Love and Dancing
|Love and Dancing|
|Remix album by The Human League|
|Genre||Synthpop, new wave, dub|
|Producer||Martin Rushent, The Human League|
|The Human League chronology|
Love and Dancing is a remix album released by British synthpop band The Human League in 1982 by Virgin Records. It was released under the band name "The League Unlimited Orchestra" as a nod to Barry White's disco-era Love Unlimited Orchestra. The album was principally the idea and work of producer Martin Rushent and contains dub-style, largely instrumental remixes of songs from the band's multi-platinum selling album Dare (1981), along with a version of the track "Hard Times", which had originally been the B-side of the single "Love Action (I Believe in Love)". Rushent was inspired by hip hop artist and turntablist Grandmaster Flash and created Love and Dancing on a mixing board. He created vocal effects by cutting up portions of the Dare tape and manually gluing them together. In total, over 2,600 edits feature on the album.
Upon release, Love and Dancing was able to take advantage of the unexpected huge success of Dare and also work as a stopgap while the Human League worked on new material. The album received both mixed and positive reviews from music critics and, a surprise commercial success, reached number three in the UK Albums Chart and was later certified Platinum by the BPI. Today, the album is regarded as among the earliest remix albums ever released and has proven influential. In 2002, both Dare and Love and Dancing were remastered and re-issued together on one CD, while a single CD release of the Love and Dancing remaster was released the following year.
Synth-pop band The Human League's third album Dare (1981), produced by Martin Rushent, was a major critical and commercial success, reaching number 1 on the UK Albums Chart and retrospectively being considered one of the era's defining albums, often ranking in lists of the greatest albums of the 1980s and sometimes of all time. Dare also found success in the United States, partly because of New York-based black radio stations airing music from the album. The album's synth bass and Linn Electronics drum machine beats paralleled the electro funk music that had gained popularity on New York stations like Kiss, where according to writer Simon Reynolds, "tracks were undergoing radical remixing and be montaged into seamless segues that lasted half an hour or more." Rushent was already aware of the potential of remixing, having embedded a "dub-like spaciousness" to Human League tracks in parts where the instrumentation drops out.
Rushent had been listening to hip hop DJ Grandmaster Flash and played his music to front man Phil Oakey, who also enjoyed it. After seeing the DJ in New York, Rushent he felt he could recreate his scratching style with tape scrubbing. With this in mind, Rushent suggested creating a dub remix of the second single from Dare, "Love Action (I Believe in Love)", by chopping the song up and adding effects. This would allow Virgin Records to release it on the B-side of the single, as the label was eager to rush-release singles from Dare, leaving the Human League and Rushent without time to record new B-sides. Besides the "Love Action" remix, the producer ultimately created three or four other similar dub remixes to other songs from Dare. Further inspired by the music he would hear in clubs across New York, he ultimately proposed to the Human League that he create an instrumental remix album of Dare, hoping that it would exemplify his production skills and "establish a new benchmark for electronic dance pop."
Nonetheless, both the band and Virgin Records originally relented against the idea of the album, who did not want to release a remix album and nor did they want to pay for it. Rushent had to fight their opposition in order to create the album. Oakey remained unsure about the album and left Rushent to create it on his own. Neil Mason of Louder Than War wrote that "Cruel", an instrumental version of "I Don't Depend on You" (a 1979 single released by The Human League under the alternative name The Men) that was released as that single's B-side, laid the formula that would ultimately lead to Love and Dancing.
Love and Dancing is sometimes viewed as a stopgap in the Human League's discography, released to keep the band in the public profile while the band recorded new material. Band member Jo Callis has disputed this, saying: "I think that was going to happen anyway. Soft Cell had done something similar around that time releasing a remixed album. Martin Rushent had this concept about remixing, taking a track apart and putting it back together. It was a new idea and concept and it seemed a good idea to everybody to try it out. So the concept of the Love and Dancing would have happened regardless."
Production and composition
Reynolds writes that it "took thousands of man-hours of intensive sonic surgery" for Rushent to create Love and Dancing. The producer spent about ten days making the album, remixing the material on a mixing board with the multitrack recording of Dare being fed into the board. He also operated a Harmonizer on send one and placed numerous phasers and delay lines that he would proceed to "flick about" into his set up. Rushent recalled: "I'd do a section and if I liked it I'd make a tape cut and splice it in." He created complex vocal effects by hand, cutting up small portions of tape and gluing them together until he had achieved "the stuttering 't-t-t-t' effect." When asked by Reynolds if he used samplers, he elaborated:
"No, no. There wasn't samplers then. I actually did it by cutting up tiny bits of tape. I made myself a special ruler which read out in milliseconds how long a piece of tape was. So I'd say, 'OK, this thing's at 120 beats per minute, so one beat is that long, a quarter of a beat is that long, and so I want to cut that little piece of tape by this length.' That would be the first bit of Phil going 't'. And then I got another copy of 't' and I glued them all together and got the stutter effect: 't-t-t-t'."
Dave Allen acted as Rushent's sound engineer during the sessions. His role was generally of a technical nature, and he later quipped: "Martin was/is a genius though, I was merely Sancho Panza." By the end of the end of the remixing process, the master tape of Love and Dancing had 2,200 main edits and some 400 further, smaller edits for the stuttering repetition effects. This amount of splicing was so excessive–with an edit every half a second–that the master tape came very close to disintegrating. Rushent recalled: "You couldn't fast-forward it or fast-rewind it, so the first thing I did was copy the album on to another tape, before the original master fell apart."
Overall, Love and Dancing consists of Rushent's special dub remixes of eight tracks, seven of these from Dare and the other, "Hard Times", originally appearing as the B-side to the "Love Action" single. Brainwashed wrote that the album's "liberal use of echo and a complement of wacky sound effects and instrumental fills [are] immediately reminiscent of the early dub approach to remixing." Many of the tracks are at 120 beats per minute. Paul Morley of the NME said that Rushent's production contains "plenty of moving parts, noises falling upwards, a way forward and backwards that is full of abrupt encounters – sudden interfaces, then emptiness."
Release and reception
Upon the completion of Love and Dancing, the band decided to sell the album at a relatively cheap price, believing the release to be "unfair to the fans." Band member Joanne Catherall nonetheless reflected that the group loved the album. Love and Dancing was released in the United Kingdom by Virgin Records in July 1982, using the group name "The League Unlimited Orchestra" in tribute to Barry White's instrumental, disco-era backing band Love Unlimited Orchestra. The back cover of the album features individual photographs of the Human League, Rushent, his sound engineer Dave Allen, as well as sleeve designer Ken Ansell. Rushent recalled: "They had to have a picture of me. I did the whole thing on my own!" Rushent received no writing royalties on the album and in retrospect believed this to be unfair.
The appearance of the album in July 1982 was coincidentally a month after the release of Soft Cell's similarly-styled remix album Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing. Though the Soft Cell album was successful, Love and Dancing was even more so, charting at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart, and later being certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry for sales of over 300,000 copies. The album was released in mid-price format by A&M Records in the United States several weeks later. Upon its release in the country, a couple of the tracks, including the "Don't You Want Me" remix, had already been circulating on twelve-inch singles, whereas the other tracks were previously unreleased there and thus were embraced as "welcome bonuses" in the words of Brian Chin of Billboard.
Love and Dancing has received positive and mixed reviews from critics. Paul Morley in the NME was favourable, describing the album as an "exclamation mark" to the success of Dare, which he felt was "one of the great popular music LPs," and praised its artful musical style. Ian Birch in Smash Hits called the album an "odd item" and wrote: "Is it a stopgap measure or a fearlessly new way of presenting old tracks? It's neither really. Instead, the new window dressing produces some jaunty and occasionally jolting electronic effects. Ideal for watching Ceefax to." Among retrospective reviews, William Ruhlmann of AllMusic wrote that "if you always thought 'Don't You Want Me' was a great track with obnoxious vocals, this is the album for you." Ira Robbins of Trouser Press said that "[s]ome of the record bears listening to; other parts, however, are either repetitively dull or noisily annoying." In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, the album is referred to as "an amusing trifle" and "a prelude of sorts" to the band's subsequent EP Fascination! (1983).
Love and Dancing was one of the first remix albums ever released, and Tom Flint of Sound on Sound felt it was "arguably even more influential than Dare itself." Tom Hocknell of the BBC credits the Human League as "pioneers of the remix album," citing Love and Dancing as the example. Joseph Stannard of The Quietus called the album "great," while Jon Falcone of Music OMH called the album "revolutionary." In 2005, the NME wrote that both Dare and Love and Dancing "redefined modern synthetic pop." In his book Rip It Up and Start Again, which details the history of post-punk, Simon Reynolds called Love and Dancing "[a] masterpiece of editing and mixing-board wizardry." Tim Thornton of The Huffington Post cites the album as "one of the few examples of a whole album [...] being remixed by one person and then released as another album." In an interview, Sean Dickison of The Soup Dragons spoke of his infatuation for "the deconstruction concept of remix albums," including that of Love and Dancing. Pet Shop Boys also cited Love and Dancing as the inspiration for the etc. bonus CD in the double-disc edition of their album Yes (2009).
Phil Oakey spoke favourably of the album in an interview with The Quietus, calling the album "so innovative" and noting: "Martin was splicing in empty tape so the music would jerk, and no one had done stuff like this before. The guys mastering the album were saying, ‘You can’t do this.’ It was that original." Rushent considered Love and Dancing to be better than Dare, believing it to break the mould and "[kick] off the whole of the modern dance scene. There isn't one effect or trick that you hear in any gene of modern dance music that you won't find on Love and Dancing. Like the stuttering vocals. That's the first record you'll find it on." He cited creating Love and Dancing as the most creative experience he had ever had, but also found it hard to follow up from, explaining:
"Making Love and Dancing was the most creative experience I've ever had in my life. Something that has been difficult to top. I haven't gone anywhere near it since. That's probably why I gave up record production for so long. It's like why astronauts go a bit loopy after they've got back from the moon. You've walked on the fucking moon, what are you gonna do now? I'd had this incredible experience with Love and Dancing and made what I knew was a breakthrough record. Dare itself was fucking enormous. I'd won all the awards you could possibly win. Walls covered with gold, platinum and silver discs. I suddenly felt, 'Well, there you are, Martin. At sixteen you wanted to be a world-famous record producer, but doing some really good work. And you've done it. Now what?"
Virgin Records released Love and Dancing on CD in 1984 and a remastered CD edition on 6 January 2003. Dare/Love and Dancing, containing remastered versions of the two albums on the same CD, was released by Virgin Records in the UK on 21 October 2002 and by Caroline Records in the US on 28 January 2003. Billboard magazine described Dare/Love and Dancing as a "Vital Reissue". In the early 2010s, Rushent began creating an updated version of Love and Dancing using live instrumentation, but the project went unfinished due to his death in 2011. His son, producer Tim Rushent, said of the incomplete project: "He hated to repeat himself and was always looking to move productions forwards and challenge himself. There are some recordings, but they're not what he settled on. The plan is for the first, last and only time, one take, Love And Dancing Live. It’s all mapped out, it’s all dad's work. And dad being dad, it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. All we have to do is see that his final production happens."
- "Hard Times" (Callis, Oakey, Wright) — 5:40
- "Love Action (I Believe in Love)" (Burden, Oakey) — 5:12
- "Don't You Want Me" (Callis, Oakey, Wright) — 7:18
- "Things That Dreams Are Made Of" (Oakey, Wright) — 5:10
- "Do or Die" (Burden, Oakey) — 4:36
- "Seconds" (Callis, Oakey, Wright) — 2:25
- "Open Your Heart" (Callis, Oakey) — 2:35
- "The Sound of the Crowd" (Burden, Oakey) —2:55
- British Hit Singles and Albums (Guinness 19th Edition) Guinness World Records Limited; 20Rev Ed edition ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7 (2 June 2007)
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- "The Human League Dare!". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Reynolds, Simon. Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. London: Faber & Faber, 2005. ISBN 0571215696
- Rushent, Martin (2007)
- "The Dave Allen Interview". Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Torem, Lisa (9 July 2014). "Interview". Penny Black Music. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Mason, Neil (18 March 2012). "Human League and the making of the 'Dare' album". Louder Than War. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Smash Hits, 24 June 1982
- Buckley, Peter (30 October 2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. London: Rough Guides. p. 511. ISBN 1843531054. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- "Jo Callis". Aylesbury Friars. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Reynolds, Simon (5 February 2009). Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews. London: Faber & Faber. ISBN 0571235492. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- "The Human League remastered issues". Brainwashed. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Morley, Paul (3 July 1982). "Love and Dancing". NME.
- "Birch, Ian (24 June 1982). "Album Reviews". Smash Hits. Vol. 4 no. 13. EMAP Metro. p. 17. ISSN 0815-1121.
- Morley, Paul. "Love's Theme". Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Allmusic review
- "Vital Reissues". Billboard. 115 (5): 43. 1 February 2003. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Chin, Brian (24 July 1982). "Dance Trax". Billboard. 94 (29): 44. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- "Chart Stats – Soft Cell – Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing". The Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- "Official Charts Company - Human League". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
- "Certified Awards Search". www.bpi.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- Chin, Brian (31 July 1982). "Dance Trax (2)". Billboard. 94 (30): 33. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- "Birch, Ian (24 June 1982). "Albums". Smash Hits. Vol. 4 no. 13. EMAP Metro. p. 17. ISSN 0815-1121.
- Ruhlmann, William. "AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Robbins, Ira. "Human League". Trouser Press. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Various authors (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). USA: Fireside. p. 398.
- Lester, Paul (31 October 2007). "No 216: Spektrum". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Hocknell, Tom (2011). "The Human League Credo Review". BBC. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Stannard, Joseph (31 March 2011). "The Human League Credo". The Quietus. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Falcone, Jon (28 March 2011). "The Human League – Credo". Music OMH. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- "Human League : London W1 Astoria". NME. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Thornton, Tim (18 May 2015). "Horizontalism - A Love Story". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Grace, Paul (18 April 2017). "Hifi Sean: Ft. Excursions – album review". Louder Than War. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- "Yes, Pet Shop Boys etc". Pet Shop Boys. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Doran, Jack (14 February 2011). "This Is Phil (And Jo And Sue) Talking: The Human League Being Grilled". The Quietus. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Love and Dancing (liner). The League Unlimited Orchestra. Virgin Records. 1984.
- Love and Dancing (liner). The League Unlimited Orchestra. Virgin Records. 2003.
- Thompson, Dave. "AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- "Upcoming at Retail". CMJ New Music Monthly. 74 (798): 37. 27 January 2003. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- "Vital Reissues". Billboard. 115 (5): 43. 1 February 2003. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Winter, Tina (5 June 2012). "The Human League". The Quietus. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Mason, Neil. "The Making of Dare". Electronic Sound. Retrieved 12 November 2017.