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Title: The best of the Art of Noise
Author: Simon Witter

ART OF NOISE
The Best Of The Art Of Noise
(China Records LP/Cassette/ CD)

IT SEEMED an odd concept at first, the completely anonymous pop group, but in practice it has worked very well for the Art Of Noise. Listening to this album, you realise how many hits they’ve had, without anybody really noticing. And whilst they’re doubtless enjoying the benefits of success without the itinerant hassles of celebrity, their lack of a fixed identity has also enabled them to collaborate with an unlimited variety of people (Max Headroom, Duane Eddy, Tom Jones, etc.) and switch between a variety of video forms (mini epic, animation) with no regard for their public persona.

Art Of Noise started as they meant to continue, on Trevor Horn’s soundboard, and their widescreen productions perfectly suit the audiophile ‘80s. They may use some of hip hop’s abrasive cut-up techniques, but the harsh edges melt away in their swirling, majestic seduction of aural chocolate mousse.

A track like their version of ‘Peter Gunn’ captures their appeal perfectly, pitting Duane Eddy’s raunchy, bending guitar work and the TV-style horn blasts against an ethereal, Genesis-like soundscape, then subverting the peace with breakbeat edit drama.

This collection contains all the hits – ‘Moments In Love’, ‘Close (To The Edit)’, ‘Peter Gunn’, ‘Paranoima’, ‘Dragnet’ and ‘Kiss’ – and some nifty album tracks to boot. Art Of Noise can be funny, pretentious, raunchy and tender by turns, and nobody can accuse them of inconsistency or selling out. Their sound may be decadently rich and their attitude dilettantish, but this would be a great record to find in any Christmas stocking. (8)

Simon Witter