Want List: Cherry Red’s “Musik Music Musique” Box Tantalizes With Technopop

musik music musique box set cover art

Cherry Red | UK | 3xCD | 2020 | CDTRED815

Various: Musik Music Musique – UK – 3xCD  [2020]

Disc One

  1. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark : Messages
  2. Zeus: Musik, Music, Musique
  3. Fad Gadget: Coitus Interruptus
  4. Xynn: Computed Man
  5. Rod Vey: Metal Love
  6. Gina X Performance: Vendor’s Box
  7. Our Daughter’s Wedding: Lawnchairs
  8. Science: Tokyo
  9. The Human League: Only After Dark
  10. Toyah: Victims Of The Riddle
  11. Nick Nicely: Dct Dreams
  12. Suicide: Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne
  13. Ultravox: Waiting
  14. Moebius: Money
  15. The Fallout Club: Falling Years
  16. Der Plan: Da Vorne Steht Ne Ampel
  17. Dark Day: No, Nothing, Never
  18. Hazel O’Connor: Sons And Lovers
  19. Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls: Sympathy

Disc Two

  1. Spandau Ballet: Glow
  2. M: Official Secrets
  3. Silicon Teens: Chip N Roll
  4. Rockets: Galactica
  5. Kim Wilde: Tuning In Tuning On
  6. Landscape: European Man
  7. Henriette Coulouvrat: Can’t You Take A Joke? Ha Ha Hi Hi!
  8. The Metronomes: A Circuit Like Me
  9. John Foxx: No One Driving
  10. D.A.F.: Kebabträume
  11. Gary Sloan And Clone: Harmonitalk
  12. Philip Lynott: Yellow Pearl
  13. Dalek I: Dalek I Love You (Destiny)
  14. Taxi Girl: Mannequin
  15. New Musik: This World Of Water
  16. Japan: Quiet Life
  17. Kevin Harrison: Chase The Dragon
  18. The Residents: Diskomo

Disc Three

  1. Buggles: Astroboy (And The Proles On Parade)
  2. Berlin Blondes: Mannequin
  3. The Passage: A Certain Way To Go
  4. Sic: Between
  5. Yello: Bimbo
  6. Genocide: Images Of Delusion
  7. Lori And The Chameleons: The Lonely Spy
  8. Craze: Lucy
  9. The Goo-q: I’m A Computer
  10. Blood Donor: Doctor …?
  11. Alex Fergusson: Brushing Your Hair
  12. The Korgis: Drawn And Quartered
  13. Visage: Mind Of A Toy
  14. British Standard Unit: D’ya Think I’m Sexy
  15. Mataya Clifford: Living Wild
  16. Systems: Private Lives
  17. Karel Fialka: The Eyes Have It
  18. Nini Raviolette: Suis-je Normale
  19. Eyeless In Gaza: China Blue Vision
  20. The Red Squares: The Russians Are Coming
  21. La Düsseldorf: Dampfriemen

¡Muy interesanté! This fascinating curation of technopop will be released at the end of July from the busy beavers of music at Cherry Red and collects a wide swath of electronic pop from the heralded to the obscure. While I own 23 of the 58 songs here, and many represent cherished parts of my Record Cell, that fact makes me very interested in the other 35 tracks here! In fact from the remaining 35 songs, I only recognize 13 of the other artists, so it’s really the 22 titles in black that really intrigue me since the groups in red are nothing to sneeze at.

zeus - musik music musiqucover artOMD we cover here, but Zeus makes me wonder if it’s actually  German Synth Genius-slash-gifted-producer Zeus B. Held and [checks] YES! It is. he also turned up a few tracks later playing and producing Gina X Performance’s “Vendors Box;” a less obvious deep cut from the “X-traordinaire” album. I see that Our Daughter’s Wedding were represented by “Lawnchairs” and I’ll bet anything that it was the original indie version the band recorded before singing to EMI America the following year.

Toyah Willcox is not a name that’s really associated with technopop, though “Victims Of the Riddle” though the prominent synth on that track certainly came by this company honestly enough. And her presence fleshed out the album down less obvious highways. We just mentioned The Fallout Club recently here at PPM in Matthew Seligman’s obituary. I still don’t have anything by that collective that featured the Simon Brothers; Paul and Robin, along with Seligman and vocalist Trevor Herion.

Kim Wilde is something of a pop outlier here, with a track that I’ve not heard, but her brother Ricky, who penned her material, was very much a synth aficionado, as evidenced by the presence of the mighty Wasp synth adding its pulse on her hit “Kids In America.” Landscape’s brilliant “European Man” should have been a much more high profile linchpin of the technopop scene in the UK, rather than the footnote that it turned out to be.

I sincerely hope that the version of the brilliant “Yellow Pearl” by Phil Lynott is the 2:57 hit 7″ version that I still need in my Record Cell. I have the other three versions, [two of them on CD] but any version of this song is justified. Midge Ure, Rusty Egan, and Billy Currie make of it the best track Visage or Ultravox never issued; even if if is a La Düsseldorf knockoff! As knockoff’s go it’s best of breed! It was an extremely left field hit for Lynott; a guy best known for gritty hard rock with Thin Lizzy, yet obviously comfortable anywhere on the musical spectrum as evidenced here.

JAPAN’s “Quiet Life” was their first classic as the band had been reborn into their new life as proto New Romantics. A must in every home! When I think of technopop, the band that immediately comes to mind is The Buggles, and of course they manifest here with the deep cut “Astroboy [Watching The Proles On Parade].” Yello’s “Bimbo” changed my life when I heard it on college radio in 1980. Its mutant electrofunk sounded like nothing else I’d heard before.

I really have to wonder about bands here like The Goo-q! Who would name their band that and [more importantly] what would they sound like? Nothing boring, I’d wager! This compilation features largely UK acts but is fleshed out by intriguing French, German, and Italian acts as these nations had scenes of their own, but the most intriguing cultural outlier here was expat-Zimbabweian Mataya Clifford with Afrocentric Post-Punk that sounded like it should have been issued on Ze Records.

I was aware of the earlier collections “Close To the Noise Floor” and “Electrical Language” that Cherry Red had issued previously, but looking more closely at this has opened my mind to the notion of maybe getting all three, if I run across them in my travels. I’m sure that the material I’m not familiar with could be a revelatory as the songs on these selections I already hold dearly. Hit that button below if you agree.

communist purchase button

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14 Responses to Want List: Cherry Red’s “Musik Music Musique” Box Tantalizes With Technopop

  1. Zach says:

    Cherry Red have far surpassed Rhino as the top reissue label, for my money. I own Cherry Red’s To The Outside of Everything: A Story of UK Postpunk 1977-1981 and Close to the Noise Floor presents… Third Noise Principle (Formative North American Electronica 1975-1984) sets. Both collections are outstanding and have turned me on to some great “new” acts. I especially like the how the liner notes/annotations are inserted in the spines of the boxes like books and contain track-by-track commentaries, along with discographical credits, photos, and essays. I’d recommend picking up those box sets, along with the others you linked. There’s also a European Noise Floor collection that looks tantalizing (among the sampled artists are Cluster, DAF, Yello, Carlos Peron, Vangelis, and Klaus Schulze). I have the other 2 Noise Floor sets on my Discogs waitlist, to which I’ll also add the Electrical Language and Musik, Music, Musique sets.

    From reading the MMM tracklist, I recognize 8 of these tracks as already being in my collection. I have the original Design 7″ of Lawnchairs on Rhino’s New Wave Dance Hits (an adjacent volume to their Just Can’t Get Enough series). Knowing the efforts that Cherry Red put into their reissues, I feel 100% positive that the original version of Lawnchairs will also be replicated for MMM. The tracklist looks outstanding, with a great balance between electropop legends, pop/rock stars utilizing synths, experimental outfits, and cult favorites. There are some heavy hitters from 1980 that I’m surprised to not see on the collection (most obviously, Devo, Gary Numan, and Tuxedomoon), but their absence does not detract from the mouth-watering excitement that the tracklist generates.

    Another Cherry Red set that I’m pumped to buy is Further Perspectives & Distortion: An Encyclopedia of British Experimental and Avant-Garde Music 1976-1984. This is not a reissue or an expansion of the original Perspectives And Distortion V/A comp that Cherry Red released in 1980, but rather a re-imagining of that compilation’s intent as a 3-disc set with all the artists sequenced by alphabetical order. The tracklist is available in the link I’ve attached. As you’ll see, they covered virtually every style of experimental music thriving in the U.K. during that timeframe: industrial, Canterbury scene, avant-prog, post-punk, Rock In Opposition, tape music, minimal synth. Any set that contains Art Bears, Chris And Cosey, Robert Fripp, Nurse With Wound, Soft Machine, Test Dept, AND Robert Wyatt is clearly a must-have!



    • postpunkmonk says:

      Zach – Yes, it’s true that I could probably tithe a quarter of my income to Cherry Red but I might get a little hungry if I did that. Not to mention no longer having broadband to actually order the stuff! Rhino has been dead for decades to me. Are they still a thing? But Cherry Red are run by people who are more like the readership here, I think. Their microlabels cover almost every genre, as well! They get a lot of stick for mastering from vinyl but a certain amount of that is inevitable over this much time and water under the bridge. It’s better that they seem to never be beset by the production errors that make buying product from Edsel such a nail-biting crapshoot!


      • Zach says:

        Believe me, Monk, I’m in no great hurry to purchase all those aforementioned sets as I’m tapped out for now with the recent music and other online buys I’ve made. My birthday is this September, so I will most likely wait until then to treat myself to one of those Cherry Red box sets. Besides the Postpunk and North American electronic sets, I’ve also bought 3 of the Residents reissues released by Cherry Red/New Ralph Too/MVD Audio. So far I have the Third Reich ‘N’ Roll, Commercial Album, and Mole Box pREServed Editions, which should remain the definitive releases (along with the other Residents albums that have been remastered/reissued since 2017) of these Rez albums for a long time to come. The Mole Box is especially impressive, as it contains the Mark of the Mole, Intermission Tunes of Two Cities, and Big Bubble albums (all part of the Mole series), plus the Mole Show from the LA Roxy in 1982, the Washington DC Mole show (also from ’82), and tons of other goodies, plus a nice booklet. The Residents, along with the rest of the classic Ralph roster, are among my own core collection of artists I seek out. I honestly have no complaints about the mastering that Cherry Red and their sublabels do. Between them and the other great music reissue labels (Rubellan, Superior Viaduct, Futurismo, Real Gone), not to mention the countless great movie reissue labels on Blu-ray (Shout!/Scream Factory, Severin, Vinegar Syndrome, Scorpion), we are living through a nonstop embarassment of riches!

        Rhino was originally shuttered back in 2008, but then became reactivated sometime in the last decade. Since Rhino was already part of the Warner Music Group when WMG was spun off from Time Warner, only WMG labels are represented among the reissues they now do (so forget about them licensing anything from outside labels ever again!). Even worse, the new Rhino has shamelessly hopped on board the vinyl revival/Record Store Day bandwagon. The prices they’re asking for their vinyl reissues are obscene, nevermind what they charge for their collectors’ sets/”limited” editions! This RSD/vinyl revival nonsense can’t end soon enough for me, even though I do like vinyl (I strictly buy core collection and albums/compilations that have never been released on CD).


        • postpunkmonk says:

          Zach – Residents collector? I admire them greatly but only have a few artifacts. Ralph were one of America’s premiere indie labels of the 70s when that was a very small pond for them to be big fish in. I had no idea what had happened with Rhino but that’s a sad end to one of America’s other premiere indie labels of the 70s! Their present circumstances sound awful.


  2. It’s been so long since I’ve been as intrigued with a new curated compilation as I am with this one (and the other two sound like they need investigating as well)! Looking forward to this.


  3. David says:

    Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs “The Tears of Technology” is another great compilation of this period.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gavin says:

    This looks like a great compilation,I agree.
    The most exciting thing for me is the inclusion of Blood Donor,as I have all of their recorded output(as far as I know) but have never heard that track.Blood Donor featured Keith Hale,a member of Toyah’s early band and writer of “Its a Mystery”-the Blood Donor stuff is very like pre-fame Toyah without her vocals.The singles “Rubber Revolution” and “Rice Harvest” are superb.

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Gavin – Yeah, I saw the Safari origins of Blood Donor and recognized Keith Hale and figured you were probably all over this. Plus, Doctor Who tie in? Chasinvictoria can probably tell us all about this record from a Whovian perspective.


      • Needless to say, I can! My first encounter with this song was in 1985, when Jon Pertwee’s “Who Is The Doctor” was re-issued as a single with Blood Donor’s song replacing the original b-side (“Pure Mystery”). For years, that is all I knew about it — I thought it was a very good effort from some session musicians who were fans.

        Listening to it now via YouTube I like it even better than I did then. Gavin, the original song appeared on a single from Safari Records in 1980, according to Discogs. The b-side for it was “Soap Box Blues” — so clearly you haven’t got everything from BD … yet


        • Gavin says:

          Thanks,I did look on Discogs and found it listed.Strange that I had never seen it before when researching Blood Donor,but then I also have an album by them called The Chappell Tapes,which isnt listed on Discogs!
          I will purchase the Doctor single when I once more have an income to allow for such frivolities.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Vlad says:

    > the best track Visage or Ultravox never issued; even if if is a La Düsseldorf knockoff
    Hmmm. Any clue about the particular song of La Düsseldorf as a source or is it a general comment on the source of inspiration?


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Vlad – “Menschen 2,” I think.


      • Vlad says:

        Thank you. Well, there are some similarities, definitely in drum parts. But “Yellow pearl” has been conceived in 1979, during Midge’s stint with Thin Lizzy in Japan, and first released in Spring 1980 on Lynott’s LP “Solo in Soho”. La Düsseldorf’s album that includes “Menschen 2” came out in late December 1980. So “Yellow pearl” itself simply cannot be La Düsseldorf’s knockoff melodically (unless Midge had telekinetic abilities), it even sounds the other way round. Perhaps Rusty (for it is he who played drums and, by his own admission, created the rhythmic pattern for the early 1981 re-recording of “Yellow pearl”) got inspired by the drum part from a very recent album, but that’s about it regarding possible influences.


  6. Echorich says:

    Systems’ Private Lives, Ultravox’s Waiting and Lori And The Chameleons’ The Lonely Spy are important songs from the opening of the decade for me. I’ll include ODW- Lawn Chairs, Pauline Murray and The Invisible Girls – Sympathy in tracks I have always loved as well. As for Foxx’s No One’s Driving – I hold it in even higher esteem than Underpass.


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