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Art Of Noise Into Battle With The Art Of Noise (1983)


Into Battle with the Art of Noise is the latest installment (No. 16, to be precise) in ZTT’s fine Element Series of reissues via the Salvo label. As with the Claudia Brücken collection Combined, the disc is packaged in a miniature gatefold LP sleeve.

The astute listener will notice that both the front and booklet covers contain a typo, with “Flesh in Armour” listed as “Flesh in Armous”. This is unfortunate, but perhaps this can be fixed with subsequent printings. On the other hand, the artwork is crisp and clean, unlike the 1999/2000 ZTT reissues through Universal, which had to rely on already printed material because, if I recall correctly, the original artwork for most of the early ZTT albums was lost to fire.

The re-created album artwork aside, the obvious point of comparison for this edition would be the 20th anniversary reissue released in 2003 by Repertoire. By most measures, the Element Edition (as the ZTT web site refers to it) of Into Battle is an improvement.

For starters, the original version of “Beat Box” has been restored to the running order, whereas the 20th anniversary edition contained “Beat Box (Diversion 1)” in its place.

The sound quality is much improved, in my opinion. The 20th anniversary edition was mastered at hotter levels, which, while not carried out to extremes utilized, did not exactly make for repeated listening. The Element Edition is mastered at more reasonable levels, and is consistent with other releases in ZTT’s Element Series.

Some folks will grumble, perhaps rightly so, that the cassette version of “Moments in Love” is used here instead of the full 10-minute version. However, the liner notes indicate that this is to avoid duplication with the forthcoming deluxe reissue of Who’s Afraid of The Art of Noise, which will include the full version.

Speaking of Who’s Afraid of The Art of Noise, that LP was apparently the result of changes made (to appeal more to a mainstream audience) after the unexpected single success of “Close (to the edit)”. Before that single became a hit, The Art of Noise had put together an album called Worship. That previously unreleased album is included here.

I was always somewhat disappointed in Who’s Afraid of The Art of Noise, particularly since I already had “Beat Box (Diversion One)”, “Close (to the edit)” (which sprang forth from “Beat Box (Diversion Two)”), and “Moments in Love” on other releases, and the new material included was mostly too short and not very interesting.

Worship, on the other hand, contains more new material, more varied material, and is both longer and more interesting. The interludes “One Finger of Love”, “Two Fingers of Love”, and “Three Fingers of Love” (which is *not* the same as the track on “daft” listed as “(Three Fingers of) Love”) are jazzy pieces dominated by strings, sax, and piano, and would have been quite unexpected from the group at that point in time. And “Confession” is actually kind of funky, relatively speaking. But we do still get more “Beat Box” – in the form of “Close (to the edit)” and Diversions 1, 3, and 5 (not in that order).

If Who’s Afraid of The Art of Noise was monochrome (as suggested by its sleeve art), then Worship is its more colorful counterpart. I assume that the album never got as far as the sleeve design, since the only related images shown in the booklet are the track listings from the master tape boxes.

The inclusion of Worship is a smart move on the part of ZTT, since Into Battle as presented here is also included in the 2006 box set, And What Have You Done with My Body, God? About a half-dozen tracks from Worship are also part of that set (though, as the liner notes point out, not yet placed in the context of Worship), but that still leaves 12 tracks that owners of said box will not already have. Since this edition of Into Battle is a single disc, that means the cost of those 12 tracks is not terribly outrageous.

In short, better sound, new liner notes, crisp artwork, and an album’s worth of extra material. Hard to go wrong with this one.

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Art Of Noise Into Battle With The Art Of Noise | | Leave a comment