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2023/4 Albums Thing 252 - Bill Nelson's Red Noise “Sound On Sound”

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Right then, enough of messing about with these alphabetically out of sync pieces (there are a couple more to come tho'), shall we get back to the alphabet ? Back in December we finished the M's, halfway through our  ABC's, so today we'll pick it up at N...

More music I’m sure I discovered listening to the John Peel Show. It would have been the single “Furniture Music” I heard first followed shortly by the second single from this album “Revolt Into Style”. All this would have been in early 1979, I had absolutely no clue that Bill Nelson had a history. I may have heard the name Be Bop Deluxe but knew nought of Nelson’s connection to that post-Glam/Prog-lite outfit. At that time Harvest Records, who Red Noise were signed to, to me meant The Saints, The Roxy Live abum and Wire and not their uber Prog past. As far as I was concerned Bill Nelson’s Red Noise were a new New Wave band making bloody good singles.

But this was a band in name only. After losing creative control of Be Bop Deluxe, Nelson paid the members of his new band as session musicians, he was definitely in charge here. As an example, the drummer on half of this “New Wave” album is Fairport Convention’s Dave Mattacks ! Fans of Be Bop Deluxe hated it, prospective fans of the New Wave who knew who Nelson was avoided it due to his past with Be Bop Deluxe, his record company Harvest were asking themselves “What's wrong with Bill? Why's he doing all this crazy music?”. I guess it was those, like me, who knew nothing of his past that just heard the music and got it. 

I ate up the two singles and the live B-sides of “Revolt Into Style”. I didn’t get a copy of the album until around 10 years ago but still think it’s a great record that sounds like all sorts of other stuff that was emerging in 1979, put it on a list with the likes of Ultravox! and Tubeway Army, rock bands making futuristic music with heavy use of synthesizers. As a result of liking this I even bought a Be Bop Deluxe album (“Drastic Plastic” which Nelson had envisioned as the first Red Noise album but was talked out of it by his management) and a Bill Nelson solo album (“Quit Dreaming And Get On the Beam” which he’d started to write as the follow up to this one) so I got something of an education out of it too. If you’re unaware of Red Noise but are a fan of that NewWave/Post Punk sound then click the link here and tell me you wouldn’t have fallen for this too, ignorance was bliss.

Furniture Music - https://youtu.be/gm3OgLHALAU?si=_ab6FBESm7NuC4gH

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