Art Of Noise - Who’s Afraid Of The Art Of Noise

Subversive techno-pop classic finally released on CD

Crude, prehistoric, and decidedly low-tech by today’s standards, the Fairlight CMI was a digital sampler that revolutionised pop music in the early 80s. Among its early enthusiasts were Peter Gabriel, Jean Michel Jarre, Kate Bush and Stevie Wonder, but it was studio group Art Of Noise (led by producer Trevor Horn) who brought the futuristic Australian-made keyboard and it’s mind-boggling sonic wizardry and array of sounds into the wider public consciousness.

That was in 1984 – not the year when Orwell’s dystopian nightmare came true, but rather the dawn of a new pop sensibility where sequencers, samplers and drum machines held sway, all encapsulated by Who’s Afraid…. Though a vivid sonic snapshot of its time – crystallising 80s excess, techno-fetishism and chutzpah in all its hubristic glory – AON’s debut album exudes an aura of timelessness, especially Close (To The Edit) and the haunting Moments In Love. In addition to the original album, this deluxe version is appended by BBC live sessions from ’84 and ’85, and a DVD consisting of promotional videos, live footage and even a TV ad starring Carry On comedian Kenneth Williams.

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Reviewed by Charles Waring
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