Various Artists: Hit It. Dance + Contemporary Music Warner Bros. Records – USP – CD 
- Atlantic Starr: One Lover At A Time [7″ mix] 4:02
- Nick Kamen: Each Time You Break My Heart [Radio Mix] 4:01
- Erasure: Sometimes [7″ mix] 3:39
- Depeche Mode: Strangelove [single version] 3:47
- Kraftwerk: Sex Object [7″ edit] 3:57
- Club Noveau: Why You Treat Me So Bad [7″ mix] 3:44
- Atlantic Starr: One Lover At A Time [extended version] 8:02
- Nick Kamen: Each Time You Break My Heart [extended version] 8:35
- Erasure: Sometimes [extended Razormaid US mix] 7:31
- Depeche Mode: Strangelove [Blind Mix] 6:10
- Kraftwerk: Sex Object [Razormaid US Mix] 7:41
- Club Noveau: Why You Treat Me So Bad [Club Mix] 7:50
This was an interesting promo CD that I probably bought after seeing an ad in an eyeball-straining Goldmine Magazine dealer ad. It probably mentioned that it had an otherwise unavailable 7″ and 12″ mix of Kraftwerk’s “Sex Object” and that would have set me right off. While I had a muted response to their divisive “Electric Cafe” album of 1986 [I was down on side one], the track “Sex Object” was one of the two songs on it I thought were very successful. So I sent off for this CD at a price of around $20, if I recall correctly. The time frame for this would have been not more than a year after this was released by Warner Bros. in 1987.
wow, does that conceit ever come home to roost on this compilation!Listening to it now, the pairing of mid-80s R+B and the tail end of the New Music era made for strange bedfellows. But only in one sense of the word. All of this music was made on synthesizers as the New Wave techniques spread through the mainstream wildly by the mid-80s. We’ve talked about how there was only a degree of separation between the likes of Taylor Dayne and The Human League by this time, and wow – does that conceit ever come home to roost on this album!
The first two tracks are what passed for R+B in the 1987 window. All synthetic and pulling Freestyle tropes from the early Madonna playbook. Nick Kamen was even produced by Madonna with her posse onboard attempting to turn the model into a chart star, but in America it didn’t happen. He’s probably still best known for his Levis ad in the UK and he died earlier this year. The first track on here of note was Erasure’s “Sometimes,” though I would not really embrace the band until I heard “Wild” being playing in-store.
I was all over “Strangelove” by Depeche Mode. I normally bought everything by the quartet from 1984 onward, so I had the UK CD5 of this single, but this was the sturdy , original 7″ version. Nothing special. Far more exciting was the prospect of the 7″ edit of “Sex Object” by Kraftwerk via the editing block of Joseph Watt of Razormaid. It appeared that “Sex Object” had been considered for single release by Warner Bros. or else why would this track be on this disc? Watt brought in more foreign language sound bites up front in the mix intro and managed to make a memorable four minutes from the nearly seven minute album track. I loved the intro with the synthetic strings and synthetic percussion taking us out. This was such a fascinating song for Kraftwerk as it was not really a good “fit” for their “brand.” Which is what made it to entrancing to me.
The conceit of the promo album was that 7″ and 12″ mixes of the same tracks made it up. So each of the six songs was contained in both song formats. Years later when I started collecting Erasure, I usually bought the German Intercord CD5s of their singles since they were first to market. So that meant that I never had the US 12″ mix of “Sometimes” since the Rico Conning remix as re-edited by Joseph Watt anywhere else, since I never bought records for Erasure; only CDs.
This was a fantastic remix of the kind that really blew up the original song and made it larger than life in every way. Mixes like this were the reason why we were bitten by the 12″ bug in the first place. All of the sonic details hidden in the song were expanded upon and given a dose of spotlight for at least a few bars in this mix that never bored in nearly eight minutes. All of the aspects of the mix were altered here, with radical shifts in EQ to make for maximum rhythmic impact and novelty factor. And the stomping, glammy beat was accentuated by all of the pulse gating applied to the song’s elements, including the vocals! The dubby attack almost threatened to take the mix off the rail at the end as the entire mix shuddered with the reverb until the drop to the bass driven coda.
I love all of the various mixes of “Strangelove” and one day should compile a disc called “Strangelove: The Motion Picture” with as many of them as I can find. The Blind Mix was by Daniel Miller and Rico Conning and was the 2nd UK 12″ A-side but included in the US 12″ package with several mixes. The intro here was like an alien insect loop for a bar before the more familiar tune began. The beat was harder than ever here with cold, precise blasts of white noise playing against the cicada-like percussion. The mix was thinner and more streamlined, and might be the least of the “Strangelove” mixes I’d heard. Once the “Bomb The Bass” mixes dropped, that was it for me. The strange thing was that I never bought records for Depeche Mode post 1985, so I only heard this mix on this compilation.
Joseph Watt began the extended remix of “Sex Object” with arid samples of “Ja…Nein” ping-ponging back and forth back in the stereo spectrum. Then the same in Japanese. As with the 7′ edit, this mix of “Sex Object” was fully multi-lingual. The slap bass samples were always a problematic aspect of Kraftwerk, beginning with “Tour De France” in 1984. But the manipulated bass samples used to construct a “solo” made a kind of sense when juxtaposed against the synthetic cellos and strings later in the song. Apart from the rhythm, everything melodic in this song seems to be “string” textures and given the emotional vulnerability that the song was espousing. it may have been the right decision.
The coda dropped out all of the string patches and samples for a minute of beat and mutli lingual vocals. I actually have the Razormaid issue A-12 [also from 1987] which has what was called there the “Tiergartenstrasse Mix” by Watt, but with the penchant the Razormaid crew have for re-remixing many tracks, I need to actually play mine to see if there are mix differences.
With the packaging listing a contest to win one of 12 CD players, we can see that the format was still seen as something exotic in 1987. The various 12″ mixes on the then exotic CD format were rare birds for their time, and with the eye of Kraftwerk collectors [I can’t play in that $andbox any more…] always on this one for the unreleased commercially “Sex Object” remixes, this disc still manages to change hands for a solid two to three figures. Thank goodness I found this one relatively early and when money was more plentiful. I still find it surprising that there were not even any white labels of the title that made it out into the wilds.