Various: Razormaid 3rd Anniversary Issue US 2×12″ 
- Ultravox: White China
- Telex: L’amour Toujours
- Melon: Serious Japan
- Depeche Mode: Strangelove
- Propaganda: Dr. Mabuse
- Cabaret Voltaire: Sensoria
- Tapps: Don’t Pretend To Know
- Until December: We Are The Boys
Last weekend we took a road trip to Boone, North Carolina; a medium sized college town, that my wife had wanted to visit for many years. Last weekend we finally did it. To say we were disappointed, doesn’t begin to cover it. As my wife put it, it was a “soulless” place. We didn’t look too carefully into what the city offered, but really, the internet is incapable of putting across the vibe of a place; in the end, you just have to go there and see how it feels. Fortunately, there was a record store in the heinous downtown ares [which actually reminded me of Helen, Georgia – a low blow indeed!] and putting across vibes are what they do best.
641 RPM was not a store that I’ll probably ever go back to again. Like everywhere else in the city, no air conditioning was in evidence. Browsing bins while one stews in one’s juices is hardly my idea of a good time. 641 RPM also completely lacked in the shiny, silver discs I’ve come to know and love in the last 30 years. What they had was vinyl only. The question was, how good was the selection? I browsed for about 12 minutes and got enough positive feedback in the form of records I owned, or at least used to own to persevere a little longer. There was a ton of DJ 12″ vinyl, but nothing desirable in it. All pop/R+B of the era. Then I found it. The reason why I had walked in the store.’
They had a Razormaid issue, the 3rd Anniversary 2×12″ on yellow vinyl. Priced at $8.99. Low for this sort of thing, but I have been thinning out lots of DJ service daaaaaance music from the Record Cell. I’m beyond ambivalent, these days. So I slid the yellow records out of the cover and saw the only artist/title combo that would make me purchase: Ultravox – White China. Sold! I had wanted to hear this for years, and I had all of the white market Ultravox material that there was to collect [that I cared to collect]. Then I looked at the other titles in this issue. “Strangelove,” “Sensoria,” “Dr. Mabuse.” Mother McCree, I’d hit the Razormaid motherlode! Just about any mixes by Razormaid I’d want but were not on the issues I already had were focused into this delightful compilation. I purchased.
The vinyl quality of side 1 was pretty good. Crackle in the outer band and numerous pops, but nothing to make me gnash my teeth. The De-Click software would handily deal with this nuisance. The “White China” mix was pretty entertaining. Due to the mix/match nature of the song and its many mixes, I get the notion that it would be possible to keep this propulsive number going for as long as one wanted. When discussing this with Echorich as I listened to it, he opined that the intro suggested strongly the intro to New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” and I would not dispute that at all. As I like both songs, it amused me to hear one of my favorite late period Ultravox tunes warped into a New Order box.
Telex, on the other hand, I’d not heard since hearing chasinvictoria’s copy of their second album and a US release from 1980, “Neurovision.” The song here dated from their fourth album and boy howdy, all I can hear is Moroder period Sparks. Not surprisingly, the Maels kibbutzed on Telex’s third album, “Sex” and from the sound of “L’amour t’jours” the apple didn’t roll very far from the tree even without Ron and Russell hanging around! Anyone who likes the “No. 1 In Heaven” album would find nothing but pleasure here. If by chance you don’t like “No. 1 In Heaven,” please consider using the “back” button in your browser of choice!
Side 2 offered a taste of Melon; a Japanese group I’d heard of through ronkankefiles exhortations on the subject of them and member Tycoon Tosh, over the years. I wasn’t quite prepared for the joyously vulgar beat colossus that exploded from the headphones for over seven minutes. The groove reminded me of the hellbent intensity of Mark Stewart’s “Fatal Attraction [Contagious]” only the vibe was incredibly salty yet goofy at the same time with foul language galore and profane samples from films to twist the knife even deeper. When I heard this, I did not know whether to laugh or cringe, as the feeling was paradoxically upbeat and even joyous. I just don’t know about hearing more of Melon. It sounded great, but I’m still processing my feelings.
As for “Strangelove” my feelings are well known. It’s my favorite Depeche Mode song. It has been for nearly 30 years. One day I need to compile the “Strangelove Project” where I throw every mix I have of this one onto disc and see where it takes me. The mix here is largely a re-edit of my favorite Mark Saunders/Tim Simenon Hijack Mix. The vinyl quality for side two was exceptionally nice, with only moderate pops and crackle at worst.
Side three offered problems in that the record had serious wear, as if only it had ever been played from the set. Played to death! Shocking in light of the Depeche Mode that sounded so pristine. One would imagine that track getting the most heavy DJ play, but the crackle and surface noise rendered the Propaganda and Cab Volt tracks in serious need of some NR software. Could ClickRepair come to the rescue? Well, my 21 day grace period was over w few weeks ago. It will remain until I buy a license to give it a try. With vacation coming up next week, I don’t look to be buying any noise reduction software any time soon. As far as mixes, these are primarily re-edits with all of the twists and turns you may be familiar with from decades of play turned on their ear.
As is common with Razormaid, they hook you with the hard stuff up front [Ultravox, Depeche Mode, Propaganda] then try to cut the mix with some lesser known music that Watt or Maharg championed. Sometime this worked out fine [Telex, Melon] but on side four the turkeys came home to roost. I’d never heard of Tapps or Until December, but they only offered hi-nrg gay disco synthpop – mid-80s style; lacking in spark and distinction. It happens.
At the end of the day, I am happy to have the Ultravox mix since that was the big lure here. It was a sale from the second I pulled out the discs. The rest of disc one was pretty happening in terms of sound and quality. The Propaganda cut is one I’ve wanted for a long time, and maybe I’ll need to buy another copy along the line somewhere. The vinyl quality there was marginal at best, but not a bad buy for $8.99, as you may agree.
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