Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Art Of Noise Drum And Bass Collection (1996) & The Fon Mixes (1997)


The Art of Noise are one of the most sampled bands in music history. Pieces of their work are found in some of the most popular music of the past 13 years (The Prodigy’s “Firestarter” comes to mind among many many others). Their beginnings in 1983 saw them as a faceless studio-bound vehicle for Trevor Horn, and their body of work created “…the blueprint for new styles of hip-hop and electro-rhythms” and became “…a crystal ball of hardcore technology”.

Now we come to the stage where the very people who were moved by AON’s early works to create on their own, come “home” and put their spin on the work of their mentors.

The FON Mixes are the hardcore’s response to their historical influences. Each original Art Of Noise track is re-mixed with a burst of energy from noted mixers like Mark Gamble, Youth and Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire (using the pseudonym Sweet Exorcist).

On the FON CD “Peter Gunn” is mixed with “Dragnet”. It gets really campy and exaggerated using vintage Art Of Noise echoes and backbeat as it lumbers along. This Mark Gamble mix of “Peter Gunn” is as right-on representation of the original track, as his mix of “Yebo” is abstract. With its ominous beginning, and its blend of African chants with mechanized beats, there is not much of the original to be heard in this mix, which runs just short of two minutes.

“The Art of Slow Love” is brilliantly re-done by Youth starting off a bit like Primal Scream’s “Loaded” easing into a long, slow, sexy groove. Samples of “Moments In Love” are sprinkled throughout the track, seemingly reminiscing about the original AON track.

The Drum and Bass Collection tackles many of the same songs, but with a more textured approach. This collection features mixes from ILS, Flyright, Lemon D (from Metalhedz) and Lightfoot among others. I was not readily familiar with the work of these mixers, as many Americans will not be, but their work on this CD speaks volumes.

Flyright tackles “Peter Gunn” in a way that is diametrically opposed to Gamble’s (from FON). Completely unrecognizable as “Peter Gunn”, this track speeds along at a breakneck pace. There is no exact pattern or reason to this mix of the track, but that is what grabs your attention, and keeps it to the end.

The bassy meandering of Lightfoot’s almost-six-minute version of “Yebo” makes its numerous tempo changes with low-key grace. The levity with which ILS attacks “The Art of Love” is not at all like Youth’s ‘Slow’ version. It owes more to break-beat in the beginning, and its tempo changes plateau at an ambient groove.

The Art Of Noise has contributed a great deal to the music we all listen to. Getting your music from the very source of this genre will show you how it has developed over the years, and will allow you to pick out samples from this often credited group. Using the old AON albums as reference points and comparing the mixes is as enlightening as listening gets.

June 2, 2013 Posted by | Art Of Noise Drum And Base Collection, Art Of Noise The Fon Mixes | | Leave a comment