My entrée to the world of Propaganda had been their 12″ single of “Duel;” one of the most vivid examples of the Hegelian dialectic between the Apollonian and the Dionysian rendered into song. The same song as performed and arranged in drastically different ways. The “Do-Well” cassette version of the single had included a mix called “Bejewelled” which had the aggressive “Jewel” and the soaring “Duel” spliced together in a crude approximation of what would evolve into the “mashup.” It was a crude proof of concept for what was perfected with the track that opened the second side of the original LP.
“Jewelled” began with the famous programmed piano glissando from “Duel’s middle eight sped up into double [or even triple] time before uniting the industrial beat of “Jewel” with the guitar and even synth horns of the kinder, gentler “Duel” track. The bulk of the vocal was Ms. Brücken’s shouted, rather than crooned delivery of the lyric and this time the two tracks were clearly unified to create a perfect synthesis of the two opposing approaches to the song. I loved the inarticulate screams of Claudia juxtaposed against the dubbed out horn hook. The sweetly singing vocal from “Duel” was eventually mixed into the proceedings smoothly for Claudia duetting with herself in the climax as the “valkyrie” vocal take degenerated into more screaming under the luxurious croon of “Duel.” Until the track dropped out to leave only the pulsating industrial rhythm as an abrupt coda.
The only remains of the Jazz that was a part of “The Murder Of Love” came down to the piano given the spotlight in the deceptive intro to the 6:47 remix of the song. Then it was all down to grinding, machinelike percussion and programmed floor toms. The the synth bass took over and a far more rhythmic take on the track got its change to shine. The vocal lines were dubbed out to minimize their presence in the early part of the mix. The synth bass riff was given its own breakdown as shovelfuls of dubbed out percussion were the focus of the middle eight. The famous Steven Lipson Jazz guitar solo was now a distant memory. resulting in a tougher mix of the much smoother LP cut. The breakdown in the coda allowed for the tom toms to seamlessly beatmatch with the hard splice into the “Abuse [There]” remix of “Dr. Mabuse” that followed. Itself a dub mix of the middle weight “never look back” movement of the 12″ remix.
Then came the remix album’s unexpected coda; the minimal bleep proto-techno of “Thought,” which we would find out was a remix of the band’s cover version of Throbbing Gristle’s “Discipline.” One of the three songs the band had in pocket when ZTT came calling. Rendered here as a digital cartoon followed by a second coda: a measure of the dubbed out strings and horns playing the famous David Sylvian topline melody of “p:Machinery.”
Then we were in bonus track territory. Most of which were unique to this CD. “Strength To Dream [Outtake 04.02.84]” was the isolated synth bass and drum track with dubbed out strings from, the coda to “Dr. Mabuse” for a brief palate cleanser. Next followed the third 12″ remix of “p:Machinery,” the ßeta Wraparound Version with guest guitarist John McGeoch and the 10:47 minute take of the song. Complete with reprise coda of the theme for the last 1:15 of its running time.
The relentless train-like rhythm of the track was given the prominence with eerie sustained strings building the mystery in the long, methodical introduction. The familiar theme of the song finally appearing almost four and a half minutes in. But there’s less machinelike precision here, owing to the more chaotic element of McGeoch’s guitar. Which carried the familiar, bombastic riff usually given to the synthetic brass in most mixes of the song. Until the mixes climax where guitar and “brass” traded off on the riff in a call-and-response fashion until the got the final, abrupt word before the ghostly coda.
Another unreleased cut was “Murder of Love [Murderous Instrumental” which was a shorter instrumental mix of the LP version of the track. All flanged brass stabs until the middle eight where the Jazz movement of the song gave the Fairlight the spotlight instead of the creamy Stephen Lipson guitar solo we all know and love.
The unreleased mix of “Dr. Mabuse [Outtake 24.04.85]” sounded like a shorter [5:41] mix variant on the “13th life mix” that played very close to what the “13th Life Mix” would become. Only differing once the middle eight happened, with slightly more backward Susanne Freytag before “don’t be a fool” appeared. The strings sounded more prominent but the biggest change was the last half minute of the track. As the song mix rhythm faded to the rhythm and more animal sounds before a hasty synth flourish.
The “Secret Sense Of Rhythm” mix of “Frozen faces” was just that; the twitching rhythm track to the song and an overlong and skeletal “mix” at 5:10. Better was the “Voiceless ßeta Wraparound Edit” of “p:Machinery” which traded off on the organ rondo that the live arrangement of the song had been built upon. I can’t recall ever hearing a studio recording of the track that quite sounded the same as this one did.
The album has as much of a flow as its predecessor did and when listening to it, the tracks that segued, did so magnificently. With the flow paying off in spades. And getting deep cuts like “The Murder of Love” and “Sorry For Laughing” in extended remix form was a real treat. To say nothing of the “Duel/Jewel” mashup that worked like a charm. The bonus material was mostly a great glimpse under the hood of the bits and pieces deemed transitional and superfluous by ZTT at the time but are now valued as holy relics by the ZTT/Propaganda faithful. Only the “Frozen Faces” rhythm track was less than valid. And this was the first time that the full length ßeta Wraparound mix of “p:Machinery” reached the silver disc, so its appearance here was greatly appreciated.
Listening to this album again reminded me how much I enjoyed this [divisive at the time] excursion into the remix album mania that was building in the Post-Post-Punk era in Britain. The band were not amused by ZTT whipping this out as a cash cow without their participation, and it was one more dollop of fuel to the band’s antagonistic fire between themselves and their label at the time. But I would maintain that Bob Kraushaar and Paul Morley got value from their “39 studio hours of bending, repeating, arranging, and editing.” And we got the better end of things from this even more expansive 74 minute CD of the enhanced program here. At least until the 40th anniversary 2xCD edition comes around in three years.