We are all about the glory of 12″ mixes that spur us on to experiment with the often flawed, mongrel art form. Ah, but at their best, they lift us up onto rarefied planes of splendor! Here are several more to think about.
This may have been just a case of the full length mix having been edited down for the LP/7″ cut, but what a difference the Full Monty made in this case! The 7″ mix alone was wildly steeped in midnight dramatics, but the unfettered arrangement on 12″ unfurls and extends the air of fatal, yet warm, spectacle to heretofore unimaginable degrees for a full nine minutes of luxury. Adam Peters orchestral arrangements were profoundly evocative and the Gil Norton mix is a peak experience.
Pity Heaven 17 for writing this song with the idea that it would be the make or break single for them in the UK. They created a world class arrangement and filled it with richly stacked harmonies [take that, Roy Thomas Baker!] wherein a fractalized choir of the band members pushed this craft into the stratophere. It sounded like a million dollars had been spent in its creation, and the 12″ version got the balance right between the slinking synthfunk, the metronomic Linn Drum, the lyrical bass guitar of John Wilson, and those million dollar vocals. Alas, to no avail. The single tragically failed to be their calling card in the UK, where it just failed to crack the top 40. In America, it’s possibly the only Heaven 17 song anyone could name! It rose to 4 on the US dance charts, while smoldering at 74 in Pop.
I give Midge Ure a lot of stick around here, but his last hurrah, really is a tremendous record, with a 12″ version that drastically re-arranged the flow of the song to amazing effect. Rik Walton’s remix is a thunderous creation opening with wild, almost metallic, guitar chords careening over driving rhythms that sounded like the hooves of a huge herd of horses propelling the song onward. Having bought the 12″ on release, I never heard the 7″ version of this non-LP single until a decade later and I was shocked at how tame it sounded in comparison to the 12″ mix. The expansive and formidable 12″ was the last time Midge Ure managed to quicken the pulse.
I almost didn’t buy this, as I had the German CD single of this title, but the US 12″ had a second William Orbit remix that was vinyl only, so I reasoned that I might as well buy it. It was Kraftwerk, and frankly, the 1991 arrangement of “Radioactivity” that was on “The Mix” was the one ridiculously successful result of that wasteful exercise. It managed to justify the outlay to my ears on that track alone. The Hardcore Mix amps up the pressure to near techno levels while still retaining sufficient melodic structure to bring me along for the ride. And what a ride it is! It’s a perfect blending of the DNA of Kraftwerk and Torch Song; two of my favorite groups. Orbit makes this sound as ridiculously stuffed with technology as it possibly can be. Hums, beeps, drones, and [my favorite] pneumatic hisses send me into overdrive every time I play this.
…Why not keep it rolling? …More to come…