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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Art Of Noise - Close To The Edit

Art of Noise (also The Art of Noise) was an avant-garde synthpop group formed in 1983 by producer Trevor Horn, music journalist Paul Morley, and session musicians/studio hands Anne Dudley, J.J. Jeczalik, and Gary Langan. The group's mostly instrumental compositions were novel melodic sound collages based on digital sampler technology, which was new at the time. The sound was inspired by turn-of-the-century revolutions in music, the Art of Noise were initially packaged as a faceless anti- or non-group, blurring the distinction between the art and its creators.

'Close (to the Edit)' was released on various formats in May 1984. The single was closely related to the bands earlier single (and hip-hop club hit) 'Beatbox', and indeed a slightly longer version of 'Close (to the Edit)' had previously been released under the title 'Beatbox (Diversion Two)'. It takes its title from 'Close to the Edge' by Yes, and also samples 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' by the same group. The single heavily features the recorded sample of a car, a VW Golf, belonging to the band member J.J. Jeczalik's neighbour, stalling and restarting. It also features a short spoken-word vocal performed by Gary Langan's then-girlfriend, Karen Clayton (who had also performed a similar vocal task on the single 'Poison Arrow' by the group ABC, which Langan had co-produced).

'Close To Te Edit' was released in the UK on what had become ZTT's customary array of formats: standard and picture disc 7"s, three 12" singles (one a picture disc) and a cassette single, each featuring a number of unique mixes. The many remixes were given their own titles derived from the overall title, including 'Edited', 'Closely Closely (Enough's Enough)' and 'Closed'. An extended version appeared on the album 'Who's Afraid of the Art Of Noise?.

The cassette single version, 'That Was Close', was a medley of a number of the mixes from the various formats, featuring Diversion Eight, Diversion Two, Closest, Close-Up, the album version of Close (to the Edit) and Closed. This medley lasted in excess of 20 minutes in length, repeated on both sides of the cassette, and featured the voice of caricature actor Chris Barrie. It appeared only in one other format at that time, a white label vinyl (which was actually pressed a bright green colour), and remained otherwise unavailable in any format until it was included in its entirety on the 2006 CD box-set compilation 'And What Have You Done With My Body, God?'.
A sample of this track was used in a number of songs most notably in 'Firestarter' by The Prodigy and Back in the Day' by Christina Aguilera.

'Close To The Edit' was The Art of Noise's first major UK hit, reaching number eight in the UK singles chart.
The list of versions of the track:
7": Close (to the Edit)
7": A Time to Hear (Who's Listening)
12": Close (to the Edit) (Extended Remix)
12": Close Up" 7:37 (12ZTPS01+)
12": Closely Closely (Enough's Enough) 7:11 (12ZTPS01)
12": (picture disc) 'Edited' 5:32 (12PZTPS01)
12": Close-up (Hop) 5:10 (12ZTPS1)
12": A Time to Clear (It Up) 5:05
12": A Time to Hear (You're Listening) 3:27
12": A Time to Hear (Who's Listening) 3:25
Green label 12": 'Untitled version' 7:38 (12ZTPS1)
Cassette single: 'That Was Close' (see above for details) 20:36 (CTIS106)

'Edited' was very similar to the LP version, but with some additional overdubs. 'A Time to Hear (Who's Listening)' was a montage of extracts and out-takes from the album Who's Afraid of The Art of Noise?.

Three promotional videos were recorded for the single. The original, featuring a little girl in punk garb leading three business suit-clad men in the destruction of various musical instruments, was directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski. According to an interview with the band, "The male members of the band were slightly disturbed that they were made to come off as Huey Lewis and the News," Paul Morley said in an interview at the time, "so one of the reasons we tend to hide behind masks or not appear at all is because it opens up more possibilities how Art of Noise can be presented. Sometimes you had video art directors get excited about how they were going to present Art of Noise, and in that particular case, he interpreted it as a strange young girl with Huey Lewis & The News. Half of it was fun and half of it was slightly sad."

"I thought it was a fun video," Anne Dudley said, "but some people thought it was unnecessarily violent. It was banned in New Zealand as encouraging violence towards children. Nothing could have been further from our minds." The video later won the MTV Video Music Awards for Most Experimental Video and the Best Editing in 1985. A second video, composed almost entirely of surreal animation, aired in the UK, directed by Matt Forrest. A third version includes various shots of the band in-studio

Click the link below to download the following:
Video - Version 1
Video - Version 2

Close To The Edit
Single Version
Beat Box Diversion Two 12 Inch Original Mix
Extended Mix
Rhythm Scholar Deftly Diverted Remix.mp3
Ruff Mix - Demo
A Time To Hear (Who's List) - B-Side

Close Up
Hop Mix
Close Up Mix

The Art Of Noise - Close To The Edit - Video (Version 1)

The Art Of Noise - Close To The Edit - Video (Version 2)

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