Art Of Noise were a British avant-garde electronic music group formed in 1983 by a group of musicians and producers namely Trevor Horn, Gary Langan, J.J. Jeczalik, Anne Dudley and NME journalist Paul Morley. The group's music took in a range of genres ranging from synth-pop, dance, ambient and even classical, all characterised by the use of state-of-the-art electronic equipment and in particular sampling technology which was fairly new at the time. The group's anonymous image (usually photographed with masks) and style was based on early 20th century musical and art collectives, in particular from 'The art of noises', the Italian Futurist music manifesto published in 1916. Art of Noise's record label Zang Tumb Tumb (or ZTT, home also to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Propaganda and Grace Jones) takes its name from a Futurist 'noise poem', although the group left ZTT after an acrimonious split in 1985 in which Horn and Morley left the project. Dudley, Jeczalik, and Langan would go on to record their biggest selling album In Visible Silence in 1986, and a year later In No Sense? Nonsense!, with Art Of Noise reduced to just Jeczalik and Dudley. A Best of album also followed, before the project disbanded in 1990. The group's output was largely instrumental although they scored their biggest hit in the UK with a cover version of Prince's Kiss featuring veteran vocalist Tom Jones. Further hits include 'Paranoimia', featuring early CGI talking head
Max Headroom, and another cover version 'Peter Gunn' featuring Duane Eddy which won a Grammy award in 1986. In 1998 the group temporarily reformed without Jeczalik and Langan (ie. Horn / Dudley / Morley), but with the addition of guitarist Lol Creme, formerly of 10CC. (detailed history here)
Links to Peel
Although Peel did feature Art Of Noise's debut EP 'Into Battle', albeit somewhat belatedly, his attention to the group was piqued by their cover version of Peter Gunn (with Teenage Kicks "my two favourite records of all time"), which much to his delight and surprise featured Duane Eddy himself playing guitar. Peel's enthusiasm was fuelled even more by the fact that the "great man actually speaks about two thirds of the way through", (saying "Y'all think I should do one more?") on the 12" version. He first played the track on 05 March 1986, inviting listeners to turn their radios up "punishingly loud", and re-playing Eddy's spoken voice part once more immediately after. On 18 March 1986 he played the 7" version with the original Eddy single from 1959 edited on, calling it a "Super mix, exclusive to this programme". Peel returned to playing their material in the form of remixes when electronic dance music became vogueish in the early nineties.
Group member and journalist Paul Morley wrote a tribute to Peel for the BBC website after the DJ's death in 2004. "I thought John was going to live for as long as we needed him, as long as we needed his sanity, integrity, wit, love of music and love" he wrote. Morley had previously guested on a Peel show on 12 August 1981 bemoaning the state of current music.
- 23 April 1984: Beat Box
- 02 May 1984 (BFBS): Beat Box
- Peel 1984 Bits And Pieces: Battle / Beat Box / Army Now (12" mini album) - ZTT
- 08 April 1985: Moments In Love (7"?) - ZTT
- 05 March 1986: Peter Gunn (extended version) (12") China Records
- 18 March 1986: Peter Gunn (7") China Records
- 04 January 1992: Shades Of Paranoimia (Carl Cox Mix) - China Records
- 05 January 1992: Instruments Of Darkness (All Of Us Are One People) - China Records