Friday, September 27, 2013

Art of Noise - Into Battle With the Art of Noise

Today we are marking the thirtieth anniversary of In Battle With the Art of Noise, the debut EP from the band known as the Art of Noise. Their initial roster consisted of Anne Dudley, J.J. Jeczalik, Gary Langan, Trevor Horn and Paul Morley. This one first hit record stores on September 26th of 1983.

Side one opens with the twenty-five second long “Battle”. It has an urgent, marching quality to it.

“Beat Box”, the first single, went to number 101 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 51 in the UK, number 10 on the US Billboard R&B chart and number 1 on the US Billboard Dance chart. Through use of sounds and noises, this instrumental piece has become one of the foundations of the hip-hop genre. If you were around in the early 80’s, you might not know it by name but it will certainly sound familiar to you.

“The Army Now” combines percussion with a sampled vocal from the Andrews Sisters. I like the contrast of modern beats with big band era voices.

The under two-minute instrumental piece “Donna” closes off the first half of the record.

Side two begins with “Moments of Love”, which also released as the B-side to the first single. The version here, clocking in at over ten minutes, has a very intimate flow to it that can connect to the listener on a deep, emotional level.

Next is the five second burst “Bright Noise” that sounds like an industrial machine. It segues right into “Flesh in Armour”, a pounding piece that I picture being about equipping soldiers for war.

To contrast the previous jarring number, “Comes and Goes” starts out soft but it too is slowly tainted by an urgent event.

Things close out with a shorter reprise of “Moments of Love”. This one has a more sullen quality to it at the start.

If you are looking for pieces that can stand on their own from Into Battle With the Art of Noise, then just look to the two sides of the single. That will get you some key Art of Noise tracks. However, as I suspect with this group (I had not heard many of their albums), the entire record is best listened to as a whole unit. Many of the tracks here are short, but they add to the mosaic that is the entire album - a tale of love torn apart by world conflict around them.