What started out as nothing more than borrowed bursts of other people’s sounds mixed in with a few classical touches turned into something its creators probably did not expect. Okay, maybe Paul Morley had a sense of the perfection, but other than that inner circle that was Morley, Trevor Horn, Anne Dudley, J.J. Jeczalik, and Gary Langan, no one else could have predicted the after effects of the first release on a silly-sounding label called Zang Tuum Tumb. It was an EP called Into Battle, released under the name Art Of Noise. The group consisted of a producer, his 3-piece production “theme”, and a silent musician who didn’t actually play any of their music, but was the group’s “hype machine”. He played a very important role in not only how the “group” were perceived, but how they’d like to be heard. Their music was a huge influence on what I wanted to do as a producer, and as for that manipulated perceptions in text form, I loved it.
Into Battle ended up being called “the blackest white music ever made” to “one of the most influential records of the 1980’s”, even though there were only two proper songs on there, the solid “Beat Box” and the anthemic romance of “Moments In Love”. Nonetheless, “Beat Box” would become an underground sensation without getting any mainstream airplay, to where it reached as high as #2 on a dance music chart in Seattle. As the legend goes, Kool DJ Red Alert played it on his radio show and while people had no idea what the sounds were, it would become a track that would impact what breakdancers and poppers would be doing on pieces of cardboard. Keep in mind that in 1983, rap music still sounded like its soul and disco predecessors, with little of the abrasiveness it would become known for from 1985 on. With a surprise embrace of “Beat Box” by a young hip-hop community, and how “Moments In Love” would become a surprise love jam for a generation, Art Of Noise found itself reaching places that were not expected, not bad for a group who were doing this while waiting for the guys in Yes to get their shit together. Or so the story goes.
28 years after the release of Into Battle, ZTT will be releasing a deluxe edition version of the EP with the previously unreleased album Worship, which is said to be a musical link between Into Battle and what would become 1984’s (Who’s Afraid Of) The Art Of Noise). If you picked up the Art Of Noise box set And What Have You Done With My Body God, you’ll know that the group kept a constant archive of everything they recorded, even if what was left was a few rough drafts and sketches. Now fans will be able to hear an album that never materialized to the general public.
The new deluxe edition, completely remastered from the original master tapes, has been released as a 2CD set and in time for this year’s Record Store Day, a double LP on blue vinyl. While UK and US vinyl pressings of the original 1983 can easily be found these days, this new blue vinyl pressing is sure to be quickly snatched up, so if you find it, buy it.