Monday, 20 February 2017

Compiled #1

Something a little while back inspired me to dig out some old compilation records and I got to thinking about all the music I've discovered over the years thanks to various artists comps. I've therefore decided to feature some of my most fondly remembered ones. This isn't intended to be a 'Compilations to take to my grave'-type series, neither am I planning to put a particular number on how many I'm going to write about. I'll probably dig out one or two a month and see how long it takes to get bored of it. You might be surprised by one or two of them.

#1: IQ 6 Zang Tumb Tuum Sampled

This is one I used to have on vinyl and, until recently, thought I still had. Turns out though, it's missing. I was actually quite upset about this so went online and bought the recent CD reissue which includes bonus tracks and a DVD. 'IQ 6 Zang Tumb Tuum Sampled' was originally released in 1985 when the label's flagship band, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, was at the height of its popularity. The record's selling point was the inclusion of two then-unreleased Frankie tracks. That's what made me buy it, anyway. I was a tad disappointed. Disneyland would have been one of 'Welcome To The Pleasuredome''s weakest moments had it made it onto the album, while the so-called "live" version of Born To Run (yes, the Springsteen song) was essentially a recording of the band miming it on The Tube. It sounded almost identical to the studio take on the album.

My dissatisfaction was tempered somewhat by the inclusion of some other great tracks. Most notable of these was a quite brilliant mix of Propaganda's p:Machinery. I'd previously come across Propaganda when I heard Dr. Mabuse on 'Now That's What I Call Music 3' the previous year. But this track, in all its 8-minute glory was the one that grabbed me, and has remained with me since. I can't understand why Propaganda weren't as huge as they should have been. Claudia Brücken’s sharp, German accent may not have helped their cause, but to me this just made them sound more exotic. 'Sampled' also contained Propaganda's cover of the Velvet Underground's Femme Fatale, previously a b-side of Dr. Mabuse. I had no idea who the Velvets were at the time, but it's interesting now to hear this version again having become so familiar with the original in the intervening years.

l-r: Frankie Goes To Hollywood; Propaganda; Anne Pigalle; Instinct

A brand new discovery for me was a band called Instinct. Their track Swamp Out was another big fave of mine, but I never followed them up for some reason. Not that there was anything to follow up. During the recording of their debut album they fell out with producer Trevor Horn, ditched the recordings and split. I still think Swamp Out sounds good, if rather dated.

Elsewhere, there were a couple of Art Of Noise tracks (a band I already knew), two extracts of a composition by modern classical artist Andrew Poppy, and two songs by French chanteuse Anne Pigalle. I wasn't sure at the time if I liked Pigalle's music; it intrigued me but I didn't make a habit of playing it that much. Her only album for ZTT, 'Everything Could Be So Perfect', remained her only album full stop for more than 25 years. It was recently reissued and is well worth tracking down.

I remember playing 'Sampled' quite a lot back in the day. I thought I was quite sophisticated owning a record containing what I regarded as rather arty, esoteric music. I was only 14 at the time... In 2015, it was reissued on CD as 'The Value Of Entertainment'. The CD contained some rather unremarkable bonus tracks ('alternative versions' of the Instinct track and the Frankie not-really-live track that sound almost exactly like the originals; an Andrew Poppy live track and a bunch of Art Of Noise noises), but the draw is the DVD featuring the documentary The Value Of Entertainment. This was a film made during the concerts held to promote 'Sampled' and features some great footage of Propaganda, the Art Of Noise, Instinct and Anne Pigalle. The downside is that it is presented by ZTT co-owner Paul Morley, a man so up his own arse he can probably taste what he ate for dinner the previous evening. Nevertheless, it's a fascinating watch. On the whole, 'Sampled' sounds very much of its time - it hasn't aged well at all - but it remains one of my all-time fave compilations.


  1. Any chance of posting the whole album please?

  2. Sorry Andi, I don't post full albums here Drop me an email though - I'll see what I can do... ;-)

  3. I love a good comp. The best ones dangle those three-minute carrots that get you to buy a rack's worth of albums during your lifetime. Looking forward to seeing which ones influenced your tastes.

  4. I have this on vinyl but haven't listened to it in years. I bought it for the Propaganda stuff as I was a big fan of theirs.

    Oh and even though I hate seeing him on telly or hearing his voice on radio, I'll defend Paul Morley the writer. He's always been a huge talent going back to the NME days. I thoroughly recommended this in particular:-