We’ve always got time for New Musik; Tony Mansfield’s enormously appealing Technopop project that happened at just the right time in the ’79-’82 period, where analog synths were jostling up against new digital technologies like sampling to give him a New Wave platform for the thoughtful melancholy of his songwriting. We’ve written earlier about the early releases by the band. We’ve had the band’s three albums on CD since their availability, but now Cherry Red is releasing an omnibus clamshell box with four discs worth of the tuneful group’s canon.
I’m happy to see that the US sleeve design for the “Straight Lines” 10″ single was the jumping off point for the new box; finally making it to the silver disc format; in spirit at least. The first three discs cover the albums “From A To B,” “Anywhere,” and “Warp.” With disc four collecting single edits, extended versions, and Non-LP B-Sides. Here’s the contents.
DISC 1 – From A To B
- Straight Lines
- A Map of You
- On Islands
- This World of Water
- Living By Numbers
- Dead Fish (Don’t Swim Home)
- The Safe Side
DISC 2 – Anywhere
- They All Run After the Carving Knife
- This World of Walter
- While You Wait
- Changing Minds
- Back To Room One
DISC 3 – Warp
- Here Come the People
- Going Round Again
- A Train on Twisted Tracks
- All You Need Is Love
- All You Need Is Love
- Kingdoms For Horses
- The New Evolutionist (Example ‘A’)
- Green And Red (Respectively)
- The Planet Doesn’t Mind
DISC 4 – Rarities
- Straight Lines – Single Edit
- While You Wait – Single Edit
- The Planet Doesn’t Mind – Single Edit
- Sad Films – B-Side Living by Numbers
- Missing Persons / Tell Me Something New – B-Side This World of Water
- She’s A Magazine – B-Side Sanctuary
- Chik Musik – B-Side Sanctuary
- Magazine Musik – B-Side Sanctuary
- Twelfth House – B-Side All You Need Is Love
- From The Village – B-Side While You Wait
- Guitars – B-Side While You Wait
- The Office – B-Side Luxury
- 24 Hours from Culture (Part 2) – B-Side the Planet Doesn’t Mind
- While You Wait – Extended Version
- Here Come the People – Remix
The bonus tracks on disc four surpass the eleven bonus tracks on my NL and JPN CDs of the three albums I’ve had since they were first available. I’ve never heard the instrumentals “Chik Musik” and “Magazine Musik.” Or “Tell Me Something New.” Or any of the single edits, apart from “Straight Lines,” which was the version on the 10″ US EP. And I’ve not heard the extended version of “While You Wait.”
But the bonus disc is still missing something which I do have on another CD. The 12″ mix of “The Planet Doesn’t Mind” is not here. And finally, the cassette bonus tracks which were only on the 1981 cassette of “Anywhere” are missing in action here. The tracks in question were “And,” and “Under Attack.” I suppose I’ll have to assume that these are New Musik tracks I will never probably hear. The phenomenon of British cassette-only bonus tracks from the Walkman® era will haunt me to my dying day, I think!
But this package does represent another impressive salvo of the strongly appealing New Musik catalog being sent out into the world. If not in perfection, then as close to it as we’ve ever gotten in a single package. If you’ve never had the pleasure, New Musik slot in congruently adjacent to The Buggles as Technopop mavens. The first two albums blended melodious if melancholy Pop with warm analog synthesizers and rich 12-string guitars and real drums for that late 70s hybrid-tech sound, that for my money, can’t be bettered. Through it all, Mansfield’s thoughtful probings into the human condition marked him as a top flight songwriter. In the body of an equally top flight producer.
The transformative third album showed songwriter/producer Mansfield losing most of the band, apart from keyboardist Clive Gates, and gaining a new drummer; Cliff Venner. What he replaced them with was a Fairlight CMI®. But the sound of the “Warp” album didn’t begin touch the early sampling clichés with a ten-foot pole. The package will be issued on March 24th, 2023, and is now available to pre-order for £27.99/$33.80. Just click the button if you’re buy-curious.
Despite the tracks “And” and “Under Attack” being bonus tracks on the ‘Anywhere’ cassette, these tracks did appear on the 2001 Japanese CD release of ‘From A to B”.
drivel – Then it’s no wonder why I didn’t know this! I would never be thought to look on the wrong album for them!
I’m looking forward to this release. The track “Hunting” was a big influence on STEVEN JONES & LOGAN SKY “Rotating Angels”
By the way, you can source those rare tracks on YouTube: https://youtu.be/J_TkHyjc_i8
Logan Sky – I have a much better grasp of the first two New Musik albums since I’ve had them in the 80s. “Warp” has only been in the Record Cell for half as long, so I need to re-acquaint with “Hunting” to see if I can spot the influence on “Rotating Angels!”
The instrumentals “Chik Musik”, “Magazine Musik” and “Tell Me Something New” have all appeared before on CD before. “Tell Me Something New” is the instrumental ‘ending’ to the track “Missing Persons” and has been oft uncredited on CD reissues although included on them all under the aforementioned “Missing Persons”.
So, everything here is previously released, though it’s nice to have the original albums minus the bonus tracks, on CD at last. But missing out “And”, “Under Attack” and the 12″ version of “The Planet Doesn’t Mind” spoils what would have been a complete set.
PS Have emailed Cherry Red asking why they weren’t included. Will comment if I receive a reply :)
Dave Turner – I wonder what the quality of the cassette track mastering was on that JPN CD that had them? Maybe it was below the box producer’s level of acceptability?
The mastering on the Japanese CD (yes, I have all the New Musik CD reissues…) for these tracks is excellent. I can find no discernible drop in quality. Not sure if they were sourced from the cassette or whether the masters were used.
It really is puzzling that the two ‘Anywhere’ cassette edition bonus tracks have been missed and the 12” mix of ‘The Planet Doesn’t Mind’ – the latter especially since it has been influential enough in recent years to warrant a 12” vinyl re-release. The single edits are a more contentious issue and I fully understand why many would be of a ‘why bother with them’ attitude – but for the sake of completeness (and since not long ago I compiled my very own ‘Greatest Hits’ where I either sourced them from releases or re-created them from CDs), here are my notes;
‘Straight Lines’: a genuine single edit, chopped down from the longer 5 min plus album mix – in particular, an extended instrumental portion with string synth is removed from the single edit. The single edit has previously been issued by Cherry Red on the compilation CD box set ‘Harmony In My Head: UK Power Pop & New Wave 1977-81’.
‘Living By Numbers’ – largely the same as the album mix except the ‘white noise’ sound doesn’t fade out at the end like the album does – the UK 7” single at least has a gimmick that the white noise plays all the way to the end of the record’s groove, so it ends suddenly only when the needle is lifted.
‘This World Of Water’ – largely the same as the album mix except it fades out early – easy to recreate digitally from a CD version of the album track. I don’t think the single version has ever been issued anywhere on CD.
‘Sanctuary’ – largely the same as the album mix except it ends abruptly – no fade – easy to recreate digitally from a CD version of the album track. I don’t think the single version has ever been issued anywhere on CD. The ending was so bizarrely abrupt that a childhood memory of mine is of UK BBC Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn commenting something like “that’s just how it ends!” When playing it on the Sunday night Top 40 chart rundown show. Has never been issued on CD as gas as I know.
‘Luxury’ – single version is the same as the album version.
‘While You Wait’ – another genuine single edit – there is a portion of the latter part of the track snipped out, rather than it just being an early fade – there is a distinct guitar part that is unique to the very end of the track that is the giveaway. Hasn’t been issued before on CD.
‘They All Run After The Carving Knife’ – issued as a 3’19” single edit in Germany and The Netherlands – it omits the opening electronic intro and starts with the rhythm/guitar/synth part and then fades out at end before the mainly synth only outro from the LP mix begins. There’s also a 4’52” edit on a US promo 12” – I don’t have that one but I would guess it just omits the electronic intro but doesn’t fade out early at the end.
‘The Planet Doesn’t Mind’ – completely different mix/recording compared to the album version.
‘All You Need Is Love’ – the standard single edit removes the extended instrumental intro, so starts up with the drum/vocals part then proceeds as normal. Don’t think it’s ever been issued on CD. There is also an even shorter edit that was issued on the promo version of the single.
‘Warp’ – another genuine single edit – there is a portion of the latter part of the track snipped out, rather than it just being an early fade. Hasn’t been issued before on CD.
There’s certainly enough to warrant a standalone Singles collection (with the appropriate b-sides) CD here. May be worth suggesting this to Cherry Red.
Dave Turner – I don’t know about that. Maybe some years later, as I think it might eat into sales of the box currently. Versioncrazy has the right idea: D.I.Y.
Had a reply from Tim Madgwick at Cherry Red about the missing tracks – not much help unfortunately:
Thank you for your email to Cherry Red.
I’m afraid due to the volume of emails we receive we’re unable to comment on releases. As a rule, we try and include everything available but sometimes this isn’t possible due to lost masters, rights issues etc.
This email account is purely intended for incoming project suggestions. I’m not in a position to seek feedback or updates. I’m sorry I can’t help more.
With best wishes
Tim @ Cherry Red”
DaveTurner54 – Boilerplate Beats nothing!
Dave Turner – Thanks for the data on “Tell Me Something New.” In a proper world I would be writing these post from the Record Cell and have the music at my disposal. With just three tracks missing it is very close to perfect, and I can’t imagine any further CDs being issued. Making this tantalizingly close to ideal.
Did he go on to be in Naked Eyes or am I confusing New Wave musicians?
I won’t be buying this but I am happy to see the price trend skewing toward affordability continuing.
Tim – Mansfield was the producer of Naked Eyes. Not a favorite act and a blind spot in my esteem of his considerable abilities. Happy they added to his bottom line, though.
I love Naked Eyes, pity the last album was a CD-R though. No excuse for that nowadays… Mansfield also produced a-ha’s ‘Hunting High And Low’ – pretty sure that added a LOT to his bottom line ;)
There’s been rumours of a 4th New Musik album too. But unfortunately nothing concrete.
Dave Turner – Whaaaaaa…?!?! A fourth New Musik album??! I need to hang around with you. Your rumors are much better than mine! And actually, there are lots of excuses for a CD-R these days, what with CD replication plants shuttering right and left! It makes me…edgy.
I’m disappointed in the slight omissions you have highlighted above, but I’ll totally take this box anyway! I’ve always enjoyed their light-synthpop sound and songwriting, and a few years back I snarfed up the (probably) NL reissues, possibly the JPN ones, not sure — of the albums to enjoy their full body of work.
I’m more than happy to re-buy this for the cover alone. I was an early Nu-Disk enthusiast (wink wink nudge nudge) and this and the Continentals’ “Fizz Pop Modern Rock” were the first two I got (eventually I got all four [?] of the CBS Nu-Disk releases, which I dubbed my “Nu-Disk Colony” HAR HAR) and still take a casual interest in 10-inchers (oo-er missus!) from that period.
chasinvictoria – Right! That adaptation of the “Straight Lines” US 10″ cover warms the cockles of my heart as well. The NL issues in 1994 [first two albums only] were first, followed by UK first and second albums on Edsel and then the Japanese issues [all three] of 2001. Then the UK finally got a “Warp” CD in 2011 on the Lemon Recordings subsidiary of Cherry Red. And…why was this comment tagged as spam? There were no links. Lately Aksismet has been giving me a handful of false positives. Grrr.
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Thanks for the heads up on this one. I have the US compilation album and the Nu-Disk 10-inch referenced on this box’s cover. Got ’em both maybe two years ago? This was a band I knew only as an entry in the Trouser Press Record Guide, and when I got the comp, I was really surprised at how good this band was – there are a lot of 80s bands that copped their style, but weren’t nearly as good.
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Michael Toland – I think Tony Mansfield should be roundly hailed. He’s off the map now as a producer but the goods on display on those three albums are prodigious. Top flight songwriting and arrangement. I had those two records as my complete New Musik collection from 1980-1988 and there is more where that came from.
Update: according to the liner notes in the booklet –
“Living By Numbers (Single Edit)
The Planet Doesn’t Mind (Extended Version)
All You Need Is Love (Faded Version)
Warp (Single Edit)
Untitled (B-Side While You Wait)
They All Run After The Carving Knife (Single Edit)
Due to master and licensing issues the above tracks have had to be omitted.”
What these ‘issues’ were is anyone’s guess.
Dave Turner – A bit sad-making! The edits less so. The 12″ mix/B-side moreso. Licensing “All You Need Is Love” two times might be very costly as the former Beatles and their estates must be kept in the manner to which they are accustomed! I would grit my teeth for the album track but were I in charge, I very well might decide to pass on the 7″ edit!
The ‘untitled’ b-side is 26 seconds duration so no great loss there me thinks. The missing “The Planet Doesn’t Mind (Extended Version)” is the real loss. Though at least it’s available on CD elsewhere. Strange though considering Cherry Red licensed it with no problems for their 2011 CD reissue of the ‘Warp’ album. Baffling that it’s an issue now.
And yes, the 7″ edits I can live without. I’m thinking that fitting all these on the 4th CD was perhaps more the issue here.
Regarding the fees for the Beatles, it’s only once, the other same-titled song is a Mansfield original. Wouldn’t be excessive anyway I’m sure. The Tik & Tok CD I released has licensing from Gary Numan and Stevie Wonder (Stevie 4 times) and it wasn’t too much.
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