Telekon

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Telekon
Studio album by Gary Numan
Released 5 September 1980
Recorded 1980 at Rock City Studios, Shepperton
Genre New wave, electronic, synthpop
Length 49:54
Label Beggars Banquet
Producer Gary Numan
Gary Numan chronology
The Pleasure Principle
(1979)
Telekon
(1980)
Dance
(1981)
Singles from Telekon
  1. "We Are Glass"
    Released: 24 May 1980
  2. "I Die: You Die"
    Released: 30 August 1980
  3. "This Wreckage"
    Released: 20 December 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [1]
Pitchfork Media (8.6/10) [2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[3]
Smash Hits 7/10[4]
Spin 8/10[5]

Released in 1980, Telekon is the fourth studio album, and second album under his own name, by the British musician Gary Numan. It debuted at the top of the UK charts in September 1980, making it his third and consecutive (and to date, final) no.1 album.

Telekon is also the third and final studio release of what Numan retrospectively termed the "Machine" section of his career, following Replicas and The Pleasure Principle in 1979.[6] It was his last album before his brief "retirement" from touring and the last to feature bassist Paul Gardiner, a member of Numan's band since the early days of Tubeway Army.

Overview[edit]

In contrast to The Pleasure Principle, with its lack of guitars and its robotic sound, Telekon featured heavy use of guitars and strings along with richer synthesizer textures. Numan broadened his previous synth palette with additional machines such as the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, ARP Pro Soloist and Roland Jupiter-4. Track 11, "The Joy Circuit", uses a combination of synths and string instruments, notably the violin, to create an orchestral ambience. Its lyrics include the then-trademark reference to William Burroughs, notably "We're on joy circuit/The image fix/Rewind, cry/Well, it's somewhere to go."

Lyrically, whilst continuing Numan's exploration of a dystopian future in pieces like the title track and "I Dream of Wires", Telekon also took stock of the artist's sudden celebrity and the apparently overwhelming adulation of his fans in songs like "Remind Me to Smile" ("Reconsider 'fame'/I need new reasons/This is detention/It's not fun at all...Keep your revivals/Keep your conventions/Keep all your fantasies/That's all we are") and "Please Push No More". The album's musical style ranged from upbeat songs such as "I'm an Agent" and "The Joy Circuit" to mood pieces like "Sleep by Windows" and "Remember I Was Vapour".

Like all of Numan's commercially popular early records, Telekon received a largely hostile reception from contemporary music critics; nevertheless it proved to be an influential work. Trent Reznor claimed to have listened to it every day during the making of Pretty Hate Machine and Stephin Merritt from The Magnetic Fields also became a Numan fan through the album.[7] Merritt recorded "I Die: You Die" as his contribution to the Random tribute album in 1997, which also included covers of "I'm an Agent", "Remember I Was Vapour" and "We Are Glass". However the earliest cover of a song from this album was in the very year of its release when Robert Palmer collaborated with Numan on a version of "I Dream of Wires" for the Clues LP.


Singles[edit]

Telekon was preceded by two hit singles, "We Are Glass" and "I Die: You Die". Although neither of these was included on the album in its initial UK vinyl release they featured on the cassette release (overseas releases such as the US, Canada and Australia added "I Die: You Die" in place of "Sleep by Windows"). Early UK pressings came with a limited edition live 45, "Remember I Was Vapour" b/w "On Broadway", and all of these tracks, along with B-sides and the outtake "A Game Called 'Echo'", were subsequently included on various CD reissues. Numan had premiered "Remember I Was Vapour" during the UK leg of 'The Touring Principle' in late 1979, preceding its appearance on Telekon by a year. He also premiered "We Are Glass", "I Die: You Die" and "Remind Me to Smile" during the April 1980 leg.

The only single taken from the album post release was the opening number "This Wreckage"; which charted no higher than number 20. The composer admitted that regardless of its merits as a song it was a "bloody stupid single".[8] Surprisingly, Numan declined to issue the anthemic "Remind Me to Smile" as a single (although it was released as a promo single in the US).

The Teletour[edit]

From late 1980 to early 1981 Numan toured the UK, Europe and North America in support of Telekon with guest Nash the Slash and a lavish stage set; Numan's stage costume - a black leather boilersuit with interlocking red belts - would be an enduring image. An early performance of 'The Teletour' was captured on the album Living Ornaments '80 and in a rendition of "Down in the Park" for the movie Urgh! A Music War (both 1981). The 2005 CD re-issue of Living Ornaments '80 included the original 10-track album and a recently re-discovered soundboard recording of the entire concert. The Teletour was followed in April 1981 with three sold-out nights at Wembley Arena where Numan brought down the curtain on this phase of his career in extravagant style, as recorded in the accompanying video Micromusic (soundtrack released in 1998 as Living Ornaments '81). Although these were billed as Numan's farewell concerts, he would play a series of US club dates the following year and returned to large-scale touring in 1983.

Classic Album Tour and Micromusic DVD[edit]

In December 2006, Numan undertook a Telekon "Classic Album" tour, comprising four concerts in the UK in which he played all the songs from the Telekon album, as well as its associated singles and B-sides. On the 2CD EKO: The Telekon 06 Audio Programme (sold at the 2006 Telekon gigs and from Numan's website), Numan discusses (with interviewer Steve Malins) the making of Telekon, revealing that it is his favourite of his "early albums." Numan followed the 2006 tour with further "Classic Album" tours, for Replicas in 2008 and The Pleasure Principle in 2009.

In 2006, Numan promised fans a DVD release of the 1981 Micromusic video. On his official website in October 2008, Numan announced that the long-lost master tapes of the Micromusic concert had been found, "in excellent condition and, to make things even better, more footage has been found from two other camera positions that were not used on the original version. This new footage will be edited into a new updated version...We expect this to be, with all the extra footage and interviews, a double disc DVD." On 19 March 2010, Numan announced that the Micromusic DVD would be released on 13 April.[1] Micromusic was released on that date as a one-disc DVD; in addition to the concert itself, the DVD features an hour-long interview with Numan as a special feature.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Gary Numan except for "Trois Gymnopédies", which is a composition by Erik Satie.

LP[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "This Wreckage"   5:26
2. "The Aircrash Bureau"   5:41
3. "Telekon"   4:29
4. "Remind Me to Smile"   4:03
5. "Sleep by Windows"   4:58
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "I'm an Agent"   4:19
7. "I Dream of Wires"   5:10
8. "Remember I Was Vapour"   5:11
9. "Please Push No More"   5:39
10. "The Joy Circuit"   5:12

CD[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "This Wreckage"   5:26
2. "The Aircrash Bureau"   5:41
3. "Telekon"   4:29
4. "Remind Me to Smile"   4:03
5. "Sleep by Windows"   4:58
6. "We Are Glass [originally issued as single, CD Bonus Track]"   4:47
7. "I'm an Agent"   4:19
8. "I Dream of Wires"   5:10
9. "Remember I Was Vapour" (The CD version of this track is a different from the original vinyl album. The original version contains an additional synth melody.) 5:11
10. "Please Push No More"   5:39
11. "The Joy Circuit"   5:12
12. "I Die: You Die (Alternate Video Version) [Bonus Track]"   3:47
13. "A Game Called 'Echo' (Early Album Session, released on "Unreleased Recordings 1978-1979, Volume 3", 1985) [Bonus Track]"   5:06
14. "Photograph (B-side of "This Wreckage" single) [Bonus Track]"   2:43
15. "Down in the Park (Piano Version) (B-side of "I Die: You Die" single) [Bonus Track]"   2:27
16. "Trois Gymnopédies (1st Movement) (B-side of "We Are Glass" single) [Bonus Track]"   4:15

Chart positions[edit]

Chart Year Peak
position
UK Albums Chart[9] 1980 1

Musicians[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Prato, Greg. Telekon at AllMusic. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  2. ^ Sandlin, Michael (31 December 1999). "Gary Numan:Telekon review". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Shewey, Don (2 April 1981). "Gary Numan : Telekon : Music review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Smash Hits, Red Starr, 18 September 1980, p.35
  5. ^ Spin Simon Price, September 1998, pp. 188-189
  6. ^ Gary Numan (1981). Living Ornaments '79/'80: LP liner notes
  7. ^ Steve Malins (2002). Exposure: The Best of Gary Numan: CD liner notes
  8. ^ Stephen Webbon & Gary Numan (1985). "Complete Gary Numan UK Discography". Record Collector (December 1985, No. 76): p.15
  9. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1980s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 

References[edit]

  • Paul Goodwin (2004). Electric Pioneer: An Armchair Guide To Gary Numan
  • Allmusic
Preceded by
Flesh and Blood by Roxy Music
UK Albums Chart number-one album
13 September 1980 – 19 September 1980
Succeeded by
Never for Ever by Kate Bush