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    I know what 7jlong means, even though I got into the 70's version first I think IC and ABIAC sometimes get a raw deal. I think this can subconsciously plant megative thoughts about things - I played IC yesterday and thought "this is sounding really good" / "better than I expected" before I thought, of course, it's really good! I've always liked it, but I think other people had subconsciously convinced otherwise if that makes sense!!
    "A live collection from the 80s would indeed be fantastic."

    I agree. Ahead live is a fantastic track. Hopefully, an '80s collection will form part of the bootlegs series.
    Colin's comments on the 80's output and production made me
    think about the 2007 remaster of Killing Joke's "Brighter Than
    A Thousand Suns" with the Chris Kimsey mixes restored. It'd
    be great to have that type of opportunity and do something like
    that to "Manscape" - but not so much as a replacement as much
    as an alternative to the 80's / early 90's canon.
    It would actually be very interesting to hear a revisited version of Manscape, if only because I wonder how Wire themselves would take a new approach to that album. As Colin has pointed out, the songs really aren't bad at all, merely unenthusiastically recorded and produced with little real ingenuity. I really wonder this: Had the album's recording been approached in the manner of, say, The First Letter or A Bell Is A Cup..., even IBTABA, would Manscape be anywhere as reviled as it is?

    Regardless of the various production issues I have, I really do think that The Ideal Copy and A Bell Is A Cup... are both wonderful albums, with nary a weak song on either (despite what some seem to think of "Follow the Locust").

    A live collection either culled from or of complete '80s performances would be truly awesome, especially if one or two rarities were included in the mix.

    Speaking of which, there is a song I do not recognise on a recording of an '87 performance which is listed on an accompanying setlist as "Plague Dancers". What is it?
    I have to say I think 'Manscape' is a better album than a lot of people give it credit for.

    In hindsight it does a have a unique sound and a consistent vibe throughout (in the same way that 'A Bell' has a 'sound').

    It also sounds a lot better to me these days than 'The First Letter' (hate to say it but the single mix of 'slow' is *far* superior to the album mix).

    But then I'm also a big fan of 'Follow the Locust' :)
    "(hate to say it but the single mix of 'slow' is *far* superior to the album mix)."

    It's not even a contest. The album version is ok I guess, but the single is a glorious thing, one of my fave Wire related tracks in fact.
    Despite common wisdom, I somewhat prefer the album mix. In spite of the weak beat, the build-up of parts at the beginning is simply excellent. Plus, there is just a little too much of a mainstream techno scent to the single version for me to fully appreciate it, mostly in the added synth parts, although the throbbing bass is surprisingly quite nice.

    The First Letter is great. Simultaneously stimulates the parts of my Wire/related cortex that crave "Ambitious" and "Ritual View", but with more Newman. Even better: It has "Ticking Mouth".
    My personal preference is for The First Letter over Manscape, partially because I don't really notice its length when listening (unlike Manscape), but mostly because its more subdued.
    Anothr quick point on The First Letter: listening to it for the first time in a while yesterday, I was amazed at how much like Read & Burn/Send era Wire Take It (For Greedy) sounded like. Could easily be from 2001 rather than 1991. Pretty amazing.
    It is surprising, isn't it? I'd say the same of "A Bargain At 3 And 20 Yeah!", which also happens to be one of my favourites. "Take It (For Greedy)" definitely has "it", though.

    I've noticed that from The First Letter on through to the present, the relationship between the band and the production seems a lot more comfortable than on, for example, ABIAC or IBTABA, in that the mood or tone of either does not overwhelm the other; I also see this balance and ease on the '70s trilogy, and sporadically from Snakedrill onward.

    Strangely enough, I find the studio version of "Ambulance Chasers" to be one of Wire's most appropriately produced tracks, even if I'm rarely in the mood to listen to such extended shrieking dub excursions...
    Been rummaging through some of my old tapes and found amongst other goodies, this rather nice performance from Colin's band playing The Edge in Toronto on 25/02/81.

    Set list I have may not be quite right but this is what it says.

    Lorries, 5/10, 123 Beep Beep, ?, Fish, Removed for Improvement, This Picture, Truculent Yet, We Meet Under Tables, ?, You Make Me Happy, Indians, I've Waited Ages.

    Anyone for filling in the blanks?

    That's ace! Thanks Uri. No luck with the gaps yet though, I'm afraid.

    *delves the back catalouge*
    The second is Man The Lifeboats, which can be found on Desmond Simmons' Alone on Penguin Island.
    Nice one Uri, now listening...........
    Thank you, Uri.
    The first unnamed song is actually sung by Simon Gilham. Don't know what it's callled!

    It's on a tape I have of the same band playing the Venue in London. Des also gets to do The Gymnast on that gig.

    'You make me happy' should be 'You me and happy'
    (Which bizarrely, leads back to '80s Wire, and the awesome Middlesex Gorge remix of "Ambitious". Holy hell, I love that version! It's like listening to a Burroughsian cut-up of a battle recreation tone-poem scored for "rock" instruments....)

    (Also, "You, Me And Happy" just happens to be one of my favourite Newman solo tracks. So very Wire-ish. Well, for obvious reasons. I'll admit, however, that the production is somewhat lacking... It needs something. Perhaps.... I'm getting the initials "M.T." But not so much as to detract from the song in any serious way.)
    • CommentAuthoruri says...
    • (CommentTimeJul 1st 2010 edited)
    Have we done the 'Bring back Mike Thorne' thread yet?

    Certainly needs to be one.

    To what degree did his production skills make the 3 EMI LP's the classics that they are?

    To what degree could his skills be used by today's wire?

    Are wire their own best producers?
    It's been mentioned before that the new LP is going to be more of a beat combo approach, the live sound of Wire playing off each other rather than the mash-up approach of Send, so in theory there is a role for a producer on this one if its 3/4 people in a room and someone operating faders on a mixing desk.

    As fun as it sounds, getting Mike Thorne back in would possibly be a bit of a retrograde step. At worst it's poor old Anvil getting the guy who did their first 3 LPs back for LP no 13. At best I suppose it'd be like when Bowie started working with Visconti again (having made friends again after an enormous falling out). In the latter case you could hardly accuse 'Heathen' and so forth of aping the sound of Ziggy Stardust or Hunky Dory.
    I don't think Wire would do that in order to recapture their Harvest era but might do it if the results would yield something new.

    The new songs sound really exciting. They don't sound like a re-tread of any particular Wire era apart from the return of their delightfully skewed take on 'Pop' music that delivered Kidney Bingos and Outdoor Miner. If they do get a producer in it would be better for them to work with someone they've never worked with before.

    Ultimately I think financial concerns, and the willingness of three musicians who have grown used to producing themselves will be the drivers of this one. In this day and age I can imagine there is a lot less work around for producers anyway what with record companies having to keep budgets tight.
    I'd say that the thing which made Thorne the ideal producer for '70s Wire was that there was, it seems, a kind of curious sympathy between them which lead each to play progressively more interesting ideas off the other. Examples: the fire-escape percussion and flute shrieks of "Strange", the monstrous beat marching through "The Other Window", the tubular bells on "Marooned", the amassed orchestral madness of "A Mutual Friend"...

    I have no idea whether or not Mr. Thorne would be interested in or available to work with Wire on this next LP, but I think the results could be exceedingly intriguing. For one, their most recent material seems much closer in construction and sound (especially guitar tone - much more variety!) to their late '70s work than at any point before whilst still being quite distinct.

    Separately, and asked so often before: What would Wire's '80s output have been like had Thorne accepted Bruce's invitation? So many thoughts.

    And, in turn: I personally would be very interested to see Bruce contribute electronics to Wire at some point, however unlikely. Perhaps "Former Airline (Redux)"... I kid, but it's really something I'd be interested in hearing.