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Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Who's Afraid of the Art of Noise

Artist: Art of Noise
Genre: Techno/Electronica
Release Date: October 1998

Review by DjBatman
4 stars out of 4

Not the easiest record to listen to, but the brainchild of Anne Dudley, Trevor Horn, J.J.Jeczalik, and their partners Gary Langan and Morley is a milestone in the history of music. In early 80's Trevor Horn (musical director of the ZTT label) was the producer to a lot of fundamental records for pop/rock music, and he helped Anne Dudley (famous for writing film scores too) and other friends putting together and releasing this outrageous collage of drum machines, noises, vocal samples, spoken word and other stuff the most electronic stuff around was New Order's "Blue monday". AoN anticipated the house revolution of late 80's and the subsequent rise of electronica in the 90's and their tracks have been widely known and reprocessed by electronic music freaks. "Music is the art of sound", says the first line of a classical music book I have. Car noises, footsteps and screams are "sound", so Art of Noise can make great music out of these and also every other kind sound, with a particular inclination for industrial stuff (the recording is curiously dedicated to Henry Ford), and also small fragments from other records, I suspect (like a little jazzy insert that seems to have been captured from the radio).  The shortest album cut ("Snapshot", lasting one minute only) sounds like a piece of the Giorgio Moroder soundtrack to "Electric dreams" (don't worry, they were released almost simultaneously... so chances are that neither Moroder nor AoN cared about the similarity).  The album seems like a symphony divided in two movements, with the first part being more noisy-drum-machine type of music (with the exception of the above-mentioned "Snapshot") while the second part introduces melody and reduces the impact of drums and noisey samples. "Momento" is pure ambient music, with cathedral organ, bells, footsteps and natural sounds, and there's something similar in "How to kill", with a moody keyboard carpet filled with weird vocal snippets. But the longest track (10'14"!) is also the finest part of the album and probably AoN's most famous cut; "Moments in love" is the proof that electronic music can be calm and romantic without losing its rhythmic feel. There have been various remix albums of AoN tracks and "Close (to the edit)", featured here, was sampled on The Prodigy's "Firestarter". I suggest to check the original versions and learn by yourself why these cuts are considered a piece of music history.



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