februari 23, 2014

New Musik - From A To B (1980)

“From A to B” is the debut album from New Musik released on April 18, 1980, and is one of the best and most influential electronic LPs of the '80s. Tony Mansfield may now be best known as a producer, but in the early 80's he was the driving force behind New Musik.

Its keyboards may sound dated, but there's a freshness to these charming, unpretentious songs that hasn't been spoiled by technological advances in computerized instrumentation. Many new wave revivalists have attempted to capture the nerdy vocals and quirky synthesized bleeps of “From A to B” and failed.

This record is a product of its time, recorded when keyboards were viewed as eventually replacing guitar and bass as rock & roll tools. While many synth pop groups became mired in existential woe to show that they had emotions underneath the layers of Casio hiccups, New Musik is having a blast on “From A to B”. "With robot precision/We're gonna be doin' just fine," sings Tony Mansfield (guitars, keyboards, vocals) with geek sincerity on the exhilarating "Straight Lines." Like Kraftwerk, New Musik uses keyboards to create moods and not just to make feet move.

However, From A to B is more accessible than any Kraftwerk album.
The songs he created for the group still stand today as some of the best synth pop from the era and the lyrics to biggest hit 'Living By Numbers' have never been so relevant as they are today. It's no exaggeration either to say that Mansfield's distinctive production sound is still every bit as recogniseable as a Motown record.
'World Of Water' an irresistably catchy song with distorted vocal gimmickry in the chorus. 'Sanctuary' still remains one of my top twenty singles of all time, 'I'm looking at you, you look at me, we look for another sanctuary' (singing) remember it now? With Tony's distictive strumming guitar and drum machine sound all the tracks on this album are great with the exception of 'Dead Fish (Don't Swim Home)' which was not one of Tony's most inspired moments. The tracks on the LP are structured like traditional pop songs with catchy choruses.

There are no love ditties, but tracks like the soaring "On Islands" generate warmth and the group often utilizes acoustic strumming to prevent everything from seeming too mechanical. "Science" is nerdy sci-fi dance music years before Thomas Dolby.

Side one
A1.  Straight Lines  (5:12)
A2.  Sanctuary  (4:12)
A3.  A Map Of You  (3:50)
A4.  Science  (3:20)
A5.  On Islands  (4:24)

Side two
B1.  This World Of Water  (3:37)
B2.  Living By Numbers  (3:28)
B3.  Dead Fish (Don't Swim Home)  (5:24)
B4.  Adventures  (3:52)
B5.  The Safe Side  (3:09)

Tony Mansfield - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Written-by
Tony Hibbert - Bass
Phil Towner - Drums, Percussion  
Clive Gates - Keyboards 
Artwork By [Sleeve Design] – Jan Leary
Artwork By [Sleeve Design], Photography – Andrew Douglas
Engineer – Andy Gierus, Rick Norton
Engineer [Chief] – Peter Hammond
Mastered By – Denis Blackham
Producer, Written-By – Tony Mansfield
Genre - Electronic, Synth-pop

Recorded at TMC Studios
Mastered at Tape One
© 1980 (P) GTO Records LTD

available at:  www.ad-vinylrecords.com

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