Want List: OMD + John Foxx + The Maths = Monastic Bliss

100% Records | UK | CD | 2013

100% Records | UK | CD | 2013

OMD: Dresden UK CD [2013]

  1. Dresden [Single Version]
  2. Time Burns
  3. Dresden [John Foxx and The Maths Remix]
  4. Dresden [Mike Jolly’s Architectural Remix]
  5. Dresden [Bounce Darkside Remix]

Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!

No sooner did I have the new OMD album under my skin, than I was struck by the notion that with John Foxx + The Maths opening for OMD on their UK tour, this would be the perfect time for OMD fan Benge of The Maths to get close enough to OMD to suggest perhaps producing them; possibly the only way that the group could be lifted out of their comfort zone and chance the notion of real growth even at this late stage of the game.

Fast forward just days later and I discovered that hey ho – John Foxx + The Maths have remixed the next OMD single to be released from “English Electric.” “Dresden” is a jolly number that was a strong choice for a single to begin with; the actual bass guitar Andy played on the track added to its vibrant, propulsive urgency as did its lack of a chorus. Never mind that the lyrics strongly play against the upbeat melodies with a painful rumination on a family shattered by the breakup of a marriage. The juxtaposition is an old OMD technique! But the fact remains; nothing sounds better than analog synths and OMD, for all of their accomplishments, seem to have turned their back on the messy past. Thank goodness that JF+TM are here to set things straight.

That’s what I’ve been missing! The thrilling sloppiness of the random fire element that only comes with analog synths. It’s highly ironic to read Andy McCluskey complaining about the sterility of Kraftwerk post-Trans-Europe Express, then go back to soft synths! The remix is an orgy of excitement with stunning new countermelodies added to the mix that soar even as the moroderesque sequences in the intro give the track a firm foundation. It sounds like they’ve run the drum machine through a flanger as well [sigh].

As rousing as this is, there’s no denying that the end result is 65% John Foxx + The Maths and only about 35% OMD, but in bringing together the DNA of two of my favorite artists ever in this song, it would be churlish of me to complain. Especially when the end result makes me positively euphoric as it does! But if this remix leads to production for OMD in the future [crosses fingers] then the end product should be set more firmly in the OMD camp than this remix is. And if it never happens [choke!] that at the very least, this remix made it out to the world to show that I’m not a madman after all! “Dresden” will be available on Monday, May 20, 2013 in CD single formats as well as a six track iTunes bundle that contains an additional remix by Zebra and Snake. Thankfully, the B-side, “Time Burns” which was previously released on a now insanely expensive picture disc on Record Store Day – that no one was able to buy… except for record poachers… has been added to the running order in something approaching high-fidelity sound, to boot.

– 30 –

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6 Responses to Want List: OMD + John Foxx + The Maths = Monastic Bliss

  1. Echorich says:

    DAMN!! That is utterly exciting sounding!


  2. postpunkmonk says:

    Echorich – And therein lies my conundrum with EE; it’s as fine an album as OMD have written since “Dazzle Ships” that was let down in execution and mastering. It needed more of the juice they used on “The Final Song” and particularly “Our System” and less stripped down soft synths. Listen to “Organisation.” The sounds there are incredible and organic, as is this remix.


    • Echorich says:

      I think I have to listen to EE with less audiophile headphones and possibly at a lower volume. I see what you mean when comparing Final Song and Our System to the rest of the production, but this album just makes me smile everytime I hear it and I guess I am letting go of my expectations a bit. A Benge produced OMD would be mega. My only concern would be that the OMD essence should not be lost to the production as in Crush. But then I don’t think Benge is a Jinn….


      • postpunkmonk says:

        Echorich – The album is solid and pleasing. As my initial pleasure ebbed somewhat and I was not playing it anywhere near as much as I had the somewhat inferior HOM, I began to pay attention to my feelings and analyze just why this was the case. When HOM was released, I wanted to listen to nothing else. Then again, it may have been the “return of OMD” factor at play that is necessarily missing this time. I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t like it. I just feel I could have liked it better. I represents two steps forward and one step backward from HOM, which I, ultimately is slightly disappointing, given that I think OMD are in a good space to be as successful as The Maths in terms of a legacy core collection band really succeeding [wildly] in their later years.


        • Echorich says:

          Been listening over and over to this remix of Dresden and it is really quite amazing. I do see the forest for the trees in your review. I think in the end, you have every right to put OMD to a high standard. After all they only have one true mis-step in their first era. The second McCluskey era is always going to be difficult for me, but these last two albums prove to me that there is much left if they want to continue together.


          • postpunkmonk says:

            Echorich – I really hope they do pursue more recording. OMD are second only to John Foxx + The Maths in my pantheon of old groups still managing to excite me after almost 35 years. They are doing so much that works so well, for me, any slight mis-steps serve only to throw them into distinct relief in an almost exaggerated way. This is perhaps a character flaw of mine, I’ll admit.

            But Simple Minds, OMD and John Foxx have been favorites of mine that are still active. Simple Minds are doing good work that manages to make me hopeful that it will continue, but I don’t hold out any hopes for renewal on a large scale. I think that Charlie Burchill is holding the group back; hence Kerr’s nimbler solo career. Still, an album like “Graffiti Soul” is nothing to be ashamed about! If they can make albums at that level I have no complaints. I can’t imagine them making albums as thrilling as “Empires + Dance” at this time, though.

            OMD are working at a higher caliber. Even their worst material is still better than the depths to which Simple Minds fell in the 80s. Their last two albums have some of their best work ever. It’s tempered by some songwriting and production decisions that I find less than stellar, but at the end of the day they make me believe in their work and desire more since I think that they can reach and possibly surpass their previous heights.

            Foxx is just mystical. He’s an anomaly on the landscape of music; resistant to decay and capable of change and startling growth at full maturity. I am absolutely gobsmcked by the last three years of his music, and the killer is, what came before wasn’t chopped liver. The worst I can say about the Foxx/Gordon work is that it occasionally pastiched Kraftwerk. Sometimes brilliantly, as on “Camera.” Foxx’s solo and collaborative albums revealed a man working at the top of his form and forming new musical bonds with other artists at a point in life where calcification is the norm.


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