Record Collector
James Whittington

Publication Date:
June 2004


* * *
Max Headroom does not appear, nor does Tom Jones. Tidy
Before they helped Max Headroom hit the charts (Paranoimia) or resurrected the careers of Tom Jones (Kiss) and Duane Eddy (Peter Gunn) Art of Noise brought sampling to the masses. Daft is a collection of tracks culled from the bands first album, Who's Afraid Of The Art Of Noise, the Moments In Love 12" and the Into Battle mini album all remixed by original pro-ducer Trevor Horn.
In the mid-80s, it was easy to label Art of Noise as preten-tious, uncool art snobs. With an elitist style that coupled Paul Morley's eccentric sleevenote pontification with the bands tech-no synth pop, they took their music to the upper classes dur-ing the height of yuppiedom. This 5.1 surround mix is the perfect opportunity for a re-assessment, as AoN seem to have been born for the multi-channel format.
This SACD shows off their creativity without the excesses to blur our judgement, and while not entirely successful, the results are still exciting — as on Close (To The Edit), which uses every speaker available — and Moments in Love, during which the "sissosoos" effect drifts leisurely around the room. Some tracks could have been dropped — The Army Now is irritating to an extreme while Donna is Vangelis on a bad day — but on the whole it's a satisfying reminder of early experimental sampling by pop pioneers.
James Whittington

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