Let me declare an interest; Art of Noise are my favourite band, and have been since I was 16. Those not interested in a fans opinion, turn away now! This is the second version of the 'Best of' that China have released. The first, blue covered version is superior in many ways. The problem with this compilation is that it contains nothing from AON's first few releases, which means classics such as Moments in Love, Close to the Edit and Beatbox are missing. This is due to licencing issues between AoN's first label ZTT, and the later lable, China, who have released this compilation. Having said that, it does gove a good taster of their later, and some would argue more commercial sounding tracks. Nothing wrong at all with the likes of Peter Gunn, Legacy etc, but unfortunately later releases such as Yebo, and 'cash cow' releases by the China label, such as the Prodigy remix of Instruments of Darkness simply can't hold a candle to the missing tracks. The second problem is that the versions of the better singles chosen are inferior to the original releases. Often, they are extended mixes, which whilst 'not bad', often fall into the remix trap and fall short of the originals. This is notably the case for Paranoimia, Peter Gunn, Dragnet and Kiss. Having been critical so far, I should restate that I am a fan of the band and maybe pickier than most. This compilation still demonstrates that AON were decades ahead of the game, and gives a sample of the wonderful catchy oddity that they represent. To me, no band has pushed the sampler as hard as they did back then, and no one has matched their sheer inventiveness. The Prodigy's remix, we see an embodyiment of the impact on modern electronica and dance. I must emphasise here that despite this, this is not an album of what would now be called 'Dance', so folks who like a good tune should be safe! There is none of the drum and bass meandering rythmical m*sturbation or 'duff duff duff' of house. Also, Something Always Happens, a track not available on any album is excellent, and well worth the £4.99 that Amazon are currently charging! In sumation then, a pretty good introduction to Art of Noise at their most commerical, but if you are looking for that wonderful aural inventiveness, great hooks, classical genius and quirky electronica that are the AON at their best, I'd try and get the old 'blue' edition or buy an album proper (I would recommend Invisible Silence, In No Sense Nonsense or Daft). "Oh, you don't think I should do one more...?"
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