A few years ago work had started on trying to get deluxe reissues of the Art of Noise’s three China Records albums released as they had been out of print since 1999. In 2015 In Visible Silence, its two follow-up albums In·No·Sense? Nonsense! and Below The Waste were reissued alongside the 1990s remix albums as digital downloads. Hope began to fade of any physical format being issued, let a lone a deluxe set. Late 2015, something started to happen, the ball had finally started to roll and In Visible Silence looked like it was to get a deluxe edition version at long last.
Fast forward to 19th May 2017, disc one of the deluxe edition remastered by Gary Langan & JJ Jeczalik is taken out of its packaging and placed into the tray of my trusted 1987 Philips CD-473 Compact Disc player. After the drawer closed, I pressed play expecting to hear a cleaned up high quality remaster, not expecting to be sucked inside the sound, never thinking that this album could be improved upon. After the final track of the original album had ended, came the first batch of extra tracks, the 7” versions of Paranoimia and Legs with the b-sides Hoops And Mallets; Something Always Happens (12” version); Why Me?; A Nation Rejects along with the previously unreleased Backbeat (Reprise). More often than not when additional tracks are added to an original album they can dilute it. Thankfully that is not the case here as they all feel like they were always included on the original In Visible Silence from 1986.
The first part of the second disc, is a treasure trove of previously unheard demos that went on to form the final album along with The First Leg and Second Legs, which as you may guess are earlier versions of Legs. Fans of Max Headroom will get an additional treat as the theme from The Max Headroom Show titled Happy Harry’s High Club is included and released for the very first time. As I have stated in a previous review, the Art of Noise’s demos are superior to many final mixes by other artists, that is certainly true here. The last part of the disc contains six 12” mixes: Legs (Inside Leg Mix); Legs (Last Leg Mix); Peter Gunn (Extended Version); Peter Gunn (The Twang Mix); Paranoimia (Extended Version) and Paranoimia (The Paranoid Mix). Although the last track had been issued on CD before as part of the 2010 compilation Influence, it’s the first time that it had been mastered for that format from the original master tape as at the time it was believed to have been lost and was made from a vinyl copy. If one listens closely you will some hidden gems over the double disc set, nothing has been added as a filler or for the sake of it. Not appearing in this set is Legacy as that was recorded after the In Visible Silence period sessions and having the mixes of the sequel to Legs would have been overkill.
John Pasche’s original 1986 artwork has faithfully been redesigned by Philip Marshall for the digipak and the traditional informative booklet written by the compiler/curator Ian Peel, the same man who rebooted the ZTT catalogue with that label’s Element Series.
By far this was always the Art of Noise’s best album, their most accessible and commercial. Now it is back after eighteen years of being out of print where it can be enjoyed again for the first time in its new form.
Having not heard this for nearly a decade and thinking this was not quite as good as the earlier ZTT albums I was pleasantly surprised to find how good this is. Up there with their best material and with some very good unreleased bonus material well worth adding to your collection. The enclosed booklet is of very high quality and a fascinating read. Must buy for all Art of Noise fans.
Always loved the Art of Noise from when they first appeared on the music scene. Bought the original CD of In Visible Silence when it was first released and was one of the very first CDs I bought to use on my new CD player at the time. Love this remastered version with the additional tracks - would recommend to any Art of Noise fan who still loves the band.
This has never really been off my playlists ever, so 32 years since its first release, it doesn't feel that monumental a release to me, even though it is. However it is an excellent reissue, and covers all the previously unreleased on CD material in a thoughtful and logical way. The bonus demo tracks are a really good insight into how this their second album came about. Wonderfully remasterd too.
Many think that the classic period of Art of Noise were the ZTT years of Moments in Love, Beat Box and Close (To the Edit). Indeed, that time slot of Art of Noise V1 between 1983 to 1984 was the period that brought us the Noise makers into the non-seeing group they were and removed from the roots where they began. Their split during the ZTT travels was a sad one but, damn, were the fans in for one hell of a surprise come 1986. Having left ZTT and Morley and Horn behind, Dudley, Langan and Jeczalik’s move to China Records would be the move that launched to me what is the definitive period of The Art of Noise and in which the group came together in their finest. The outcome of all that work was In Visible Silence, in my mind one of the greatest albums TAON ever released and one of the finest electronic albums of the whole 1980’s. Keeping with their trademark of heavy industrialized drum beats, fine arrangements from Dudley and J.J’s amazing ear for sampling, each track was bizarrely fresh, original and out of the ordinary while being, somehow, one step ahead of the competition on every level. 1986 was, at the time of writing, 30 years ago and now the group are back… with a bang and its 1986 all over again. But now clearer, brighter and remastered. Drawing from fans requests for the China period of the group to be brought back to life, it was like they never left. In Visible Silence has been given the much deserved deluxe treatment. All the tracks have been sourced from the masters or best recordings possible and cleaned up to the highest clarity revealing much more Noise than every before. That’s Noise as in Art. In Visible Silence Deluxe Edition, so it has been branded, is more in keeping of In Visible Silence Vol One & Two. That “Two” being a completely new album. Disc One is the original album from its UK release which has been stunningly cleaned up. The sound and depth is wonderful revealing certain sounds that were lost in the mix of those original 1986 releases. Now the album, disc one, has been expanded to include B-sides from Paranoimia 7” and Legs 7” to include Hoops & Mallets, Why Me, A Nation Rejects and a previously unreleased version of Back Beat which was to accompany the Peter Gunn releases. Disc Two delivers some classic sounding Noise and not only do we get 12” mixes including the rare Legs: Last Legs Mix and a newly restored and much better version of Paranoimia: The Paranoid Mix, but we get the classic Peter Gunn Twang and Extended versions, Legs: Inside Leg Mix, Paranoimia Extended and an array of previously unreleased tracks and studio alternate versions from the In Visible Silence studio sessions and period. Some fans may wonder to where Legacy is. According to discussions, Legacy was not part of the In Visible Silence period. What next? It appears that their next albums of In Sense Nonsense and Below the Waste are next in the series and to receive the same remaster and expanded delights.
This is a real classic. In my opinion, their best album. They were always a bit all over the place, but this album was their most consistent and approachable whilst still maintaining their downright weird humour and quirkiness. It contains the classic singles, 'Paranoimia' and 'Peter Gunn (With Duane Eddy)' and is meticulously produced showcasing their sampling skills and songwriting prowess. There are some definite jazz influences here, especially with the keyboard playing, but it never veers into strange self-indulgent jazz thus maintaining its approachableness.
Now onto the what the Deluxe version brings to the table. It is beautifully packaged, in a glossy gatefold cardboard pack with two discs and a booklet that contains loads of notes as to how they went about putting this version together. Disc one contains the original UK track-listing of the album, along with the 7" versions of Paranoimia (This time with the Max Headroom dialogue), and Legs, along with 4 B-sides, one of which has never appeared on CD before. These songs sit very well alongside the rest of the album and it's a shame they haven't been more prominent before. The 2nd Disc contains a few more B-sides and a whole heap of remixes and extended versions of the singles, all of which sound superb and are almost as good as the originals.
All in all, this is just excellent. The original album sounds better than ever with he re-mastering, and it's great to have all the b-sides and remixes in one place for the first time. Can't wait for when they do their other albums, which are in the works.