Adventures in sonic exploration. AoN's debut full-length album, back when the group included the genius of Trevor Horn. This music was at least five years ahead of its time, if not ten. Living up to their name, AoN produces artful noises through drum machines, samples, and dubs of random noises. Fantastic production. Big, big drums. It would seem this could all be done today with just GarageBand software, but that discounts the vision and musicality of the group. At times, the production is stripped away and what's left is (believe it or not) good songwriting. Sure, it sounds dated now, but in '84 when the Fairlight CMI workstation the latest in musical technology, this stuff was pushing the envelope, especially in terms of sampling. Artists like Moby, Massive Attack, and Chemical Brothers owe a great deal to AoN.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #85
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #22
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #97
Tracks: Highlights here include Beat Box (Diversion One) and Close (To The Edit) which has one of the most bizarre, disturbing videos of 1984 (below). The cut with staying power has been Moments In Love, which is probably the first song ever recorded in the chill-out/downbeat genre. There are many, many remixes of Moments In Love, but the 10:17 track included here is the definitive version in my book. However, its laid-back, smooth vibe is out of place when listened to with the other more aggressive, playful tracks. Feel free to skip Snapshot, Momento, and How To Kill.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None. Just regret that someone didn't introduce me to this at the time of its release.
Previously revisited for the blog:
The Best of The Art of Noise (1988)
In No Sense? Nonsense! (1987)