The Most Expensive Music I Ever Bought [part 3]

By far the costliest music selection I have ever bought was the 8x CD box sold by Razormaid! called “The Best of the ‘Test’ Series.” For those that do not know, Razormaid! was one of the earliest and best of the “dj remix” services out there in the world. You may be familiar with remixed 12″ singles and the like where labels release longer, different versions of cuts aimed at the dancefloor. Remix services [Razormaid!, Art Of Mix, Disconet, DMC, etc.] take this a step further and produce further mixes and issue them in very limited editions for members of their “dj pool” who pay dearly to subscribe to these services so that they can mix for the floor with “exclusive” remixes that you can’t hear outside of the clubs they spin in.

Razormaid’s remix work was so exemplary, that in a reversal of fortune, labels began licensing their remixes back for commercial release! In the early days they worked from pressed vinyl but at a certain point, they began accessing multi-track masters from the labels and the quality of their efforts rose commensurately. Anyone who has heard the Razormaid mix of “The Fanatic [the nail in my soul]” knows that they are certainly capable of greatness.

If you’re like the PPM, you want all you can get by your favorite artists, and that’s where remix service tracks come into play. If you have everything that’s out there, this represents the final frontier for die-hard fans. Due to Razormaid’s agreements with the labels they license the tracks from, there is no legal aftermarket for Razormaid products. Subscribers have no resale rights and any copies in the possession of a non-subscriber must be surrendered on demand.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t find them in the used bins of the hipper record stores! I’ve even lucked out and found Disconet 12″ EPs in thrift stores for chump change! By and large, though, these releases sell for $20-40 on the grey aftermarket.

I had bought from a certain dealer I can’t remember in Goldmine in the early 90s and one day received a letter from them touting something called “This Is Only A Test: The Best of the ‘Test’ Series.” They were selling it to their customers in pre-release and buyers received an 8xCD box for the princely sum of $225. At no point did I fill our a subscriber registration form but the dealer still sold the box to me as though I were a regular DJ pool subscriber. That worked out to about $28/disc, which was a fair rate, comparable to what I normally paid at used record stores or record shows for these products. But would there be enough material to hit the tipping point? Let’s see. Tracks I like are in red.

Razormaid Records | US | 8xCD | 1992 | TBS-001-8

This Is Only A Test: The Best of the ‘Test’ Series 8xCD box

Disc 1

  1. Living In A Box  –  Living In A Box (Razormaid Mix)
  2. Tracy Ackerman  – Love Hangover (Razormaid Mix)
  3. Bananarama  – Love In The First Degree (Razormaid Mix)
  4. Rick Astley  – My Arms Keep Missing You (Razormaid Mix)
  5. Claudia Brücken  – Absolute (Razormaid Mix)
  6. Joëlle Ursull  – Miyel (Razormaid Mix)
  7. Desireless  – Qui Sommes Nous (Razormaid Mix)
  8. Sandra  – We’ll Be Together (Razormaid Mix)
  9. Mel & Kim  – That’s The Way It Is (Razormaid Mix)
  10. Pia Zadora  – Dance Out Of My Head (Razormaid Mix)
  11. Hazell Dean  – They Say It’s Gonna Rain (Razormaid Mix)
  12. Sylvester  – Sooner Or Later (Razormaid Mix)

Disc 2

  1. Ankie Bagger  – Where Were You Last Night (Razormaid Mix)
  2. Secret Service  – Night City (Razormaid Mix)
  3. London Boys  – London Nights (Razormaid Mix)
  4. Sandra  – Everlasting Love (Razormaid Mix)
  5. Samantha Fox  – Love House (Razormaid Mix)
  6. Sweet Connection  – Need Your Passion (Razormaid Mix)
  7. Holly Johnson  – Atomic City (Razormaid Mix)
  8. The Human League  – Heart Like A Wheel (Razormaid Mix)
  9. Dead Or Alive  – Hooked On Love (Razormaid Mix)
  10. Kim Wilde  – You Came (Razormaid Mix)
  11. Kim Wilde  – Stone (Razormaid Mix)
  12. Jean Paul Gaultier  – How To Doo Zat (Razormaid Mix)

Disc 3

  1. Rick Astley  – Take Me To Your Heart (Razormaid Mix)
  2. Sandra  – Heaven Can Wait (’91 Version) (Razormaid Mix)
  3. Hazell Dean  – Always (Doesn’t Mean Forever) (Razormaid Mix)
  4. Debbie Harry  – In Love With Love (Razormaid Mix)
  5. Krush  – House Arrest (Razormaid Mix)
  6. L.A. Mix  – Check This Out (Razormaid Mix)
  7. Culture Beat  – Der Erdbeermund (Razormaid Mix)
  8. Hubert Kah  – It’s Me Cathy (Razormaid Mix)
  9. Pet Shop Boys  – So Hard (Razormaid Mix)
  10. Silicon Dream  – Wunderbar (Razormaid Mix)
  11. Dux Dux  – Keep On Pushin’ Harder (Razormaid Mix)
  12. Simon Harris  – Here Comes That Sound (Razormaid Mix)

Disc 4

  1. Blue Mercedes  – I Want To Be Your Property (Razormaid Mix)
  2. 400 Blows  – Movin’ (Razormaid Mix)
  3. Baby Ford  – Beach Bump Medley (Razormaid Mix)
  4. Liza Minnelli  – Love Pains (Razormaid Mix)
  5. Deborah Sasson  – Danger In Her Eyes (Razormaid Mix)
  6. Departure  – Rendezvous… (Razormaid Mix)
  7. Boytronic  – Don’t Let Me Down (Razormaid Mix)
  8. D-Shake  – Tune In! (Razormaid Mix)
  9. Dux Dux  – C’Mon Boy (Razormaid Mix)
  10. Technotronic  – It All Sounds The Same (Medley) (Razormaid Mix)
  11. Technotronic  – More Of The Same (Medley) (Razormaid Mix)

Disc 5

  1. Eighth Wonder  – I’m Not Scared (Razormaid Mix)
  2. Cure, The  – Hot Hot Hot (Razormaid Mix)
  3. Prince  – Housequake (Razormaid Mix)
  4. Janet Jackson  – Control (Razormaid Mix)
  5. Centerfold  – Dictator (Razormaid Mix)
  6. Hubert Kah  – Military Drums (Razormaid Mix)
  7. Boy George  – No Clause 28 (Razormaid Mix)
  8. Desireless  – Elle Est Comme Les Etoiles (Razormaid Mix)
  9. Sandra  – In The Heat Of The Night (Razormaid Mix)
  10. Taylor Dayne  – Prove Your Love (Razormaid Mix)
  11. Kiss AMC  – A Bit Of…(U2) (Razormaid Mix)
  12. Depeche Mode  – Strangelove (Razormaid Mix)

Disc 6

  1. Raze  – Break For Love (Razormaid Mix)
  2. Out Of The Ordinary  – The Dream (Razormaid Mix)
  3. Wee Papa Girl Rappers  – Heat It Up! (Razormaid Mix)
  4. Bizz Nizz  – Get Into Trance (Razormaid Mix)
  5. Liza Minnelli  – Don’t Drop The Bombs (’91 Version) (Razormaid Mix)
  6. Lonnie Gordon  – Happenin’ All Over Again (Razormaid Mix)
  7. Beat Box Clever  – This Contagious House (Razormaid Mix)
  8. The Grid  – Beat Called Love (Razormaid Mix)
  9. Liz Torres  – Touch Of Love (Razormaid Mix)
  10. Dusty Springfield  – Born This Way (Razormaid Mix)
  11. Pet Shop Boys  – Always On My Mind (Razormaid Mix)
  12. Risqué   – Girls Are Back In Town (Razormaid Mix)

Disc 7

  1. Angel Chorus  – Devil On My Shoulders (Razormaid Mix)
  2. Technotronic  – Pump Up The Jam (Razormaid Mix)
  3. Thompson Twins  – Bombers In The Sky (Razormaid Mix)
  4. Gina T.  – Tokyo By Night (Razormaid Mix)
  5. Electronic  – Getting Away With It (Razormaid Mix)
  6. Dead Or Alive  – Stop Kicking My Heart (Razormaid Mix)
  7. Samantha Fox  – I Only Wanna Be With You (Razormaid Mix)
  8. Baby Ford  – Chicki Chicki Ahh Ahh (Razormaid Mix)
  9. Celebrate The Nun  – Will You Be There? (Razormaid Mix)
  10. Dusty Springfield  – In Private (Razormaid Mix)
  11. Pet Shop Boys  – It’s Alright (Razormaid Mix)
  12. Depeche Mode  – Happiest Girl (Razormaid Mix)

Disc 8

  1. Pet Shop Boys  – Left To My Own Devices (Razormaid Mix)
  2. Kim Wilde  – Never Trust A Stranger (Razormaid Mix)
  3. Eartha Kitt/Bronski Beat  – Cha Cha Heels (Razormaid Mix)
  4. Mike Mareen  – Agent Of Liberty (Razormaid Mix)
  5. Nick John  – We Stand Together (Razormaid Mix)
  6. Erasure  – Blue Savannah (Razormaid Mix)
  7. Sylvester  – Do You Want To Funk (Razormaid Mix)
  8. Bronski Beat  – Smalltown Boy (Razormaid Mix)
  9. Act  – I Can’t Escape From You (Razormaid Mix)
  10. Okay  – Why?…Boys! (Razormaid Mix)
  11. Dead Or Alive  – Turn Around & Count To 10 (Razormaid Mix)
  12. Hazell Dean  – Stand Up! (Razormaid Mix)

At the time I collected Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Depeche Mode, Dead Or Alive, Claudia Brücken, Act, Mel + Kim, Desireless and Bananarama. Furthermore, 1990 era Liza Minelli and Dusty Springfield were both were produced by the Pet Shop Boys at that time, making the cuts interesting to me. Looking at this roster in 2010 there’s no way in hell I’d drop $225 on this sad collection of eurotrash house music for just 38/95 cuts I liked! What’s sadder is that many of these 37 cuts, like those by Kim Wilde and Boy George, are by artists I don’t especially like or collect, but are merely listenable in the context of this package. That also accounts for a novelty track like the Jean Paul Gaultier number.

Over half of this set I’ve hit the “next button” on since day one. Eighteen years later, I don’t even collect any of these groups any more, save for Claudia Brücken. In all honesty, I stopped listening to almost all of the handful of groups I liked at the time in this set sometime in 1993, the next year following the release of this set. So my timing was very bad. I spent $225 on 8xCDs with selections by a handful of artists I would come to have complete indifference to in just a year or so.  Even worse, the vast bulk of this set was stuff I disliked back in the day! This just shows what happens when you have too much disposable income. The silver lining to this grey cloud? This set now sells for $450-750 on the secondary gray market.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to The Most Expensive Music I Ever Bought [part 3]

  1. ronkanefiles says:

    The Jean Paul Gaultier cut is the only thing on this set I would even ask for a dub of!

    Definitely not my style. Being grey market, I would never spend that much money on a piece that only partially interested me. No Japan or Frazier Chorus? Sell it and get th top $$$ for it, I say!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      @ronkanefiles – Easier said than done. Ever try to sell Telegenics tapes? Same thing. I bought it because at the time, about a third of the program was of interest, but my tastes changed soon afterward. What I thought was weird was how I was solicited to buy this pre-order at the time, as if I were a subscriber to a DJ pool. I have other discs in their Class-X series that are pound for pound, infinitely more appealing. I also have a clutch of Razormaid vinyl of much more interest.

      Like

  2. chas_m says:

    I have a few Razormaid things and quite a bit of overlap on some of those tracks. I will say that I still like Celebrate The Nun’s “Will You Be There” for some reason — my doctor says I’m already getting too much imitation Depeche Mode in my diet …

    I also liked some of Baby Ford’s stuff — their cover of “Children of the Revolution” is still entertaining, and although I wouldn’t pay $225 for the “red tracks” you listed I certainly would pay a modest amount for that collection. Good remixes always take me back to my clubby years with great fondness.

    And now you’ve got me intrigued about this Hubert Kah person …

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      @chas_m – Celebrate The Nun are faux DM? I can’t remember. In a steel cage match with Red Flag, who would win?

      Hubert Kah for me is the higher end of the Peter Schilling spectrum. I can’t quite fully embrace Mister Schilling – there’s just something a tad too eurokase about him. Pound for pound, Hubert Kah weighs about the same, yet his stuff just works for me. I have an LP in addition to his several DJ service tracks that I have. I would not mind more Hubert Kah in my musical diet.

      Like

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