[…continued from previous post]
The next track on the program was the upbeat dance track “Instinction.”I think I had already seen the video on MTV by the time I had this, so having heard the superhuman Trevor Horn remix of the 4:51 album track, It took me a while to normalize to the more diffuse [to say the least] Richard Burgess album production. For the re-mix included in this set, Burgess relied on more traditional production gambits to effect the remix. For a start, the EQ on most of the track elements wildly differs.
Steve Norman’s percussion was way up in the mix with the bass and drums. The Simmons accents on the track [John Keeble played mostly acoustic kit here, from the sound of it] were dryer and flatter here than on the LP mix. Keeble’s skittering, jazzy rhythms here were a delight to hear. Especially with the syncopation between Steve Norman’s timbale solo in the middle eight and Keeble’s complex drum pattern. Just the sort of accomplished, unique rhythms that you typically didn’t hear in a top ten UK single. Tony Hadley’s vocals still had reverb common to the LP mix, but he was further down in the mix here. Just one element of several, with rhythm winning out in the end, as evidenced by Martin Kemp’s in your face that was emphasized at various points in the mix, like a Greek chorus throughout the song.
The synths here stood in for the horn section that appeared everywhere else on the first side of this album. Who knows why they didn’t have Beggar + Co. ply their trade on “Instinction” as well, but it’s the one song here that had some of the synth appeal that had been all over their debut album. Still, Beggar + Co. really added a lot to the rest of the album. I wonder how they would have worked on this track? Ultimately, Burgess used more conservative means to extend the song here from 5:51 to a 6:58 running time. There was a long instrumental buildup and a couple of drops where the melodic elements stepped aside for the all important beat. It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it, but at the end of the day we all wish for a seven minute Trevor Horn remix of this song, yes?
As “Paint Me Down” had been a pre-release single, complete with a 7:05 12″ mix already released, Burgess made another unique re-mix of the track for this box. The shorter 6:24 mix was a bit shorter, but he compensated by making the mix more tumultuous. Specifically, tape edit scratch effects of the time were used here to shake up the beat and backwards loops were used rhythmically to confound listener expectation. The EQ of the track didn’t differ too much from other mixes here, but the editing gambits insured that you knew that this was a different mix from the get go. I like how the edits break up the big, fat, stupid beat on this one. Makes it swing a bit more.
Finally, the last song from side one of the album was “Coffee Club” and if I were in charge of Chrysalis Records, this would have been the third single from the album instead of “She Loved Like Diamond.” Beggar + Co. are smoking hot on this cut as they vie with Gary Kemp’s rhythm guitar and Keeble’s rhumba rhythms for dominance on this track. Where the 5:36 album track was mixed for clean separation, Burgess threw caution to the wind here and heavily layered the mix on this re-mix to achieve a breathless sort of Latin Delirium where the density of elements, coupled with the repetition of the rhythms, actually achieve a trance-like effect on this listener. The re-mix is only a bit longer at 6:48 but which one do we want to hear on the dancefloor at the end of the day? Absolutely this one!
“Coffee Club” may have been the sound of Spandau Ballet taking their cues from their friends Blue Rondo A La Turk, but the only Blue Rondo track in my Record Cell, “Me + Mr. Sanchez” was tepid stuff that showed that the only arena in which they could successfully compete with Spandau Ballet was in the cut of their zoot suits. The 1981 UK Latin Salsa trend seemed to materialize on the UK ascendence of the ahead-of-the-game Kid Creole + The Coconuts, who the whole mini-trend can probably be blamed on. Quite frankly, “Coffee Club” wiped the floor with Blue Rondo’s tentative faux-salsa. The production, sining and arrangements of the Blue Rondo material hadn’t a patch on the sort of work that Spandau [admittedly, with Beggar + Co. contributing mightily] was achieving on this track. This was one smoking hot, frenzied track that attained almost a psychedelic density of rhythms and syncopation.
Next: …The Elephant In the Bowie-Shaped Room