Art of Noise
Box, Set, Go!
Of all the groups who leap to mind when you think of electronic music, the Art Of Noise are possibly the most sampled, certainly the most oblique and definitely boast some of the genres
most devoted fans. All of which led to ZTT Records releasing And What Have You Done With My Body, God? this month. A four-CD box set of collectors heaven, taking in forty one never-before-heard tracks, experiments,
demos, studio banter and remixes. Connecting it all up is a 36-page book telling the history of the band through the members’ own reminisces in DVD-style ‘director’s commentaries’.
One of the people behind the box set, and responsible for wading through days-worth of tapes and tracking down the main players - Anne Dudley, J.J. Jeczalik, Gary Langan, Paul Morley and Trevor Horn - was journalist Ian Peel. He describes the making of this box set as “a massive team effort” and was interviewed exclusively for TotalMusic-Online by (who better?) the band’s afore-mentioned devoted fans
Did you encounter any of the famous animosity previously displayed when you interviewed the five main AON players for the box set’s book?
I think there’s been enough time passed and water under the bridge for everyone to realise not only what great music they made together, but also how Art Of Noise V 1.0 really was the product of all five people involved.
Any audio/photo's from these interviews, and did you get them all together?
I met them all separately, although arranging it all felt like putting together an episode of Bands Reunited! No photos (TM-Online managed to dig out a 1998 version of the famously camera shy band, minus J.J. Jeczalik and Gary Langan but including short lived member Lol Crème see below), but all the interviews were recorded and were all pretty long. The Anne and Gary sessions must have been at least two hours. These may well appear online in the future as a podcast.
Have we now heard all the material from this period that's ever likely to released?
I think so. Is forty one unreleased tracks not enough?! There’s probably a handful of good, useable takes left in reserve which may or may not be used as downloads or something in the future.
Were the track titles actually on the tape reels, or created specifically for this release. And if so by whom?
Almost all of the track names were on the reels. For ones that were incorrectly named or unnamed, Paul Morley stepped in and Paul also
named the box as a whole. It went through a few names. The working title was Ars Nova, which was from Paul’s very first press advert for 'Beat Box', but a few people
wondered whether we could really have a box with “Arse” in the title. At one point I suggested The Raiding Of The 20th Century (a theme from the original Art Of Noise
recordings) but Paul was pretty adamant that Raiding… was now a finished product, i.e. DJ Food’s seminal history of the mash-up that was released last year. So he suggested
And What Have You Done With My Body, God? which was one of the original names for one of the takes included. When it was far too late, I spotted another possible
title, hand-written across a master tape, “W O R S H I P”… Anyway, Paul’s wording and Anne Dudley’s involvement in making a few new edits gives the thing a really fresh feel, I think.
Did it take much persuading for Anne Dudley to enter the studio?
Not at all - it was her suggestion! We were choosing edits from about one hour's worth of 'Close (to the Edit)' outtakes (or rather fragments), and it was her idea to turn them into something more listenable...
Is there a possibility that Gary, JJ and Anne might do a similar box set with the Duanne Eddy/Peter Gunn/Paranoimia-era China Records material?
Very much so. Although that project is at the very, very start of something that could take ages and - like anything of course - maybe not ever happen at all. But most people concerned think it would be a great idea…
What are the official titles of the three 'hidden' tracks?
The thing about hidden tracks is they don't have names… There are two unnamed tracks on ZTT’s Andrew Poppy box set as well (read more about Andrew here). One is 45 seconds long, the other is 32 seconds. They don’t have titles either.
Questions from JD in Bolton, Bob in London, Simon Daw, ZangTuumTumbraider in Liverpool, and the Blue Board forum at The Art of Noise box set is available now from ZTT Records at