Adventures in Modern Recording
|Adventures in Modern Recording|
Artwork by Rory Kee
|Studio album by The Buggles|
|Released||11 November 1981|
|Studio||Sarm East Studios, London, UK|
|Genre||Progressive pop, synthpop|
|Label||Carrere Polydor (Distributed in the United States by CBS Records)|
|Producer||Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes, John Sinclair|
|The Buggles chronology|
|Singles from Adventures in Modern Recording|
Adventures in Modern Recording is the second and final studio album by British synthpop duo The Buggles, released in 1981 on Carrere Records. Made one year after their stint as members of Yes, the album contains nine tracks, including a stripped-down version of Yes's "Into the Lens", here entitled, "I Am a Camera". The album as released was mostly a Trevor Horn solo effort, Geoffrey Downes having joined Asia before recording began. Bruce Woolley assisted in completing the tracks.
Although Adventures suffered commercial failure in the United Kingdom, it did get chart performance in the United States, reaching number 161 on the Billboard 200. Like The Age of Plastic it was positively received by critics. Both "We Can Fly from Here" and "Riding a Tide" (appearing as demos on the 2010 reissue) were rerecorded by Yes (with Horn as producer and Downes on keyboards) for their 2011 studio album Fly from Here.
Background and production planning
On 10 January 1980, The Buggles, a duo of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, released their debut album The Age of Plastic. Labeled by writers as the first electropop landmark, the album, lyrically both promoting and concerning modern technology, included musical influences and elements of disco, punk, progressive rock and pop music from the 1960s. Four singles were released from the album, one of them including "Video Killed the Radio Star" which topped sixteen international record charts. Reportedly, the album was very difficult to follow up to, but Horn was wanting to see how it would follow.
According to Trevor Horn, Adventures in Modern Recording was planned to be more "left-field" than The Age of Plastic: "We had some pretty weird material. Things like ‘Vermilion Sands’ and some weird little things that we’d done. The best we had was ‘I Am A Camera’ which had been one of the things that was a demo we’d done on a Sunday afternoon and was one of the best things Geoffrey [Downes] and I ever did I thought."
When Adventures was about to be recorded, Buggles member Geoff Downes had split from the group to form the band Asia, and the group was also dropped from Island Records, which they originally thought they finished the album. Horn, angered and shocked, had to make a second Buggles, so Jill Sinclair decided she make a deal with French label Carrere Records, and DJ Claude Carrere would help fund the album.
While Adventures in Modern Recording was mostly a Trevor Horn solo project, Downes was still involved in the project. He has writing and production credits on three tracks from Adventures, "Vermillion Sands", "I Am a Camera" and "Lenny", where he also handled the drum programming, as well as being the keyboardist on a song he didn't co-write with Horn, "Beatnik". Australian producer Julian Mendelsohn and Gary Langan, who also handled the mixing and recording for The Age of Plastic were engineers on the album. Langan, Horn, and Anne Dudley, who is credited as keyboardist on "Beatnik", would later form The Art of Noise. Other note-worthy contributors including percussion on "Beatnik" was from Horn's long-time collaborator Luis Jardim, while Yes bassist Chris Squire was brought on board to provide "sound effects" for the title track.
Horn said, "There were bits of Geoff on it and bits of Simon Darlow. But I finished it off myself with Gary [Langan]. But really by the time I’d finished it off I’d sort of lost interest in it a little, because I didn’t think there was a single there…" This album also marks the first time in Horn's production career that he had worked with sampling, which the sampling techniques on Adventures would later be used for records Horn produced like Slave To The Rhythm by Grace Jones, Art of Noise's The Seduction of Claude Debussy and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Welcome to the Pleasuredome. Adventures in Modern Recording was one of the first commercially available albums to feature sounds from the Fairlight CMI, one of the first digital sampling synthesizers.
"Things like ‘Beatnik’ were me just messing around with gear and just having a silly idea,” he said. “I was quite fascinated by Fairlight brass and all of those kind of things that Geoffrey and I had started messing around with before he went off to join Asia. And I thought that was a pretty good direction... So I sort of perfected a load of production tricks on Adventures In Modern Recording. Loads of productions tricks…"
In 1989, Sincer Records Re-Released the album on CD. It only held the songs from the original LP.
The album was issued on CD in 1993 by Japanese label Jimco Records. In 1997 it was reissued with three bonus tracks, this time on the Japanese Flavour of Sound label. A new reissue was released by Salvo Records/ZTT on 15 February 2010, which included 10 bonus tracks.
Adventures in Modern Recording first charted in Sweden, appearing briefly at the number 50 spot on the second week of 1982. Unlike The Age of Plastic, Adventures in Modern Recording was not able to appear on the UK Albums chart, but it was able to chart in the United States; In February 1982, it was number seven on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top 50 Rock Albums. By March, it bubbled under the Billboard 200 chart, before entering the chart at number 161 in April. Also that same month, it debuted on the Dutch Albums Chart at number 26, where it lasted there for three weeks.
|The Bolton News||Positive|
|pennyblackmusic.co.uk||Mixed to positive|
|Musician, Player and Listener||Mixed|
The album has received critically positive reviews, although more mixed than The Age of Plastic. It was one of Billboard's "recommended LPs" on 20 February 1982. Allmusic's Jeri Montesano, who gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, considered the album's quality to equal The Age of Plastic, and compared the two to pop music in the 1990s that he found "unimaginative". An Amazon.com editorial review described Adventures in Modern Recording as "something of a lost classic, with great vocals by Trevor Horn and a sparkling electronic sound that is completely in-step with the prevailing electro mood of the pop charts in 2010." BBC Music highlighted Trevor Horn's production abilities of the album, and he also garnered interest in the bonus tracks of the 2010 reissue. The Bolton News writer Martin Hutchinson called it "a true glimpse at the history of the band that kicked off MTV."
- Original LP release and Sincer Records 1989 CD Re-Release
- Side 1
- "Adventures in Modern Recording" (Simon Darlow, Trevor Horn, Bruce Woolley) – 3:46
- "Beatnik" (Horn) – 3:38
- "Vermillion Sands" (Geoff Downes, Horn) – 6:48
- "I Am a Camera" (Downes, Horn) – 4:56
- Side 2
- "On TV" (Horn, Wooley, Rodney Thompson) – 2:48
- "Inner City" (Darlow, Horn) – 3:22
- "Lenny" (Downes, Horn) – 3:12
- "Rainbow Warrior" (Darlow, Horn, John Sinclair) – 5:22
- "Adventures in Modern Recording (reprise)" (Darlow, Horn, Woolley) – 0:51
- Bonus tracks on 1997 CD re-release
- "Fade Away" – 2:36
- Original B-side of the "I Am a Camera" and "On TV" 7-inch singles
- "Blue Nylon" – 2:25
- Original B-side of the "Adventures in Modern Recording" 7-inch single
- "I Am a Camera" – 4:13
- Original 12-inch single mix
- Bonus tracks on 2010 CD re-release
- "Fade Away"
- "Blue Nylon"
- "I Am a Camera" (12-inch mix)
- "We Can Fly from Here – Part 1"
- "On TV"
- "Walking on Glass" (Original version of "Lenny")
- "Riding a Tide"
- "We Can Fly from Here – Part 2"
- Trevor Horn – vocals, bass (1, 6, 9-11), guitar (2-4, 7), drum programming (4), production
- John Sinclair – drum programming (1, 5-6, 8-11), cymbals (1, 8-9), guitar (2), vocals (5), production (1-2, 5-6, 8-9, 16)
- Simon Darlow – keyboards and guitar (1, 5-6, 8-11)
- Chris Squire – sound effects (1, 9)
- Geoff Downes – keyboards (2-4, 7), drum programming (7), production (3-4, 7, 12)
- Anne Dudley – keyboards (2)
- Luís Jardim – percussion (2)
- Bruce Woolley – vocals (5)
- Danny Schogger, Rod Thompson – keyboards (7)
- Gary Langan, Julian Mendelsohn - engineering
- Stuart Bruce - assistant engineering
- Rory Kee - illustrator
- Glenn Travis Associates - design
- Jill Sinclair - management
- special thanks: Lee Abrams, Freddy Cannon, Claude Carrere, Kain Clayton, Lionel & Tanya Conway, Pete Cornish, Martin Davis, Jim Haley, Bob Kraushaar, Gi-Gi Lau, Rod Argent's keyboards, Paul Rodwell, Sam Sylvester
|Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)||26|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||50|
|US Billboard 200||161|
|US Bubbling Under Rock Albums (Billboard)||7|
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