Exclusively for SDE, those producers, remixers, DJs and compilation curators Blank & Jones, reveal the challenges and frustrations in putting together so80s compilations and spotlight a few selections from the forthcoming so80s 10, which is released this week…
Blank & Jones:
“While we were digging in our 80s vinyl Collections some time around 2009, we were so inspired that we wanted to enjoy these 12-inch singles more regularly, possibly in the car, at a kitchen party etc. So we started looking for them on CD and were surprised that not many 80s compilations featured our beloved 12“ format. Those we found were usually pure catalogue exploitation by major record companies. This means they only compiled tracks and mixes which they controlled/owned. Therefore the track listing was often uninspired.
Suddenly we faced a huge challenge. Where to find those mastertapes? How to transfer and restore them? Where to find the master owners? The past eight years have beamed us into a complete new cosmos and we don’t want to miss one second of it. If you were with us from the beginning you will probably know all developments from our regular booklet essays. It’s a great mix of adventure and playing detective – and we love it!
So now here is number ten and it took us over a year to collect these masters. The deeper you dig into the 80s, the more difficult it is to trace the masters to certain tracks.
Here are some facts you might be interested in:
Big Man Restless (Club Mix) – Kissing The Pink
It took us more than five years to trace this master, as the song was actually planned for so8os 7. Unfortunately, neither the band nor the record label knew where the master was. Now it was finally traced in the U.S. and transferred from tape. Still, the quality could be better, but this is a good example of how quality can differ in the 1980s. It was the time where bands started to produce very cheaply, in basement studios with the new technology at hand, but not necessarily knowing how to mix it properly. It was very much ‘do it yourself’, similar to years later, with the techno movement. Of course, an experienced sound engineer who worked for example on a 12-inch mix for Phil Collins or Kate Bush was much better in avoiding too much bass in the final mix, than the upcoming kids. Plus, very often the bands advised even the experienced sound engineers to keep the sound that way, as they wanted it sound different and more dirty than the polished big productions.
What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) (Club Mix) – Information Society
Another track that stayed on our ‘want’ list for a long time. In the past years we were always informed that the track could not be cleared due to the use of a ‘Mr. Spock’ sample. We keep requesting the track and somehow were lucky this time. This 12-inch version is pure fun and sounds fantastic when mixed with the Shep Pettibone US Mix of Duran Duran’s All She Wants Is.
Love Comes Quickly (Shep Pettibone Mastermix) – Pet Shop Boys
Of course there are many Pet Shop Boys mixes that remain left aside from the expanded Further Listening discs and early CD Singles, but this song and mix is just one of our all time favourites. In the 80s we fell in love with the Bobby Orlando produced West End Girls and followed the ‘boys ever since. When they asked us to remix Home & Dry for DISCO 3 in 2002 we were the happiest producers in the world.
We met them at a German tv show and told them about our plans for a chill out album and our love for Love Comes Quickly. One thing lead to another and they gave us the original multi-track parts to that song. We created the chill out mix which was not only featured on our first RELAX album, but also later used for the limited edition of POP/ART/MIX by PSB. So when we started the so8os series we were sure to include the one or the other 12-inch from PSB on every edition. Well, wrong ; ) Very politely, the management told us that Neil & Chris didn’t wanted to be associated with the 80s too much, and therefore denied any requests for compilations carrying the name ’80s’ in their name. We very much respected the artist’s decisions and beside the first Bobby Orlando produced version of West End Girls on so8os 1, we never requested another track for the series. Until the Pet Shop Boys left Parlophone and the catalogue of EMI was split between Universal and Warner. Suddenly we saw PSB tracks and mixes popping up on various compilations, so we thought we give it another try for so8os 10. And here we go: Shep Pettibone delivering one of his finest mixes to a rather underrated tune. This had to be the opener to so8os10!
City Rhythm (Full Length Version) – Shakatak
This mix is the only 12-inch version that was never released by the group on the two double CD set. We always wondered why. This version wasn’t even included on the Japanese album release in 2008 (they used the US Mix as a bonus track). We learned after some research that Universal (former Polygram) lost the rights to the entire catalogue. They were now owned by the band again. But somehow this master tape with the 12“ version was left in the universal vaults when all Shakatak Masters were shifted. We were so happy to finally trace this tape box in Universal UK archive and transfer it for the first time for digital release.
In case you are wondering why we don’t show photos of all tape boxes which we find, we can tell you, that we ask for permission to do this for every song but don’t get permission to do so. For example New Order denied us the opportunity to show the tape box of Blue Monday. Same with Pet Shop Boys, Chris Rea and many more in the past. Again: we respect all artist decisions and never question them.
Another general bit of information, which we keep on explaining, is that we would love to feature artists like Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Eurythmics etc. with their often fabulous 12-inch mixes of the 80s, but due to artist decisions or record company politics we are not able to license these names…trust us, we would die to release the Arthur Baker mixes of Too Much Blood (Rolling Stones) or Dancing In The Dark. It’s just not possible (at this point). But we are patient people …who knows what time will bring….
We are so thankful to all the artists which keep supporting us and help us to trace masters, same with all the archivists at the major record companies who really go deep into the vaults and help us to find catalogue numbers in corners where nobody looked in for sometimes 30 years….we will keep on diggin’!”
Thanks to Piet and Jaspa for this insight. so80s 10 is out on Friday 10 June 2016.
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Blank & Jones
So80's (So Eighties) 10
CD 01 | 69:41 UNMIXED COMPILED BY BLANK & JONES
01 Love Comes Quickly (Shep Pettibone Mastermix) – Pet Shop Boys 7:37
02 Self Control (Extended Version) – Laura Branigan 5:04
03 What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) (Club Mix) – Information Society 7:54
04 Blue Monday (Original 12″ Version) – New Order 7:29
05 Love Is A Battlefield (Extended Version) – Pat Benatar 06:27
06 Jane’s Getting Serious (Full Length Version) – Jon Astley 04:24
07 Wishing Well (The Cool In The Shade Mix) – Terence Trent D’Arby 07:51
08 The Sweetest Taboo (Extended Version) – Sade 05:28
09 City Rhythm (Full Length Version) – Shakatak 07:14
10 Healing (Full Length Version) – Feltman Trommelt 04:03
11 Everywhere (12″ Version) – Fleetwood Mac 05:47
CD 02 | 75:13 UNMIXED COMPILED BY BLANK & JONES
01 This Corrosion (Long Version) – The Sisters Of Mercy 11:16
02 Boys Don’t Cry (Resung & Club Mixed Feb ’86 Extended 12″ Dance Version) – The Cure 5:32
03 Rain In The Summertime (Through The Haze Mix) – The Alarm 8:35
04 Love Is A Shield (Extended Version) – Camouflage 5:21
05 Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go (Original 12″ Version) – Soft Cell 8:54
06 Secrets (Full Length Version) – Fiat Lux 3:28
07 Paranoimia (Extended Version) – The Art Of Noise feat. Max Headroom 6:41
08 Forgotten Town (12″ Version) – The Christians 6:14
09 Is This Love (L.A. Mix) – Alison Moyet 5:25
10 The Look (Big Red Mix) – Roxette 7:35
11 Walk Like An Egyptian (Extended Dance Mix) – The Bangles 5:51
CD 03 | 68:21 UNMIXED COMPILED BY BLANK & JONES
01 The Magician (Pecky Plus Mix) – Secession 6:57
02 Would I Find Love (Extended Version) – Dizzi Heights 6:00
03 Big Man Restless (Club Mix) – Kissing The Pink 7:08
04 Masimbabele (Original 12″ Version) – The Unknown Cases 5:50
05 In Dreams (High Velocity Mix) – Pete Bardens 8:46
06 Your Heart Keeps Burning (Burning Mega Mix – The Glory Radio Drama Part 1) – Blind Date 8:00
07 I Want A New Drug (12″ Mix) – Huey Lewis & The News 05:33
08 Roam (Extended Mix) – The B-52´s 5:26
09 Soul Food To Go (Extended Version) – The Manhattan Transfer 08:11
10 Touché D’Amour (Special Extended Remix) – Chris Rea 6:11