Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Your Guilty Pleasure: Hello, Hello, Heaven

I realize this was five guys in a studio with a bunch of machines, but I like it.

Plus, without Yes' seminal comeback (oxymoron?) album 90125, the world never would have experienced The Art of Noise, which was comprised of most of 90125's producing team. That group, after the Yes album was on shelves and rising to mega-hit, was noodling around with leftover beats and blips from 90125, feeding them to a Fairlight CMI synthesizer to make something new--not unlike taking the party crudite tray and throwing it in the blender or stockpot for soup.  The Fairlight was hot shit at the time; let me just list what resulted from it for evidence: "Shock the Monkey," the theme from Miami Vice, Kate Bush's album Never for Ever, and entire compositions by famed French noodler Jean Michel Jarre, including 1981's Magnetic Fields (and so there you have that--but wait--actually, not really because they're named after a French book, not Jarre's album. Sigh. I guess the French like their champs when they are magnetique).

Anyway, armed with the Fairlight (two keyboards and a tv screen, in my definition), its sampler, and a couple of additional noodlers, the 90125 team became The Art of Noise, and, by 1983, was releasing some influential output. 90125's primary producer Trevor Horn had already experienced recognition out from behind the console as a member of The Buggles. Yep, him.
Though better known later for the wistful, soundscapey "Moments in Love" (now a Smooth Jazz staple, but that's another story) TAON's "Beat Box," released in 1983, is an aural potage of vocal snips, beats, and blares that contains sounds that launched a thousand hip-hop tracks. Or a few dozen, according to this Whosampled site that is going to become the next big time-waster for me after I'm done with Procatinator.

One here at 1:43--a kind of orchestral blast--ended up in a Kurt Blow track almost immediately. You'll recognize it from, yeah, a thousand other tracks. Because what is any kind of music besides noodling and new use of old ingredients?

And that little BLAP! BLAP-BLAP! is how you get from prog rock to Marky Mark, kids. Through synthesizers.

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