Thursday, 28 January 2010

I Love 1980 - 1

Well, it's slowly dawning on me that since we're in 2010, it's been 30 years since....1980. Yes, that magic year which, at least in the seventies, sounded something like 'year 2000' which it wasn't but still had something new and futuristic about it. So much was happening to me - physically, mentally and spiritually - and also around me ..and oh yes, music. A brand new sound had already emerged late 70s with Gary Numan and his new electronic-pop as well as other more timid attempts to make pop music with things called 'synthesisers' and 'drum machines' .. year 2000 was already here.

Fittingly, John Foxx's brand new almost total electronic album emerged during the first weeks of 1980, firstly with the single Underpass then full-on with the Metamatic album on the Virgin label.
Ironically I bought neither at the time (lack of funds?) although distinctly remember seeing and hearing Underpass in a record shop window and on the Kid Jensen show respectively.
Although not an overwhelming commerical success (as Numan had been months earlier) Foxx's debut solo would prove to be a benchmark reference point for electro music and musicians in years to come and the recent 2 cd deluxe edition re-issue is proof alone of its lasting power over the years.
I didn't get to hear the full album until a year later (a tape copy off a girlfriend's older brother), and weasn't really taken by Foxx and his "metal beat" music until the life-changing No-One Driving double 7" single, which I bought and played constantly during the summer of '80. I joined the fan club and got an autographed photo back ... fan for life.
I was blissfully ignorant of JG Ballard, (he didn't come into the O level syllabus) but Foxx references his work throughout, combing new minimalist sounds with a pop consciousness and intelligent lyrics. Many would try to copy the style of Metamatic although it has never been equalled, not even by Foxx himself who almost immediately turned his back on the total-electronic approach, only to return toit years later and electro became fashionable again, thanks to the legacy of Metamatic itself. Listen to it now, it could have been made yesterday.
I love Metamatic.

LP back cover: I never saw it

Metamatic on wiki

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