The Art of Noise: In No Sense? Nonsense! (1987)

Funky beats, strange effects, manipulated dialogue, all of it twisted into technotaffy. If Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” sent you to the moon, then Art of Noise will take you to the stars. This, their fourth studio album, is chocked full of ideas, featuring everything from yodeling to orchestra to someone snorting mucus through their sinus cavity. If that sounds like your kind of bag of tricks, then dive right into this nonsense. Me, I’m a little intimidated by sixteen different courses prepared in so many different kitchens. In fact, I have trouble telling where one song begins and another ends, making In No Sense? a messy tone poem of mosaics. Sometimes it seems that heavy things are afoot; spoken dialogue drifts in and out and you wonder if AoN is trying to make some big statement, or just hoping that a series of little statements will equal something bigger. In a sense, Anne Dudley and J.J. Jeczalik micromanage the musical process, redefining the building blocks of music without a vision of what they’d like to build. I have the same reaction to avant-garde pop art where someone takes familiar objects (a urinal, a doll house) and casts them in an unfamiliar (and often uncomfortable) setting. Oh yeah, I think, that’s a urinal with a revolver where the flush handle should be. And then I move through the exhibit, pause for a moment to reflect on the author’s intent, process it, and so on down the line. In No Sense? Nonsense! is a musical exhibit, not a bad way to kill forty minutes and feed your secret elitist tendencies, but stepping back out into the light I was no wiser than when I entered. Of minor-minor-oh-so-tiny-I-can’t-see-you interest, the cassette version features the full sixteen tracks on both sides, which provides for better continuity.

The Songs
1. Galleons of Stone
2. Dragnet
3. Fin Du Temps
4. How Rapid?
5. Opus For Four
6. Debut
7. E.F.L.
8. A Day At The Races
9. Ode To Don Jose
10. Counterpoint
11. Roundabout 727
12. Ransom On The Sand
13. Roller 1
14. Nothing was Going To Stop Them Then, Anyway
15. Crusoe
16. One Earth

All songs written and arranged by Anne Dudley & J.J. Jeczalik.

The Players
Anne Dudley, J.J. Jeczalik with Robert Ahwai (guitar), Dave Bronze (bass), Ely Cathedral Choir (choir), Tony Fisher (trumpet), John Giorgiadis (orchestra leader), Maurice Murphy (trumpet), Frank Ricotti (percussion), Paul Robinson (drums), Peter Rowan (voice on 16), Colin Sheen (trombone, orchestra contractor), James Talbot (saxophone), George Webley (bass), Dr. Arthur Wills (choir director). Produced by an Art of Noise; engineered by Stuart Breed, Barry Clempson, Roger Dudley, Ted Hayton, Bob Kraushaar, Richard Lewzy; mixed by Roger Dudley, Ted Hayton, John (Jon) Jacobs, Bob Kraushaar.

The Pictures
Sleeve photography by Alan David-Tu. Design typographics by Roland Williams. Art direction by John Pasche.

The Plastic
Released on elpee, cassette and compact disc in 1987 in the UK (China, WOL/ZWOL 4), the US (Chrysalis, OV/OVT/VK 41570), Canada (Chrysalis, CHS/CHSC 41570), Germany (Charyslis, 208 614) and Japan (China, RP28-5510); reached #134 on the US charts. Also released on compact disc and cassette in 1988 in Germany (China, 835807).

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