Following last week’s session listening to vinyl from New Order, an obvious next step was to move onto Bernard Sumner‘s side-step with Johnny Marr, Electronic.
Electronic burst into most people’s consciousness in 1989, with the magnificent one-off single Getting Away with It, a collaboration with Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. Inexplicably (inexcusably) omitted from their debut album on its initial release in the UK, it made it on to the US version, and subsequently the later UK releases too. I chose to listen to the 7″ version, from the sleeveless single which I remember finding in a record shop in Surfers Paradise in Australia some time around 1996.
Side B on both the 7″ and the 12″, which I found somewhere else a lot later, is the pleasant instrumental Lucky Bag. While this may have never changed the world, it definitely has its place in history – if nothing else, as the b-side to Getting Away with It.
Following a couple of years later was Get the Message, noticeably better mastered on its 7″ single. It’s also an even better single than the first – somehow Marr’s guitar work and the electronic backing come together perfectly, and Sumner is on fine form here.
The second side of this disc brings another lovely instrumental. This one, Free Will is short and sweet, and also considerably better than Lucky Bag. Somewhat unusually, this is a particularly great 7″ single.
The third release from the album was the more subdued Feel Every Beat, the back cover of which was included on the image above (I think that’s the back cover, anyway – it’s a little difficult to tell). Side A of the 12″ single features Danny Rampling‘s 12″ mix, but that’s been released elsewhere so I jumped straight to the exclusive dub mix.
Having initially picked the wrong speed to play it at (I guessed 33rpm), I discovered that Rampling had had a lot of fun mixing in elements from Kraftwerk‘s then-recent album The Mix. As with any good dub version – and there are plenty of bad examples – this takes interesting elements from the original and 12″ mix, and draws them off in some interesting and unusual directions. Electronic never included a lot of remixes on their UK singles, and this one is a particular treat.
There’s just one bonus track on the 12″, Lean to the Inside. I remember not being too impressed by this when I first heard it, but actually it’s pretty good. Another instrumental, not entirely dissimilar to Soviet on the album, it bobs along pleasantly with its pizzicato lead for four minutes or so before this particular journey comes to an end.
Of course, the next single, Disappointed, which sadly I don’t have on vinyl, saw Electronic collaborate again with Pet Shop Boys, which gives us a good link to next week’s vinyl moment, when we’ll be exploring their early days.