In 1986 it was assumed that high tech studio groups wouldn’t be able to play live without the use of pre-programmed machines or backing tracks. The thought of using additional musicians was often ruled out as conventional instruments could never replicate the sounds created in the studio. Enter the Art of Noise, one of the most technological groups of the time to come up with a solution to this misconception.
By taking a live band on the road and changing the actual sounds of the instruments via a Fairlight CMI, the problem was solved resulting in a series of shows in North American, Japan and England. Almost thirty five years to the day since Art of Noise played in Tokyo, from when this “lost” album was recorded it gets its first ever release on CD and a stunning limited edition double white vinyl LP in a gatefold sleeve. For those that prefer a digital album it can also be downloaded.
ChronologicallyNoise In The City is the missing link between In Visible Silence and In·No·Sense? Nonsense! that contains the full length unadulterated show originally broadcast on 8th August 1986 using the original multi-tracks and master tapes that were mixed by Gary Langan (not in the performance). This show, along with the one recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London was bootlegged mainly on C90 audio cassettes under the heading Live Tapes in For Sale sections of various music papers like the New Musical Express.
Although thirty five years late, the aforementioned Hammersmith Odeon show from the last date of the Dress To Impress tour was on released on home video in 1987 giving many fans their chance to see and hear Art of Noise in concert. Both shows sound very similar, which is stating the obvious but there are differences between the video and audio albums. Both work perfectly on the mediums that they have been released on, making it extremely difficult to compare between the two, so on with the show…
Anne Dudley & JJ Jeczalik (both in the performance) are not rock & roll front-man/front-woman performers, the way that they connected with the audience with a little spoken Japanese between the tracks came across as charming and respectful. Editing those out would have made the album seem soulless and cold. For the music itself, although not sounding like the recordings released on records, or that of typical live band, makes this hybrid of pioneering technology and musicianship very interesting listening. The majority of the tracks on this album are renditions of of those from the In Visible Silence long player, that is presented almost in its entirety with the exception of Slip Of The Tongue, Camilla - The Old, Old Story and The Chameleon's Dish, substituted by the hits Close (To The Edit), Moments In Love along with Beat Box.
For the first time the “lost” recordings Eye Of A Needle and In The Mood are officially released, tracks that were omitted from the In Visible Silence video. The former, although recognisable is turned into a splendid avant-garde jazz number, the latter is Art of Noise’s swing tribute to Glenn Miller with vocals from the Noisettes: Katie Humble, Pepe Lemer and Linda Taylor. The “Band” featured the talents of Dave Bronze (bass), Simon Moreton (percussion) and Paul Robinson (drums) creating the on stage powerhouse sound alongside Dudley (keyboards) & Jeczalik (CMI). Each track sounds as  captivating as its studio counterpart, the only noticeable thing missing from the performances is Duane Eddy’s signature twangy guitar playing on Peter Gunn.
The sound quality of the audio is a fine example Langan’s engineering and mixing skills giving the music room to breathe and allowing the listener to hear the nuances contained within, unlike a lot of live albums that come across as slightly claustrophobic and dull. After being used to watching and hearing the video counterpart for so many years, it was strange to listen to this concert without any video footage. I mean this in a good way as one's auditory senses become fine-tuned without being distracted by visual stimuli that can detract from the listening experience.
The artwork is based upon the original In Visible Silence video cover, re-worked by Philip Marshall with words by Ian Peel.For those people not familiar with Noisespeak 2, there is a treat to read, the Art of Noise being interviewed from that fanpaper which was available from the original Art of Noise Home Service in 1986 from the days where envelopes, paper, pens and stamps were the only way you could get in touch with your favourite pop stars. The only small criticism I have is that the typeface within the CD packaging is hard to read. The CD & vinyl releases were put out in Europe by Music On CD and Music On Vinyl, respectively making the retail prices more expensive for British buyers than if they were issued in the UK.
- KM Whitehouse, August 2021
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