Art of Noise - Close (To the Edit) (1984)
(Words/music: Anne Dudley/Trevor Horn/Johnathon J. Jeczalik/Gary Langan/Paul Morley, available on (Who’s Afraid Of?) The Art of Noise!, ZTT/Island 1984)
Art of Noise made plenty of jarring, engaging sound collages (including a one-off collaboration with Tom Jones on Prince’s “Kiss.” Let that sink in for a minute), and “Close (To the Edit)” ranks with their best. Their samples come from many different sources – a Volkswagon, a male vocalist repeating a single syllable, and a Yes song just to name a few. The result is something that feels startiling cohesive despite moving in different directions. The part where the synthesizer glides on top of the rest of the track in particular feels like a moment where these disparate sounds create the most unlikely harmony.
The track is only part of the story. The video is the rest of it. When I used to get VH-1 Classic, I kept an eye out specifically for this video. There isn’t too much to add to it (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it right now), except that the editing of the footage in a sort of semi-stop motion feels appropriate for a track that doesn’t try to hide its editing marks. Even after countless plays on TV and YouTube, I’m still fascinated, amused, and slightly disturbed by the video – enough that I’m going to be quiet and let it speak for itself.
(If you’re interested in reading more about the samples used, or about how the Prodigy used the “hey” vocal sample in their “Firestarter,” the Allmusic entry and Wikipedia entry are good places to start).