Red Noise were formed as a French anarchic outfit in late 1960s by Patrick Vian (guitar), a son of a French poet / writer / jazz musician Boris Vian. It's said they've played on stage defended in barricades in Université Sorbonne. They released one and only album "Sarcelles Lochères" in 1970 and soon were disbanded in the same year. Their indomitable spirit for rock music could be taken over by another French project named Komintern.
Discovery Records, just before its demise, did a great and wondrous thing by putting out four, count them, four Art of Noise CDs in one fell swoop. Art of Noise began in the mid-'80s and is now a touchstone to which all electronic music should be compared. While compiling their own collections, Discovery Records was able to take advantage of a excellent compendium ready for reissue. Ambient Collection had long been a jewel in many vinyl collections. These Art of Noise catalog remixes by Youth, bassist for Killing Joke, remain a classic of compositional ambient electronica. One of the themes to this ambient opus is explicitly stated in "Robinson Crusoe" and hinted at elsewhere. Art of Noise's Anne Dudley had mentioned just before the original 1990 release on a GLR Radio U.K. program that French composer Robert Mellin's main theme for "Robinson Crusoe" recalled here was one of her Top Ten favorite pop songs.
The place for Art of Noise neophytes to start, Daft collects (Who's Afraid Of?) The Art of Noise! and Into Battle with the Art of Noise, along with two reworkings of "Moments in Love" from the original U.K. release of that song, to make a fantastic hour's worth of music. If anything, a single or two aside, Daft beats out the official Best Of compilation by a mile. Having aged superbly with time, AON's early works sound all the more advanced and of the moment, a testament especially to Trevor Horn's excellent production and Anne Dudley's gripping arrangements. Further entertainment comes from the liner notes, which aren't merely state-of-the-art 1984 album design but an apparently barbed attack on the further incarnation of the band from one Otto Flake. The exact seriousness of this is up to the reader. As for the "Moments in Love" versions, both are gentler and more elegant than the already lush original, and none the worse for that, though "(Three Fingers Of) Love" does have rather disconcerting sound effects added to it.
In No Sense? Nonsense! was the third full-length album by Art of Noise, recorded and released in 1987. By the time of its recording, the group had been reduced to a duo, with engineer Gary Langan leaving the previous year—Langan's mix engineering duties were taken over by Bob Kraushaar and Ted Hayton for this album, but the music was produced entirely by Anne Dudley and J.J. Jeczalik. The album saw the group expanding its sound to include rock and orchestral instrumentation, in addition to its trademark sampling. Many of the album's tracks are seamlessly segued; ambient soundscapes blend into percussive rhythms, dramatic buildups, melodic string arrangements, and vocal choruses and chants. The sounds of various forms of transport are a recurrent theme. Musical motifs from "Dragnet," "Galleons of Stone," and "Ode to Don Jose" recur throughout the album.
Art of Noise's first full album, (Who's Afraid Of?) The Art of Noise!, consolidated the future shock of the earlier EPs and singles in one entertaining and often frightening and screwed-up package. Rarely has something aiming for modern pop status also sought to destroy and disturb so effectively. The most legendary song is still "Close (To the Edit)," benefiting not merely from the innovative video but from its strong funk groove and nutty sense of humor in the mostly lyric-less vocals, not to mention the "hey!" vocal hook the Prodigy would sample for "Firestarter." Its close cousin, the title track, brilliantly blends a nagging bass synth, echoed drum, and percussion fills and constantly shifting vocal cut-ups, random noises, and strange melodies. They're just two highlights on this prescient release, though. Part of the thrill of Who's Afraid is the sense of juxtaposition and playing around, something still not very common in music and even less so in the pop music genre.
Robert Mugge filmed jazz great Sun Ra on location in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. between 1978 and 1980.