The Best of the Art of Noise

This is a mildly challenging review to write not because of the music but because of the sheer number of editions that exist. In broad strokes, however, you've got a Blue and you've got a Pink (and at least one release has both), and one is clearly better than the other. As with many proto-ambient acts sometimes the quantity is just as important as the quality, and the 12" mixes on Blue — particularly the CD release — frankly deliver. While the lead-in "Opus 4" is a little underdeveloped, the big hits are mostly here, including the classic "Beat Box" (especially glittering on the long-play CD as "Beatbox (Diversion One)"), the slightly ominous "Close (To The Edit)," "Dragnet '88" (I liked it, but the music is clearly better than the movie), and my personal two favourites: the extended Max Headroom feature "Paranoimia," Matt Frewer gabble intact, and the so sumptuous it brought tears to my wife's eyes "Moments in Love," this 7 minute form eclipsed only by the 10 minute ecstasy on the vinyl of Into Battle (which you can find on the CD of Daft). Low points, but only by comparison, are eight minutes of Tom Jones trying to get in your pants ("Kiss," although I appreciate the smarmyness as contrast) and the harsh and lugubrious "Legacy;" this, plus the peculiar omission of "The Army Now" from their first EP, loses that fifth star but is still a must-have for any collector of synthopop. Pink, however, is almost atavistic in its choices, reverting to 7" mixes for virtually all the tracks. There are also some appallingly suspect substitutions, such as the complete absence of "Beat Box" (replaced by "Yebo," its world beat fusion being fun to listen to, but hardly revolutionary) and "Moments" (replaced by "Instruments of Darkness" which is just trite in its message); only the replacement of "Close (To The Edit)" with "Robinson Crusoe" is anything close to an even swap. There is still "Peter Gunn" with the wacky Duane Eddy twang, but less of it, and another version of "Paranoimia" with a slightly different script that Edison Carter fans will want to find. The rest is the same but in abridgment, and abridgment is pretty much the entire theme of Pink: a meagre compilation that only hints at luxury, but enough remains to tempt listeners back to the superior release. Will I still be perfect tomorrow? Perhaps, but only one of these two will be. (Content: Tom Jones' hormones.)

Blue: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pink: 🌟🌟🌟