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polystyle desu
05-01-2006, 02:49 PM
While Googling through the web the other day I came across site with many reviews of the last Ultravox album with John Foxx , Systems Of Romance .
So gushing were they I was reminded of just how great those three early Albums
(you know I'm not going to talk about anything later then those) were ...
Some reviewers were turned off by Foxx's 'mannered vocals' , that's simply 'too bad' as he was one of the main things going on there and it's always too easy to crit .
Some of the tunes do sound precious and 'you had to have been there in the moment' ,
but some of the lyrics and musik is totally killer and still blows out what passes as 'rockin' /electro today.
The first album has great stuff , sports the image that K-Punk must like/luv and was possibly mainly known as 'the Album B Eno produced' , supposedly the first production he did after Bowie's Berlin albums.
The second one Ha! Ha! Ha! , when I finally was able to find it on CD years after my vinyl copy was melted down in LES Apt. fire is the one I can still put on before going out .
If you get a chance , do ck Fear In The Western World (timely for the dark ages) for the raging
and of course, Hiroshima Mon Amour for it's lyric sentiment sediment.
Like a Ballard turn of phrase , these cool tracks provided interstices of images, film clips parade where we could get off bk in - 1977 (!) .
The third Album , Systems , had a new guitarist Robin Simon and this line up I was fortunate to see @ NYC's Hurrah's (within weeks of Magazine, another great live art rock).
Shocked to then see in the Village Voice the next day that Robin was advertising for musicans or to join someone .
Well, I called in seconds and he came over to jam with my unit at the time The Futants (with Berlin's Martin Fischer) , I wanted to tape it but he said 'no' and I understood and anyway , I was so excited to play with the cat that it was all ok, whatever he wanted to do was fine with me .
And it was a cool jam session .
Anyway , in same Googling session I find Foxx's site and was happy to learn he has been working with
Robin again also Harold Budd and Robin from Cocteau Twins among others.

Thought it nice to hear Foxx was still out there , doing it and with such good company.
The music is available it seems , but has anyone heard any of those tracks ?
Cheers to John Foxx and Robin Simon !

Ness Rowlah
05-01-2006, 03:14 PM
I've sent you a "Privat Message" - but yeah I love that shit and those first 3 Ultravox!/Ultravox albums would all have made my personal top 100. They formed me.
Punk energy, the euro-electronic influence, Roxy-glam and Ballard lyrics -
all wonderfully brought together.

Foxx's recent "Crash&Burn" (Ballard again) album with Louis Gordon is a return to form
and his work with Budd on "Translucence/Drift Music" is surprisingly (?) good
(in light of the "Cathedral Oceans" series which I find disappointing and ended up selling).

labrat
05-01-2006, 04:01 PM
My sex
Waits for me
Like a mongrel waits
Downwind on a tight rope leash

My sex
Is a fragile acrobat
Sometimes I'm a novocaine shot
Sometimes I'm an automat

My sex
Is often solo
Sometimes it short circuits then
Sometimes it's a golden glow

My sex
Is invested in
Suburban photographs
Skyscraper shadows on a carcrash overpass

My sex
Is savage, tender
It wears no future faces
Owns just random gender

My sex
Has a wanting wardrobe
I still explore
Of all the bodies I knew and those I want to know

My sex
Is a spark of electro flesh
Leased from the tick of time
And geared for synchromesh

My sex
Is an image lost in faded films
A neon outline
On a high-rise overspill

My sex

polystyle desu
05-01-2006, 04:36 PM
Ahh , yes Lab
that very tune just faded out on the CD player ...

polystyle desu
08-01-2006, 12:18 AM
Thanks Ness
I was curious about the musik with Budd as his own music varies from release to release.
Some i find nice , some I never listen to again ...
Cheers

Ness Rowlah
08-01-2006, 01:59 AM
I think I read somewhere that those Foxx/Budd sessions where lying around for years before John and Harold decided to publish them.

Also came across this bit of Foxx trivia doing a nostalgic Associates webtrip the other day -
John played acoustic guitar on British Electric Foundation's (aka 2/3s of Heaven 17)
"Music Of Quality And Distinction Volume One". Together with Hank Marvin.
The link being that the album contains Billy MacKenzie's version of "Secret Life of Arabia" -
http://www.awrc.com/review/b/music_of_quality.html

polystyle desu
08-01-2006, 02:00 PM
Thanx Ness .
And I hear you about The Associates , we are def hearing alot more about them now then bk
when they existed , the web has quite a hand in bringing the good stuff bk around again.
Just the other night out a mate related the story of how they would scam their ol' label into buying their new tracks they had made with other label's 'demo' money .
Whatever means necessary ...

k-punk
08-01-2006, 07:02 PM
I think ha!ha!ha! is my favourite too, I wrote about it here (http://www.stylusmagazine.com/ipod/archive/001315.html).... In addition to everything else, I think Foxx is a brilliant lyricist, his words have an icy lucidity, he sees with an outsider's cold eye... Those first three Ultravox albums were a brilliant example of how postpunk was about much more than music; film (The Swimmer, Resnais), art (Bacon, Heartfield), fiction (Ballard, Burroughs, as already mentioned, but also Duras and Robbe-Grillet) were all over those LPs.... Each album had a different sound and concept: the first LP, with its diseased, abstract R and B, Vorticist London, 'the 'city of the dead' in which 'Tottenham Court road litter skitters in the wind', 'My Sex' a Satie/Ballard hymn.... Ha!ha!ha! more abstract, atonal and apocalypse now... serrated and pulp magazine sleazy, as if all the songs have been collaged out of newspaper typescript and cubist paintings... Systems of Romance sleaker and more streamlined... Robin Simon's guitar like white hot metal.... Euro-neurasthenia.... the abstract glamour of polaroids...

The Transluscence album with Budd is fantastic --- we made a lot of use of it, and of Foxx's meditative short story 'The Quiet Man', in our radio piece londonunderlondon last year.

polystyle desu
09-01-2006, 03:36 AM
Thanks for the link ,
love your article and your take on the class -punk thing .
Interesting also to hear what the London media thought about Ultravox .
Like to hold onto and play with that idea about what - can - still - become ...
Getting late now and just finished a rehearsal,
wil take this up tomorrow .
Cheers

polystyle desu
10-01-2006, 07:52 PM
Reading again K-Punk's site and the piece ref: Martin Beyond The Implode
' Driving all night ...(through/around) ... Stopsley . '
Just that name alone , Stopsley - really does SOUND like nowheresville (is it ?)

The suburbs , intersections , malls we used to frequent in DC and Northern Virginia were possibly as empty
and boring as a Stopsley of the mind .
Mostly mid to upper middle class with some rich , some poor
we saw our friends and just about everybody really out driving around almost every night too .
Our neighborhood in N Va. (Oakton and Vienna Va. - former claim to fame -'Home Of AOL') was /is populated by x CIA (son of Victor Marchetti , author of "CIA : Cult Of Intelligence" was a classmate), x Marines and x Pentagon ( my Dad).
Upshot was we all partied harder especially once the dinner hour passed , sun was down ,
'cash to burn' (well , really only enough to pay for food, drink stuff)
Driving around listening to Wide Boys and Ha! Ha! Ha!
or Iggy's Lust For Life ,
but the soundtrack for classmates cutting together was more likely to be say , Wishbone Ash' Blowin Free

subvert47
10-01-2006, 11:15 PM
I can't agree
Systems of Romance is terribly dated stuff
almost embarrassing even
it's the fag end of prog, not the slightest bit post-punk

k-punk
10-01-2006, 11:16 PM
interesting how much more of a rough ride Ultravox got in the UK than in the UK... at least from what I've picked up... (I remember being shocked to see a photo of one of Husker Du wearing an Ultravox! t-shirt sometime in the mid 80s) ... odd cos in many ways you'd think that Ultravox would be the typical over-conceptualized British band that American audiences notoriously hate...

k-punk
10-01-2006, 11:21 PM
I can't agree
Systems of Romance is terribly dated stuff
almost embarrassing even
it's the fag end of prog, not the slightest bit post-punk

well, that's the standard view I suppose. I can't see that's it more or less dated than anything else in 78; since key tracks (Slow Motion, Quiet Men) established the synthrock template that Tubeway Army/ Numan would popularize so successfully, I would say that it was ahead of its time. Influence of psychedelia/ Beatles much stronger than Prog though. The Prog thing much more evident on ha!ha!ha!: jump-cut time changes, use of classical (albeit avant-classical), conceptualism. Systems notable for the removal of those Prog elements.

subvert47
10-01-2006, 11:23 PM
I'm writing as someone who bought it when it came out ;)

k-punk
10-01-2006, 11:26 PM
I'm writing as someone who bought it when it came out ;)

So?

subvert47
10-01-2006, 11:35 PM
So?

Dunno really. I guess that was irrelevant :o

It just seemed like "that's the standard view I suppose" implied I was checking stuff from back then without any real perspective. Actually I grew up on this music and Ultravox hasn't lasted for me. It doesn't seem at all radical now. Especially not when compared with electronic-based post punk, such as Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, et al.

Ness Rowlah
11-01-2006, 01:02 PM
Neither Stravinsky, nor Suicide seem radical now.

---

Ultravox were radical from where I saw it (admittely from Scandinavia
in my teens and yeah we could get these albums as they came out,
although I got Ha!Ha!Ha! first). They might not sound radical now -
but the music and words have lasted well.

I know we Ultravox! fans have been banging on
and screaming our heads off for years about "the unjustice".
And it's not just us. It seems like the radicalism has FINALLY being
picked up by parts of the music press. So it was good to
see Q Magazine's special on synthpop last year:


In fact, Ultravox! were post-punk before punk had played itself out. This confused people. Their use of electronics, extended song structures, keyboards and un-punk instruments like violin previewed what Magazine and Wire, as well as Gary Numan and The Human League, would be doing in two years’ time. Equally, a year prior to Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine, Foxx was exploring the same idea in I Want To Be A Machine, while his alienated Euro-romanticism also pre-empted Bowie’s Berlin trilogy (Foxx recalls Bowie phoning Eno to suggest the collaboration during recording), Foxx hymning the city in The Wild, The Beautiful And The Damned. Most importantly, neither Kraftwerk nor Bowie had yet created anything quite like My Sex’s mix of the electronic and the classical, or as detached as Foxx’s robotic yet romantic chant. “I was very interested in the pull and push of romanticism and alienation,” says Foxx.

Pre-empting Kraftwerk and the Eno/Bowie trilogy- I would call that somewhat radical.

polystyle desu
11-01-2006, 04:51 PM
I hear that Ness ...

Re: Subvert's opinion , hey if you don't feel it we understand and that's fine .
Different strokes post punk moments for all , I guess ...

This thread is also about the ongoing Foxx music and collaborations and really , no matter radical or what have you , he's ongoing , still operating .

But hey , I don't know when the last time you saw Gen- P Orridge
but I saw him on Ave. A a couple winter's back walking by hugging the dirty postered wall
wearing what appeared to be a granny's old dinge house coat / pajama and blue eyeshade
Steady on , Gen

subvert47
14-01-2006, 05:01 PM
Neither Stravinsky, nor Suicide seem radical now.

I disagree; they still sound radical :)

Ultravox "use of electronics, extended song structures, keyboards and un-punk instruments like violin", on the other hand, rather than pioneering anything, seems more like an extension of prog into the new wave domain. Yes, OK, I can see some influence with Magazine and also Gary Numan. But not at all with Wire, who were the antithesis of prog. I don't really hear any influence from Ultravox on Kraftwerk or Bowie either. sorry


Re: Subvert's opinion , hey if you don't feel it we understand and that's fine.

Different strokes post punk moments for all , I guess ...

sure thing :) and I'd just got in from the pub when I posted before :o


But hey , I don't know when the last time you saw Gen- P Orridge but I saw him on Ave. A a couple winter's back walking by hugging the dirty postered wall wearing what appeared to be a granny's old dinge house coat / pajama and blue eyeshade Steady on , Gen

yes, he's more interested in gender than music nowadays ;)

polystyle desu
15-01-2006, 03:25 PM
I don't think the point made earlier was stressing that Ultravox influenced the Bowie & Eno Berlin albums -
just that Bowie did make the call to Brian while he was doing the Ultravox session.
Actually both camps , Ultravox & Bowie/Eno were in varying degrees and different moments under the influence of Cluster and Neu !
( the drumming tattoo of I Can't Stay Long from Ultravox's Systems /
the snare sound of Side 1 blown up from a snare idea of Neu's that also served to become basis for Iggy's "Funtime" on The Idiot and obv Side 2 of Low , Heroes).
The German groups were fertile ground for contemporaries to plow (some may use another verb)
and hopefully, maybe add something interesting to what went before .
Bowie's bringing some of that sound to a pop format with his single off Low "Sound And Vision" was an addition to the pop music sonic at the time .
Remember the first time you heard "Sound And Vision" come on the radio ?
'Bash bash bash - boom' !

As for the influence /cross currents between the other groups ( a whole thread there),
some we can say really did their own music (Magazine , Wire , Kraftwerk) and did it with a touch of class , mystery and exploration and others simply changed from guitars to synths (well, Numan and others )

A fascinating period that in some important ways led right into the NDWelle 1981 -1983 period
Woebot chronicles so neatly on his Compilation ...

subvert47
21-01-2006, 03:34 PM
I don't think the point made earlier was stressing that Ultravox influenced the Bowie & Eno Berlin albums -
just that Bowie did make the call to Brian while he was doing the Ultravox session.
Actually both camps , Ultravox & Bowie/Eno were in varying degrees and different moments under the influence of Cluster and Neu !
( the drumming tattoo of I Can't Stay Long from Ultravox's Systems /
the snare sound of Side 1 blown up from a snare idea of Neu's that also served to become basis for Iggy's "Funtime" on The Idiot and obv Side 2 of Low , Heroes).
The German groups were fertile ground for contemporaries to plow (some may use another verb)
and hopefully, maybe add something interesting to what went before .
Bowie's bringing some of that sound to a pop format with his single off Low "Sound And Vision" was an addition to the pop music sonic at the time .

ok, fair enough :)

eleventhvolume
23-01-2006, 10:53 AM
Hm. From my entirely personal point of view, I'm not that interested in whether a group is radical or influential. Is late Scott Walker influential? Tilt's lodged in my soul, whether or no. As are those first three Ultravox albums and most particularly Systems Of Romance. I'm fascinated to read that K-Punk finds Foxx "icy" - I've always experienced his music as passionate, engaged (well, with the exception of Metamatic that is) and awash with desire. As the quiet man he assumed the role of the outsider, but in doing so he was able to express desire in much the same way as Kraftwerk did with the concept of the man-machine/robot. The role of the dream, the possibility of escape proferred by the imagination is what always fascinated me. To K-Punk's excellent list of references I'd add a dash of the English magical realism of Powell-Pressburger and the suburban paranoia of the TV series, Survivors.

I wonder whether he'll ever finish/publish his stories, the first of which I think was published with The Garden... One other thing, I wonder whether a band has ever done as radically different a version of a track as the two recordings of Hiroshima Mon Amour, the final track on Ha!-Ha!-Ha! and the 'b' side punk version of Rockwrock. Wouldn't be able to choose which one I prefer, both brilliant. One thing's for sure, it's heartbreaking hearing Midge Ure sing the vocal on a post '79 bootleg I snagged recently.