Song of the Day, July 6: Moments In Love by Art of Noise

AoNWhosMomentsToday’s song is a wordless ballad from an experimental group. Arranger Anne Dudley, programmer J.J. Jeczalik, and engineer Gary Langan came together as part of experimental producer Trevor Horn’s production team. They were intrigued by the potential of the Fairlight CMI sampler, and began collaborating on sound collages and short songs based on found elements. Horn and company achieved significant success working on other people’s music — notably hits by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and ABC and Yes’ surprise #1 smash Owner of A Lonely Heart.

Journalist Paul Morley joined the party, and the collective dubbed themselves Art of Noise. They released an EP on Horn’s ZTT label, then began building their first LP. (Who’s Afraid of?) The Art of Noise is a fascinating mix of samples, beats, sounds, and arrangements. That the curious blend comes together so well is a testament to the core trio’s talents (by now Morley had moved on). While the heavy sampling and dance rhythms dominate the disc, the standout is its longest track, the ten minute Moments In Love.

Lush and engaging, its a weird but beautiful journey through the feelings of love. Dudley’s presence is felt particularly, presaging her eventual success scoring films. Over the years AoN would split with Horn, release a trio of charming, oddball minor hits in surprising collaborations (Peter Gunn with Duane Eddy [#50, 1986], Paranoimia with Max Headroom [#34, 1986], a brilliant cover of Prince’s Kiss featuring Tom Jones [#31, 1989]), and eventually dissolve with occasional half-hearted reunions. All of the work is fascinating, but nothing captures the joyful, quirky burst of enthusiastic experimentation on the first album — and nothing on that album is more oddly perfect than Moments In Love.

Enjoy this strangely moving mini-epic today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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