Fashion + Kajagoogoo = Im-Mac Logic

Assorted Images | UK | 12″ | 1984 | AI001

Im-Mac Logic: Bolero UK 12″ [1984]

  1. Bolero
  2. Logics of Emotion
  3. Two Takes [French Version]

This record should have been a much sought after artifact for at least the last 27 years, but I’m almost ashamed to admit that I ran across it in the fifty cent basement of Harvest Records on the occasion of their 7th anniversary sale! First of all, the cover assaulted me in a sea of MOR records we’ve all seen before in 30+ years of crate digging. If there were many 12″ singles in the basement, they tended to sport generic, black card 12″ single sleeves; certainly not the peach and yellow horror shown above. Intrigued by its novelty, I plucked it from the crates and perused the credits, trying to divine meaning from the sleeve.

The label issuing the record was Assorted Images! As a graphic designer, I was instantly attuned to the design firm of Malcolm Garrett, designer par excellence of Magazine, Duran Duran, and, Simple Minds – among others in my core collection. I looked at the label, and sure enough, it used the real Ai logo I’d seen countless times. This record implied that Malcolm Garrett ran a label! That alone was enough to sway my hand for the four bits asking price. Intrigued, I looked further. Production credits for Femi Jiya [Stephen Duffy, Shriekback, Blancmange]. Check! Another production credit for Mulligan. Could it be the Mulligan of fave rave Birmingham synth-funk masters Fashion? Well the label called the A-side “face 1” and the B-side “face 2;” a known Fashion gambit! It must have been him. Finally, the rear sleeve credited Nick Beggs and thanked EMI. Sign me up! Beggs is a very talented player who made Kajagoogoo and I definitely want to hear anything he plays on! Especially if Limahl is nowhere to be seen!

The record dated from 1984 but I had definitely never heard of this weird one-off project, much less heard it. By gum, I well and truly should have known about his disc. I was a big fan of Fashion back from the day and a friend of mine religiously read UK music mags back in the day that would have mentioned this record. Somehow, it slipped off of my radar completely until the day I bought this record! Of all the swag I picked up that day, this was definitely the most intriguing disc that I was immediately looking forward to hearing. Scant days passed before I recorded this to hard drive. So what’s it like, you may be asking?

Well, for starters, it is an electrodance cover of Maurice Ravel’s famous “Bolero!” It sounds like it was completely realized on a Fairlight by Mulligan, with the melody carried by an unnamed female vocalist who breathily articulates the song’s melody as Beggs adds Chapman Stick flavoring to the mix! There are a few of what sound like Beggs bass slaps but I suspect they’re samples of said events. The rhythm is heavy and punctuated throughout by tattoos of drumming at irregular intervals. Think of Steve Jansen’s drumming on the “Tin Drum” album. Though the cut can be considered a “dance mix” at a little over six minutes, that’s a pretty brusque edit of “Bolero” if you’re familiar with it.

The 1st B-side, “Logics of Emotion,”  is an original track sounding bereft of Beggs as well as the unnamed female vocalist. It’s a pure Fairlight confection sounding not a million miles away from an early Art of Noise classic like “Moments In Love.” The 2nd B-side is, in spite of the title, [possibly named for royalty purposes!] another version of “Bolero.” This time given a more respectable running time of nine and a half minutes. For this reason the B-side of the disc spins at 33 r.p.m. unlike the A-side. This alternate version begins as a ghostly shadow of the song with faint melody wafting in on the breeze, but as the track develops, ultimately gargantuan beats in dubspace rise to the foreground, making this track the first ambient/classical/dub track you’re likely to ever hear! Again, it sounds like pure Mulligan + Fairlight only.

This record is deucedly fascinating. As it plays out, it is the sort of record that is exactly in the center of a line that’s drawn between “Into Battle” by Art of Noise, and “Madame Butterfly” by Malcolm McLaren. The AON record was issued in 1983, and thus probably influenced this release. Malcolm McLaren’s “Madame Butterfly” was released the same year as this record, and both of them reveal dance music looking to The Classics for inspiration. Both are weird fusions of the classic and moderne.  Since I don’t have release date data beyond year at my disposal, I can only charitably conclude that there was something in the air in 1984. Digital sampling + dancefloors + classical music = these records.

– 30 –

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graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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16 Responses to Fashion + Kajagoogoo = Im-Mac Logic

  1. Great find! I had no idea Beggs played on this record and will certainly ask him about it when we speak again. I’m an adamant fan of “Islands” by Kaja (issued in America as “Extra Play” EMI 1984) and any work Beggs did during the mid’80s always lures my attention. The sleeve for this 12” is definitely a fantastic piece to have in any new wave artwork collection; with its pale pink background and monochrome photo, the sleeve twists imagery in a shocking perspective that reallly sets the mood for retro nostalgia. Thank you for sharing it. Hopefully I can locate an audio sample of it online.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jeremy Kennedy – Well, that’s two of us shocked by this record. Both of us should have known better. I am also an adamant fan of “Islands” and I have to say I didn’t miss Limahl at all! I initially ignored Kajagoogoo since they were so “cotton candy” at first glance – a band made entirely of Nick Rhodes clones! But I had to admit that the bassline of “Too Shy” served up more musical nutrition that I’d initially given the song credit for. When I saw the video for “Turn Your Back On Me” I became a Kajagoogoo fan on the spot. I love Chapman Stick. It’s one of my favorite instruments and Beggs is one highly talented fellow. You don’t turn up on Robert Fripp’s DGM label [Beggs played stick on John Paul Jones debut album] otherwise! You can easily mail order a copy of the disc here at minimal cost. I’ve had great experiences with dealer philadelphiamusic, for what it’s worth. If you search YouTube, it’s posted there for a quick and dirty review.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jeremy Kennedy – Well score one for being a Nick Beggs fan. But are you a fan of Fashion? Their “Fabrique” album is one of my absolute favorites. I heard and liked their debut but they became a completely different band when they swapped out lead singers and Dee Harris took the mic in ’81-’82. Oh, how I could gush about the second Fashion lineup. But I won’t here. I’ll save it for a post.

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  2. Yes, dead-on right about Nick’s talent. In 2004, I met him in Wolverhampton, UK playing bass with ABC. It was an honor to finally meet the great Nick Beggs and shout his praises in person. His live bass activity on ABC’s “Date Stamp” doesn’t get any better. In 2007, I urged Nick to reunite Kaja, albeit without Limahl, and pick up the pieces where they left off in 1985. Retrofest was forming their lineup itinerary (huge ’80s nostalgia event in Scotland) and I brought the promoter and Nick together. Kaja played live that day and recorded a variety album of different pop-rock elements, including a couple of synth-pop numbers that could have been date stamped 1984. As you know, the band eventually reunited with Limahl and drummer Jez Strode and have played some big festivals in recent years. I was blessed to attend their homecoming reunion show in Dec. of 2008 in Leighton Buzzard.. Nick and Limahl shared vocals on the post-Limahl singles like “Big Apple”. However, watching Nick play the chapman stick like an assault device was the mesmerizing highlight of the evening. I’ve posted “Turn Your Back on Me” from that show on youtube; username ‘bandsreunited”.
    I am a fan of Fashion. I have a copy of the Fabrique album in my vinyl collection, but that’s the only LP I own by them. I also swiped a few of their videos when MTV2 aired every video to date back in January of 2000 – May of 2000 in their A-to-Z series. If memory serves me correct, Fashion have ‘shown up’ in one form or another, at some of the retro circus events around the UK in recent years. I may be mistaken, but I have a hunch that I saw their name on a few of the summer nostalgia tours. When you do write about Fashion, I’ll have my knowledge mit open ready to catch your insight. Thank you for the tips on where I can buy & listen to Im-Mac Logic. I’m on it!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jeremy Kennedy – MTV2 aired every video back to back January to May 2000? Leiber gott! It’s a good thing I didn’t know about this or I’d have been a nervous wreck!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jeremy Kennedy – The reactivated Fashion was no doubt Luke James’ version of the group. He was the original lead singer for the first initial of the band signed to I.R.S. Records and he’s formed a new “Fashion” lineup where presumably he’s doing the material from the “Product Perfect” period of their career as well as their new album, “Stairway To Nowhere.” I always loved “Hanoi Annoys Me.”

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  3. ronkanefiles says:

    Same guy as “Ellis, Beggs & Howard”?

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      ronkanefiles – Yes, absolutely. That’s a part of his CV I was not aware of until now – thanks for the tip! Beggs is possibly the only “New Romantic” who’s doubled back into “Prog!” In addition to rubbing shoulders with Fripp, Steve Hackett asked him to play on his 2009 album and tour on it as well. He has a Chapman Stick solo album entitled “Stick Insect” I would do well to hear. He straddles the worlds of pop and art music admirably well. I really was blown away by Kajagoogoo when he took the wheel. I rate the band under his stewardship at Level 42 caliber.

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  4. Echorich says:

    I have a text into my mainline to Mr. Garrett. I want to know more about an Ai record company! I know Malcolm enjoyed putting his creative fingers into many things, but releasing albums would have seems a bit more trouble than it would have been worth. I will let you know what more I find out.
    As for Mr. Beggs’s his bass has been all over the place over the past 30 years. I liked some Ellis Beggs and Howard material in the early days, and I remember him as being a very dear friend and champion of Martin Fry and a continuing ABC. He is way more than a journeyman bass player and has some interesting solo material.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I can’t find anything confirming my suspicion, but the label does have the circle (ai) logo used by Garrett for a period there in the early 80s. I can only surmise that there’s a valid connection. You have contact with Garrett? Ask him why I have multiple monographs on Peter Saville, Neville Brody, and Vaughan Oliver but none on him on my graphic design shelves? He’s the elephant not in the room, conspicuous by his absence, as far as I’m concerned.

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      • Echorich says:

        Per my “contact” seems that Ai was more involved in some music publishing and this may be where they come in on this release. But I agree it does look more like an actual label release.
        As for the lack of paper on Malcolm (yeah, been to his flat on the Isle of Dogs and had a few pints with him over the years), I think he is less self impressed (outwardly at least) than either Saville or Oliver. For me his work is the pinnacle of inventive Post Punk artwork. His work with computer gen graphics in the late 80’s and early 90’s was really ahead of the curve…for example the B.E.F. MOQAD 2 artwork. Saville’s work is always very “find the reference” to the point of outright plagarism for me. I will give him the Blue Monday sleeve and the simplicity of the Unknown Pleasures cover as high points. Vaughn Oliver is very much the real deal for me. Emotive, with an eye for true beauty in image and graphic – I’m sure that sounds obviously like something from someone not so artistically talented.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – Personally, I find the Post-Punk graphic design establishment’s dalliance with computers to be their downfall. First of all, Garrett and Saville were Johnny-come-latelys to computer assisted design. It took them forever for them to wean themselves from the boards. Both of them got their first Macs in ’89-’90 and by that time I had five years experience and had moved from graphic design to software design in my practice. And their efforts with computers look perfunctory and impoverished to me. Particularly that 2nd B.E.F. album, which still causes me to cringe after 20 years.

          My personal design pantheon places Saville at the acme due to his bedrock of thought that goes into his design process. It’s not that he doesn’t rely on reference and pastiche to achieve his goals; but it’s how he intellectualizes the process and generates additional frissons of subtext and meaning that further enrich the entire product. That said, he hasn’t done compelling work for me in decades. Reading “Designed By Peter Saville” or “Estate 1-127” are for me profoundly sad experiences as at the end of each book one gets the sense that it’s all over for Saville. “Estate 1-127” goes further on that score in that it resembles a posthumous estate auction catalog!

          Conversely, Malcolm Garrett, who began to peter out with his late period Duran Duran and all of his Culture Club work was washed up for me by 1985. Nevertheless, when I try to find out what he’s doing on the web every few years, he doesn’t seem to be a sadly pathetic as Saville is to me. I rank him slightly lower than Saville due to his penchant for overwork. I can’t say that overwork is ever something that I could ever pin on Saville.

          Finally, Vaughan Oliver makes sumptuously beautiful images, but seems in comparison to be a one trick pony to me. I should mention that possibly my favorite graphic designers, which I’ve not discussed yet are Neville Brody and Barney Bubbles. Brody’s work has also ebbed in the recent decades, but his work ethic has allowed him to keep working even as Saville seems wracked by doubt and depression. Barney Bubbles was probably a shining light to PS, NB, and MG as fledgeling graphic designers. His work is highly accomplished at every level.

          I remember that when I was in college, I tried to discuss Saville’s work with my department head and he was so dismissive of record sleeve design, he literally would not discuss the issue with me. In the early 80s such things were still really looked down upon by the graphic design establishment. One thing that has been gratifying to me over the last 30 years, even as my favorite designers have dimmed considerably, is that they can be said to have become the new establishment of graphic design.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Oh, and by the way, my wife just got me “Magazine: The Biography” by Helen Chase for my birthday last week from my Amazon want list. She got me the hardcover and I had no idea that it was a limited edition, signed and numbered by Malcolm Garrett himself! Shocked and awed, I said to her, “are you aware of the totem of power you’ve brought into this house?”

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  5. Echorich says:

    I have to say when all viewed together that Barney Bubbles ranks highest for me! His work on Elvis Costello’s Armed Forces is simply brilliant!
    I definitely give you that MG and PS were not terribly successful with computer gen art.
    Another fave of mine has to be Alex McDowell and his Rocking Russian! Some great work for Siouxsie during the Dreamhouse era.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Rocking Russian didn’t have the numbers for A-list traction; at least in my collection. But yeah, Barney Bubbles could stand as the all time great in my book. Speaking of which, I need “Reasons To Be Cheerful!”

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  6. Echorich says:

    Agreed, it was a brief period for RR before McDowell moved on to video and film production. Bubbles Radar Records work is amazing!

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