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Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs present The Tears of Technology

Various artists collection of early ’80s synthpop

Saint Etienne‘s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs have compiled a new various artists compilation, The Tears Of Technology, that celebrates a period in the early 1980s when “scruffy synth duos from the provinces broke through and took over British pop.”

The collection blends some big names (Simple Minds, The Human League, OMD) with plenty of obscurities (Turquoise Days, Electronic Circus and Illustration) and some pioneers (John Foxx, Thomas Leer).

The 20-track collection is actually 21 tracks on the 2LP vinyl version, which includes a bonus offering: ‘The Winds’ by The Turquoise Swimming Pools.

The standard vinyl is black, but Rough Trade in the UK are offering an exclusive 2LP white vinyl version limited to just 300 copies.

Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs present The Tears of Technology is released on 28 February 2020 via Ace Records.

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Various Artists

Tears of Technology - 2LP vinyl

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Various Artists

Tears of Technology - CD edition

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1. Jean Walks in Fresh Fields – China Crisis
2. Grey Skies – Torquoise Days
3. Real to Real – Simple Minds
4. Tidal Flow – Illustration
5. An Evening in the Ray – Care
6. Youth – Soft Cell
7. Europe After the Rain – John Foxx
8. Personal Loss – Patrik Fitzgerald
9. Lights in April – Eyeless in Gaza
10. Sealand – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
11. Private Plane – Thomas Leer
12. Direct Lines – The Electronic Circus
13. Unless – The Pale Fountains
14. October (Love Song) – Chris & Cosey
15. A Map of You – New Musik
16. WXJL Tonight – The Human League
17. Christiana – Paul Haig
18. Tiny Children – The Teardrop Explodes
19. Behind the Shades – Oppenheimer Analysis
20. Feather Bed – Trevor Bastow
21. The Winds – The Turquoise Swimming Pools*

*Vinyl-only bonus track

25 responses to Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs present The Tears of Technology

  1. beynali says:

    Another interesting compilation from these two esoteric pop obsessives. I find their compilations to be eclectic to say the least and while some of the comps they put out don’t appeal to me at all it’s reassuring to know somebody is trawling the darker less celebrated corners of pops interesting history to save them from complete obscurity.

  2. Metal Mickey says:

    A very nice off-the-beaten-track (mostly) downtempo electronic compilation, shame they couldn’t make it a double CD…

    The Illustration track is from the original Some Bizzare Album, which I’m sure was the gateway electronic album for plenty of us back in 1981, happy days…

  3. Shane says:

    I wish I could buy it to support Rough Trade but they are charging more for postage than the cd (!) so amazon it is. Thanks for posting Paul

  4. Norn Cutson says:

    This sounds WONDERFUL!
    Bob & Pete’s compilations have sent me in all kinds of fantastic directions in life I’d never have gone w/o their creative influence!

    • Deanery says:

      Direct Lines by Electronic Circus??!!!…..Grey Skies by Torquise Days ….Pale Fountains and China Crisis…so glad this is on cd…..hoping for good sound here…..reads like a really good mixed tape…..remember those? The first two happened to be YouTube discoveries for me….this cd is AMAZING…..COOL COVER…..so tired of seeing this type of compilation with the same Overplayed/Hits by said artists. I am excited.

    • Paul says:

      Certainly worth pointing out for anyone that might not realise – this is the latest in a long line of Ace records compilations by Bob & Pete mostly available on both CD & LP
      https://acerecords.co.uk/various-artists-saint-etienne

      They all seem to be well received although I’ve yet to venture in.

      I can recommend the Jon Savage compilations on Ace though – they tend to be CD only which suits me but may not suit others.

  5. Jeremy says:

    Bob Stanley also curated the recently re-issued ‘Tea and Symphony: the English Baroque Sound 1968-1974’. It would be nice to see this posted.

  6. Arnd says:

    Paul, does your WordPress block any comments with links inside?

  7. The Winds is a beautiful track by Balfe/Tate of The Teardrop Explodes. Originally on the ‘To The Shores of Lake Placid’ Zoo Records compilation back in 1982.

  8. Lorne says:

    all but the last two tracks are available on Spotify, if you want to hear how the album flows.

  9. richard says:

    This looks interesting !

    I only know a few tracks so I’m going to jump head in head first and purchase.

    Thanks for the article.

  10. Albert says:

    Pale Fountains? I understand “Unless” has some synth on it but Pacific Street was a 99,99% analogic/acustic album and PF had nothing to do with the electronic scene of the 80s.

    • Tom Walsh says:

      I agree about The Pale Fountains. I love them but it is ridiculous to put them on here.

    • John Murray says:

      As Albert correctly notes, Patrik Fitzgerald was known as a ‘punk’ poet/singer, often just using an acoustic guitar. His inclusion on this particular compilation baffles me….

      • mark turrell says:

        That’s how he started but he moved into a darker more gothic cabaret sound in the early 80’s. Personal loss is from a Red Flame album from 1982, that’s mainly synthy. Should fit in perfectly with other material.

  11. Richard N says:

    Interesting release. Pity, again, about the “vinyl exclusive” for collectors of pre-80s technology.

    • mark turrell says:

      I wouldn’t worry about it. Most of the Zoo master tapes are long gone so it will probably be a vinyl rip. That’ll show ’em!

  12. Jakob says:

    Nice that there’s not any overlap with Cherry Red’s 4CD Electrical Language set.

  13. Philce3k says:

    Great cover. Looks like the end credits to Joe 90 :-)

  14. torchomatic says:

    Great little compilation that. Nice to see they have included the criminally ignored Paul Haig on there.

  15. SYSEX says:

    MIDI sequencing was rocket science in the early days, and expensive.
    I still struggle with MIDI today!

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