Artist: Add n to (x)
Title: The Black Regent/Murmur One
Format: 12" Single
Label: Satellite Records
Catalogue Number: STL003
Year of Release: 1997
Notable features: plastic insert (pictured here, against an ill-chosen backdrop of our bathroom window, the neighbours garden in the ascendant)
This is the moment when the world's ears should have pricked up. From being an experimental synth combo putting out meandering soundtrack style stuff, Add n to (x) started having fun. The opening to The Black Regent isn't very promising, with Morse code blips and reedy organ chords, but then you get hit with what this record is all about – the beat. It's like they thought to themselves "Hmmm…. maybe we should put out a record people can dance to". A glorious glamtastic bassline carries the track along, and even though this clocks in at about 6 minutes, it doesn’t outstay it's welcome like Demon Seed. This is one of those instrumental tracks that makes me want to sing along - the only other one that springs to mind right now is Spacepimp's "The Pimp" - mouth forming wow-wows along with the bass, arms like Ian Curtis (assuming no one else is watching).
In a moment of public-spiritedness, here's a picture of the back of the record, which I couldn't find anywhere else online, so consider yourselves blessed (I'm hoping someone can tell me whether that guy in the bowler really is someone from The Avengers, I couldn't be bothered checking...)
The B-side could be any old tripe and you'd forgive them because the A is so good. Murmur One is a pretty solid slab of electronica, with the usual big wall-of-synth sound. It's most notable for the switching time signatures, and a slowed down mid-section with a vocoded voice repeating questions such as, "Will I recognise the sound I want, when I have it?" & "When I find the sound I want, will I recognise it?", and other variations on those words. A bit of pitch shifting is thrown in for good measure, and it shows a humourous side to the band which was, if nothing else, brave (see later posts ad nauseum on the time quality of music).
The vinyl 12" is really for completists only, as these tracks appear in their entirety on the album "On the Wires of our Nerves".