie's higher-profile music was charting overlapping territory. Ultravox, wedged in a gap somewhere between the two, were shoved to the margins.

In truth, though this is a brave, innovative record for its era, it is not one of the greatest albums ever made when it comes to content. The tortured guitars, eerie keyboard backgrounds and Foxx's defiant delivery, coupled with some beautiful lyrics, can't hide some mediocre instrumental arrangements. 'Slow Motion' and 'Can't Stay Long' fill the senses, but the three tracks that follow are more like bad new wave.

The second half of the album is a different matter. Unusually, this is much stronger, varying between the hard-hitting industrial beat of 'Maximum Acceleration' and the eerie closing track, 'Just For A Moment'. In the year of Grease and The Boomtown Rats, Ultravox took risks and paid for them, but they delivered potent images of what was to come.
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