ZTT's Element series has seen numerous reissues in the form of deluxe edition albums, new compilations and the occasional single since its conception when the label started to reboot its back catalogue in 2010. Daft As A Brush! is Art of Noise's latest entry to the series, the 46th Element is catalogued as BMGCAT326QLP and is an exclusive Record Store Day 2019 release.
This four 12" vinyl set includes previously unreleased tracks along with others appearing on vinyl for the first time. Commencing with Beat Box (Diversions One to Six) we get the original 12" Beat Box (Diversions One and Two) on side one with Diversions Three through to Six on side two. Diversions Three and Four were first released on a New Musical Express cassette entitled Department Of Enjoyment in 1984. It was always a mystery to me why it never came out as a companion remix. Now for the first time we can hear those together with Diversion Five and Six, giving the listener a chance to enjoy the multipart series of Beat Box as a whole.
The second disc, Closer (To The Edit) traces the development of Close (To The Edit) that was itself a spin-off from Beat Box (Diversion Two), that in its original demo form was the very first track that JJ Jeczalik & Gary Langan recorded together that started the Art of Noise. Kicking off with (St)art Of Noise, one is transported through an alterative journey through Art of Noise's biggest hit on ZTT as Close (To The Edge) via A Time To Hear (Who's Listening), 'Listen In' and 'Listen Out'. Ironically Close (To The Edit) was never reissued as a single after its initial releases around the world, so to get it as part of this set will be a dream come true for many fans due to it being overshadowed by its follow-up single.
Disc three, (Share) Moments In Love. Over the years Moments In Love has been reissued in one form or another, either as a standard re-release, picture disc, coloured 12" vinyl or in remixed form and has appeared on numerous compilations since its original outing as part of Into Battle With The Art Of Noise. To some fans it has been re-released to death, for others it is a cult track gaining evermore popularity with it being played as part of chillout sessions in clubs or sampled by other artists. This edition should appeal to everyone. The content on this record is exclusive to this set and contains Moments In Love (Original, Part One), Memento (Hymnal, Part One), Moment In Love (Spring Flowers), 'To The Death... For Life', Moments In Love (Original, Part Two), Memento (Hymnal Part Two), Autumn Leaves and 'For Life... To The Death'.
Disc four contains non-Art of Noise material by Trevor Horn and Paul Morley under the moniker Art & ACT, entitled Life's A Barrell Of Laughs. This failed/abandoned project was created when they tried to carry on as a sort of AoN II after the three key members, Anne Dudley, JJ Jeczalik, Gary Langan left ZTT and were enjoying commercial success around the world. The selection of tracks included here unintentionally disproves the early myth that Horn and Morley were the actual geniuses behind the group as the recordings lack the innovative ideas that were unique to Art of Noise. In some ways these tracks could have easily of been part of a third Buggles album as that's what they remind me of, but for others it can be heard as the forerunner to The Seduction Of Claude Debussy period that would see them reunite with Dudley alongside Lol Creme in the late 1990s as Art of Noise*. This disc nicely rounds off Horn and Morley's involvement with the AoN's early years as a project that had potential but never got off the ground and it is nice to hear all of these tracks in one place instead of being scattered over various releases as it gives the project some depth and meaning. However from this fan's point of view, this disc would have been more satisfying if it had contained just Art of Noise material.

Overall this box set is a welcome addition to the Art of Noise's catalogue spanning almost thirty five years. The sound quality throughout this four part set is second to non. It is a joy to listen to all of these tracks on the intended format they were originally to have been released upon. As with all of the previous Element series releases, Ian Peel has compiled a set that mixes old favourites, with previously unreleased material that perfectly compliment each other, along with his informative sleeve notes show just how much care and thought has gone into the making of this set. Philip Marshall has done an excellent job with the design of the whole package, being faithful to the original XLZTT ethos and adding a new twist to it. Daft As A Brush! is a testament to Art of Noise's two year stint at Zang Tumb Tuum from 1983 to 1985 before "they dressed themselves" and showcases why they have been influential to many of the acts that have followed since their inception.

- KM Whitehouse, April 2019
This website © Copyright K.M. Whitehouse 2008 - 2022
The content in this website is copyright of the curator, K.M. Whitehouse,
all other images, quoted reviews are copyright of the respective copyright holders.
POWERED BY Ezee Hosting