Record Review: M+M – Danseparc/Mystery Walk

One Way Records | US | CD | 2000 | OW 71003

M+M/Martha + The Muffins: Danseparc/Mystery Walk US CD [2000]

  1. Danseparc (Every Day It’s Tomorrow)
  2. Obedience
  3. World Without Borders
  4. Walking Into Walls
  5. Sins Of Children
  6. Several Styles Of Blonde Girls Dancing
  7. Boys In The Bushes
  8. What People Do For Fun
  9. Whatever Happened To Radio Valve Road?
  10. Black Stations / White Stations
  11. Cooling The Medium
  12. Come Out And Dance
  13. I Start To Stop
  14. Big Trees
  15. In Between Sleep And Reason
  16. Garden In The Sky
  17. Nation Of Followers
  18. Alibi Room
  19. Rhythm Of Life

This is a GREAT twofer on One Way featuring the 1983/1984 albums by Martha & The Muffins, which were Mark Gane and Martha Johnson in the process of mutating into M+M, having lost all of their original backing band from the first 3 albums. Talking Heads funk era inform these discs, so if you like angular new wave funk with dense polyrhythms you will be in heaven listening to these albums! They are the best of their breed next to Jerry Harrison’s 1981 “The Red & The Black” album. Mark Gane even lends his extremely caucasian, adenoidal presence to lead vocals on a few cuts [“Walking Into Walls” + “Nation Of Followers”] reminding the listener even more of Talking Heads.

I bought “Danseparc” when it came out in 1984 since I was already a Martha + The Muffins fan. The album was their first for RCA, and it was widely distributed and pretty easy to get. I’d seen the video for “Danseparc” [once] on MTV so I knew to move on that one. I had the group’s first two albums at the time and the move to art-funk surprised me at the time since I had not heard the transitional “This Is The Ice Age” album yet. The Eno-esque “Several Styles Of Blond Girls Dancing” hits an incredible T-heads stride with its multiple movement arrangement making its nearly six minutes pass quickly by. Fittingly enough, Eno-right-hand-man-to-be Daniel Lanois produced “Danseparc” [his sister Jocelyne played bass in the band at the time] and I can conceive of the Muffins work bringing Lanois to Eno’s attention on the strength of his work here.

“I am using you.
Am I amusing you?”

“What People Do For Fun” contains the amazing lyric above repeated tersely throughout the middle eight by vocalist Martha Johnson after she relates a play-by-play of a couple hooking up at a club for a one-night stand. “Sins Of Children” is a great oasis of calm reflection in the program of sometimes twitchy and discomfiting funk.

The following year’s “Mystery Walk” was heralded by the stellar “Black Stations/White Stations” single that manages to beat the Talking Heads at their own game. The thick, hot conga groove was aided strategically with Mark Gane’s grinding synthesizers; providing an incredible contrast of texture. Apart from that single, the music on this album is more calm and placid. “Mystery Walk” is the rural chillout following the neurotic urban vibe of “Danseparc.”

This disc has provided the only reissue thus far of “Mystery Walk” on CD. Three years ago, Cherry Red issued a deluxe RM of “Danseparc” that came complete with the A/B-side of the “Danseparc” 12″ single and a bonus live take of “Sins Of Children.” One more for the Monk’s list. At least I have this disc, since it’s OOP and hard to get. As an admirer of the luscious vibe of “Mystery Walk,” I’m happy to have that on the racks.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to Record Review: M+M – Danseparc/Mystery Walk

  1. Brian Ware says:

    Two stellar albums! I’m most grateful for One Way’s effort here as well, but after all this time, where in the hell is “The World Is A Ball”????


  2. ronkanefiles says:

    World Is A Ball! Great album! With our luck, it was on CD in Canada, but the company that did it went under and took the tapes with ’em.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Ronkanefiles – Well, according to the usual sources, there was no CD of this puppy anywhere. I have a German LP of it and it’s hard to believe that there wasn’t a compact disc there, but the back of the LP shows the LP/cassette/CD icon with a catalog number next to the first two and the third icon blank. Gotta love that German precision.


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