The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ultravox / John Foxx

ULTRAVOX / John Foxx

Ultravox (with John Foxx)

DANGEROUS RHYTHM / MY SEX ISLAND UK WIP 6375 7"

1977 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

HA HA HA ISLAND UK ILPS 9505 LP

1977 8 TRKS 2nd; UK original issue, insert

HA HA HA kami UNIVERSAL JPN UICY-93074 CD

1977 14 TRKS (6 x bonus tracks) ('06 issue) kami (pictured)

LIVE RETRO (EP) ISLAND UK IEP 8 7"

1978 4 TRK EP; with pic sleeve

PEEL SESSIONS, THE STRANGE FR UK DEI 8309.2 CD5

1987 3 TRK CD Single CD5 (70's recordings)

PREVIOUS MOTION (Live '77) pirate VOX FOXX 77 LP

1988? 13 TRKS Pirate, red vinyl

QUIET MEN ISLAND UK 12WIP 6459 12"

1978 2 TRKS with pic sleeve, white vinyl

QUIET MEN ISLAND UK WIP 6459 7"

1978 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

QUIET MEN (7" x 2) ISLAND UK DWIP 6691 7"

1980 4 TRK EP; with pic sleeve, re-issue, 7"x2

ROCKWROK / HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR ISLAND DE 11 665 AT 7"

1977 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

ROCKWROK / HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR ISLAND UK WIP 6404 7"

1977 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

SLOW MOTION / DISLOCATION ISLAND UK 12WIP 6454 12"

1978 2 TRKS with pic sleeve, clear vinyl

SLOW MOTION / DISLOCATION ISLAND UK WIP 6454 7"

1978 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

SLOW MOTION SEVENTY-EIGHT pirate ELEMENT OF ELEMENTS 020 CD

1978 15 TRKS LIVE '78, pirate

SYSTEMS OF ROMANCE ISLAND UK IMCD 148 CD

1978 10 TRKS 3rd

SYSTEMS OF ROMANCE ISLAND DE 26 453 XOT LP

1978 10 TRKS 3rd

THREE INTO ONE ISLAND UK ILPS 9614 LP

1980? 10 TRK Collection

ULTRAVOX ISLAND UK IMCD 146 CD

1977 9 TRKS 1st; prod. by Brian Eno

ULTRAVOX ISLAND JPN ILS-80912 LP

1977 9 TRKS 1st; insert

ULTRAVOX MINI LP ISLAND AUS L 20003 12"

1981 6 TRK EP; with pic sleeve

YOUNG SAVAGE / SLIPAWAY (Live) ISLAND UK WIP 6392 7"

1977 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

And the re-issue of the Tiger Lily 45:

MONKEY JIVE / AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' DEAD GO UK DEAD 11 7"

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve, re-issue

John Foxx, solo artist

BURNING CAR VIRGIN JPN VIP-5903 12"

1980 6 TRK EP; picture labels, insert

BURNING CAR / 20TH CENTURY VIRGIN UK VS 360 7"

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

BURNING CAR / 20TH CENTURY pic disc VIRGIN UK VSY 360 7"

1980 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, pic disc

DANCING LIKE A GUN / SWIMMER I + II VIRGIN UK VS 459-12 12"

1981 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

ENDLESSLY / A KIND OF WAVE VIRGIN UK VS 543-12 12"

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

ENDLESSLY / DANCE WITH ME VIRGIN JPN VIPX-1722 7"

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

ENDLESSLY / YOUNG MAN VIRGIN UK VS 513 7"

1982 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

ENDLESSLY / YOUNG MAN pic disc VIRGIN UK VSY 513 7"

1982 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, pic disc

EUROPE AFTER THE RAIN VIRGIN UK VS 393-12 12"

1981 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

EUROPE AFTER THE RAIN / PATER NOSTER VIRGIN JPN VIPX-1618 7"

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

EUROPE AFTER THE RAIN / THIS JUNGLE VIRGIN NL 103.624 7"

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

EUROPE AFTER THE RAIN / THIS JUNGLE VIRGIN UK VS 393 7"

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

GARDEN, THE VIRGIN UK CDV 2194 CD

1981 16 TRKS 6 x bonus tracks

GARDEN, THE VIRGIN UK V 2194 LP

1981 10 TRKS 2nd album, large booklet

GOLDEN SECTION, THE VIRGIN UK V 2233 LP

1983 10 TRKS 3rd album

IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS VIRGIN UK CDV 2355 CD

1985 10 TRKS 4th album

IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS VIRGIN UK V 2355 LP

1985 10 TRKS 4th album

JOHN FOXX VIRGIN CAN META 1101 LP

1981 10 TRK Collection

LIKE A MIRACLE VIRGIN UK VS 645-12 12"

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

LIKE A MIRACLE / WINGS AND A WIND VIRGIN UK VS 645 7"

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

METAMATIC VIRGIN UK CDV 2146 CD

1980 16 TRKS 6 x bonus tracks

METAMATIC VIRGIN UK V 2146 LP

1980 10 TRKS 1st album, Ultravox

MILES AWAY / A LONG TIME VIRGIN UK VS 382 7"

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

MY FACE (Flexidisc) SMASH HITS 198082 7"

1980 1 TRK flexi-disc

NO-ONE DRIVING (7" x 2) VIRGIN UK VS 338 7"

1980 4 TRK EP; with pic sleeve, 7"x2

STARS ON FIRE (7" x 2) VIRGIN UK VS 771 7"

1985 4 TRK EP; with pic sleeve, 7"x2

UNDERPASS / FILM 1 VIRGIN UK VS 318 7"

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

YOUR DRESS VIRGIN UK VS 615-12 12"

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

YOUR DRESS (7" x 2) VIRGIN UK VS 615 7"

1983 4 TRK EP; with pic sleeve, 7"x2

I got to see Ultravox with John Foxx about six times – I just followed them wherever they played in Southern California, end of ‘78. I was 20 years old, fully employed, busy chasing girls etc. It was the perfect soundtrack for my young adulthood. I am ashamed to admit, but I got interested in them because I finally tried them when the “Slow Motion” 12” single arrived from England in ‘clear vinyl’. True, I was working in a record store when the debut album came out, but it didn’t catch my ear. In fact, I didn’t even try “Ha Ha Ha” when it came out. So, I cam in at the last possible moment, before John Foxx left the band to a seemingly lucrative solo career.

“Metamatic” is a wonderful “I want to be a machine”-type album – almost entirely synthesizers, Foxx’s ‘machine-sterile’ delivery suited the machine music perfectly. When I saw Ultravox, they were already playing “Touch & Go” – but had to wait a few years before the song surfaced on vinyl – on “Metamatic”. Interesting, there was a cancelled debut solo single (“Young Love”?) that did not surface until the debut CD issue of “Metamatic”, in the 90’s.

I did my best to keep up with Mr. Foxx’s solo career – but it got away from me. I always thought he should’ve done a whole album in the style of “Miles Away” (and it’s B-Side “A Long While”) – with that band.

I did see the post-Foxx Ultravox at The Whisky – with two bass players on stage. The show is a good memory, but I really never went for any of the Chrysalis-era releases. I got about as far as “All Stood Still”…in the Midge Ure version of the band.

Strangely, I now listen to Midge Ure’s pre-Ultravox group, Slik. It’s that UK 70’s glam rock thing, y’know.

I believe there was a long break after about ’85 or so in Foxx’s solo career. When he began issuing music again – I had moved on. Anybody know if any of his post-80’s material is any good? Or is it all David Sylvian-style ‘sleepy bye music’?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Foxx

Finally a posting where I have an even larger collection of that artist than you!

Well, if "Slow Motion" wouldn't make you a fan, then game over dude! Nothing to see here. Move along!

As an Orlando philistine, I only ever heard Ultravox during their Chrysalis phase when I chanced to see the [phenomenal for its time] "Passing Strangers" video. Nevertheless, I hunted down the "Vienna" album and it quickly became my fav-o-rama. Even thought the lyrics are a pale parody of Foxxs' work woth the band [they didn't have many thoughts in their pretty little heads] they still had *-ing hot chops! "Vienna" was electronik ROCK and I was ready for it - and how. Fortunately, one of my next Ultravox purchases was the Island cash-in "Slow Motion" 2x7" and then I got to hear "Slow Motion" albeit 3 years after it was originally released. I quickly moved on "Ultravox!" and "Ha! Ha! Ha!" and got the awesome "Systems Of Romance" 4th. It became one of my favorite albums of all time. As a callow youngster, I still liked the current Midge Ure-led Ultravox lineup but by the time it was all over [basically, 1985 when Midge put out a solo album] I thought a lot less of them.

Ron - he DID do 2 abums with the "Miles Away" band, Shake Shake [a.k.a. Duncan Bridgeman & Jo Dworniak]. They were the backing band on "The Garden" [1981] and "The Golden Section" [1983]. "The Garden" revisits the rock of "Systems Of Romance" and "The Golden Section" is his stab at Beatles-influenced electro-psychedelia, lushly produced by Birth Control's Zeus B. Held. Admittedly, the thinner sound of the "Miles Away" single is not in evidence on these albums. But I agree "Miles Away" is a superb single! Every time I hear it I am gladdened.

His post '97 comeback career is split into active and ambient. His recordings with Louis Gordon are all in your face elektrorok. His material under his own name is ambient stuff. The 3 volumes of Cathedral Oceans are abstract choral arrangements over heavily echoed ambient beds. Cathedral Oceans III is like excellent film music - not as "ecclesiastic" as the earlier Cath Oceans stuff. Here's a rundown:

with Louis Gordon:
Shifting City - The most welcome album of the 90s for me. It ended over a decade of no new John Foxx recordings in a spectacular way. He was back to his electronic roots with an occasional side trip into psychedelia. This one largely explores the vocabulary of "Metamatic" with techno drones employed to elaborate his usual themes. "Shifting City" is his nod to the Beatles and psychedelia, as exemplified by "Revolver." "Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible" is a relentless techno mantra of those 3 words. "Crash" returns to J.G. Ballard with a delightful music bed that builds in complexity over the course of the long tune. Quirky and intense with a hint of fun. Welcome back!

Golden Section Tour / The Omnidelic Exotour - 2xCD live set with disc one covering his only solo tour in 1983. Hits some calssic Ultravox material in addition to more muscular renditions of tracks from "The Garden" and "The Golden Section." No "Metamatic" cuts are played.
Disc 2 is a long live at rehersal studio set [no audience] from 1998 of he and Louis Gordon performing tracks from "Shifting City" along with some excellent new arrangements of "Metamatic" cuts and a trio of "Systems Of Romance" cuts and "Hiroshima Mon Amour." The long live version of "Shifting City" has a very impressive extended coda that will make you hate the album version.

The Pleasures Of Electricity - Foxx's most Kraftwerk Influenced recording. "Camera" is Kraftwerk performing a madrigal! Unbelievable electropop! "Night Life" is a tracks that kraftwerk apparently forgot to issue on "Man Machine" - you could easily slot this in the mix there with no one batting an eyelash. "Automobile" and "The Falling Room" are entries into darker techno that Kraftwerk hinted at [at least thematically] in "Hall Of Mirrors"

Drive EP - Four tracks from "Crash & Burn" [2 songs in LP/edit form] along with 3 non-LP cuts of unbelievable quality! "Underwater Dreamsex," "Making Movies" and "Your Shadow" are so phenomenal you really have to wonder why they were left out of the running order of the "Crash & Burn" album. I would venture the long running times of the cuts [7-10 minutes each] made them the odd men out but thankfully, they flesh out this fantastic EP.

"Crash & Burn" - Foxx gets really in your face on this one! "Drive" is Foxx in his "Tubeway Army" phase! The music is direct and bracing. The lyrics are somewhat confrontational but with his usual poeticism underpinning things. The music is fat with hooks that really harken back to the earliest Ultravox! period - albeit completely electronic in nature. "Ultraviolet/Infrared" and especially "Ray 1/Ray2" show a playful side of Foxx that is new. The latter could have been a radical electroclash take on an obscure late 50s rockabilly number for all we knew! The intense title cut examines someone with a bad drug habit.

Live From A Room/Big As A City - Another "live" disc from the 2003 tour. Sequencing places 60% of "Metamatic" fat in the middle - this time in arrangements close to the originals. I'd prefer to hear more from the current "Crash & Burn" album, but the closing, magnificent "My Sex" is enough to justify the purchase of this disc alone! It is magnificence to blow your *-ing mind!!!!

From Trash - "Your Kisses Burn" also turned up on the Nation 12 album but the arrangement here is far less beat-oriented. "A Million Cars" is a gloriously upbeat number. "One Who Walks Through You" certainly sounds familiar, eh? Looking at the equation from a different angle.

Sideways - Junk culture/sci-fi themed tracks from the "From Trash" sessions. I don't have this yet. Foxx has released 7 discs in the last 9 months and it's hard to keep up.

Without Luis Gordon:
Modern Art - A great "best of' which supercedes the OOP "Assembly" from the 90s. Lots of rare cuts never before on CD like the single mix of "He's A Liquid" which we'd previously heard only on the video. And the origiinal 1982 version of "Endlessly."

Cathedral Oceans - Foxx' first ambient album recorded in the early 80s with heavy exploration of echospace that is clearly unnatural combined with abstract choral singing. Foxx aims for the feel of church music without the troubling "content."

Cathedral Oceans II - I still don't have this one.

Translucence/Drift Music - 2xCD with Harold Budd. Definite ambience but not the awkward piano/electrofest one would anticipate. Foxx recorded Budds piano playing and manipulated it electronically. There is no overt synth playing on the albums. More of a Budd thang - but I'm okay with that!

Cathedral Oceans III - A big departure from the first volume with material presumably recorded in a more contemporary setting. The music is vastly different from volume 1. This is more cinematic sounding material that is for active listening. Indeed, much of it sounds like a good soundtrack.

Nation 12: Electrofear - This was a collaboration with Tim Simenon and Kurt & Simon Rogers. This was recorded during the late 80s with an attempted house electro vibe blended with Foxxs' own electro-psychedelia. Two singles [the excellent "Remember" and the lame "Electrofear"] were reelased back in the day but the album tapes were assumed lost until a fan brought forth a lo-gen dub of the album for release. Some fascinating avenues are explored in territory that would be very trendy by the early 90s. Some cuts later appeared in new forms on subsequent Foxx releases. The version of "Concrete/Bulletproof/Invisible" here is as radically diffecent as a song with only three words can be! Several tracks feature full Foxx vocals making this an obscure but intriguing side track. Apparently, not many cpoies of this exist.

Tiny Colour Movies - Foxx's "new" solo album of instrumentals to accompany "found films" of eccentric hypothetical super 8 collectors. This was said to be in the vein of the "Metamatic" instrumental b-sides but I find the material a bit too close to the Cathedral Oceans sound for effective branding on its own.

That's a lot of releases, especially when you consider that 50% of them came out since 2005!

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Foxx

I forgot there is another obscure 2xCD that came out in the last 6 months:

The Hidden Man - 2 discs full of interviews, readings from Foxx of his unpubliahed nove; "The Quiet Man" that served as the artistic manifesto he's based almost all of his lyrics from 1978 onward on, as well as unreleased music material. A weird one and definitely limited edition. No, I don't have it yet!

9:28 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Jim-san,

Congratulations on having the longest comments in the history of my blog(s). feel like making me a “Best of” post-’85 Foxx CDr?

- Ron

11:47 AM  
Blogger chas_m said...

Jim said far more than I could have said and (as usual) more eloquently.

Basically Foxx has had his elektrorok cake and ambient-eaten it too!

I wish he and Bowie would work together -- Bowie needs Foxx's discipline and elektro-beats, Foxx needs Bowie's marketing smarts and ability to draw attention to obscure angles.

10:14 PM  

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