The ZTT Years 1983 - 1985
 
Art of Noise were formed after Gary Langan and JJ Jeczalik started to sample a drum riff that had been scrapped by the rock group Yes for band's album 90125 that was being produced by Trevor Horn. It was the very first time that an entire drum riff had been sampled on a Fairlight, C.M.I. sampler using the then new Page R sequencer, that allowed the programmer to sequence anything that had been sampled. At the same time Horn was setting up his to his new Zang Tuum Tumb label, co-founded by his wife Jill Sinclair, ex-NME journalist Paul Morley and with help from Langan.
 
While trying to secure a deal with Island Records, ZTT needed to find their first act to sign, alas  without any success until Langan played a demo of what he & Jeczalik had recorded to Horn. Impressed by what the two of them had done, Horn played it to Chris Blackwell (the founder of Island Records) who in turn played it in some clubs in New York. On his return to the London, Blackwell told Horn to sign them to his new label, which in turn secured the deal between ZTT and Island.

Anne Dudley got involved into the project to provide the melodies after the two founder members started things off. They recorded things in their spare time as they all had day jobs, Langan – a engineer/producer, Jeczalik – a computer programmer, Dudley – an arranger/keyboard player and Horn – a producer. They were all part of Horn's production team and had all worked together the previous year on ABC’s classic masterpiece The Lexicon Of Love and the late Malcolm McLaren’s Duck Rock album.
 
They had all learnt a lot from McLaren’s attitude of ignoring the rules of music and mixing stuff up and seeing what happened. Morley became the fifth member of the group, not as a musician, his role was to inject ideas, write sleeve notes, name the tracks and be the group’s spokesperson. He originally named them the Art of Noises, the English translation from an early 20th century manifesto L’arte Dei Rumori by Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo. However it was Jeczalik who actually named the group the Art of Noise when he decided to drop the ‘s’.
 
With the help of Bob Kraushaar, Horn & Morley complied the nine track EP Into Battle With The Art Of Noise that became the Art of Noise’s debut release as well as being the first ever release by ZTT in September 1983. A decision was made earlier that year that the group should be a faceless outfit although this led to confusion in the USA when they were awarded Best Black Act of 1984. Beat Box was the track that everyone went crazy over and boosted the EP to number one in the dance charts in the USA. Moments In Love made its first appearance on that record too, along with The Army Now that sampled the Andrews Sisters. Nobody had ever heard a record that had been created using what is now known as 'cut and paste' techniques before or an instrumental love song with the sound of hammers being hit instead of the sound of a drum. Art of Noise soon gained a huge cult following in the USA that has remained to this very day.
 
Beat Box (Diversions One and Two) [UK: #92] was issued in March 1984 in the UK. An edited version of (Diversion Two) was issued in the USA as Close (To The Edit) in late early June. The single was accompanied by an award winning video directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski that was regarded by some as too violent as it showed traditional instruments being smashed up and cut up with chainsaws. In June the Art of Noise’s debut album was released entitled (Who’s Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise! [UK: #27], four months before it was released in the UK, it was vast re-working of a planned and scrapped album called Worship. The LP  featured the two singles released in that year along with the full length version of Moments In Love that appeared on their debut extended play. A Time For Fear (Who’s Afraid) opened the album by highlighting the story of the illegal invasion of the British Commonwealth island of Grenada by the United States. The track illustrated that technology could also be used to make a serious point on a record by sampling news reports, then turning them into a form of 'lyrical performance' as opposed to making music aimed at the dancefloor. A second version of Close (To The Edit) appeared in November with a new animated video directed by Andy Morahan which began to propel the group and the track into the UK charts, peaking at number 8 in February 1985.

With a top ten hit behind them, the Art of Noise were now in the public consciousness being featured in teen music magazines and on appearing on radio shows. Around that time tensions within the group were starting to surface as over the past year the media were crediting everything to Horn & Morley. Two of the most misleading images appeared in the second Beat Box video which saw Morley appearing in the intro and outro with Horn being seen behind a turntable in his SARM studio. With the way the group were marketed and perceived, the idea of a totally faceless group began to fade. Dudley, Jeczalik & Langan minus Horn appeared on television for the first time. With only two days notice they performed live on the cult Channel Four series The Tube with Morley acting as spokesperson. Next up was the BBC’s long running Top Of The Pops where the trio were actually seen for the first time miming and dancing to Close (To The Edit) without their masks and once again in their Moments In Love video [UK: #51]. Their next planned appearance would lead to an acrimonious split between the three main members of the group and Horn & Morley. With nobody at ZTT noticing that the group’s contract had expired, things came to a head when a two week show at the Ambassador’s Theatre was staged. Art of Noise were due to appear, but pulled out of the event as there wasn’t enough time to prepare leaving Morley to improvise on stage and announced that “Last Monday when Anne, Gary and J.J. turned up for rehearsals we shot them, and now we’re back with no group, no names, no faces. We’re going to try again, just the music".
 
The China Records Years 1985 - 1990
 
Following the events of the Amassador's Theatre, the trio of Dudley, Jeczalik & Langan departed from ZTT to sign a new recording contract with Derek Green’s new China Records label where they would go on to have greater success, leaving Horn & Morley behind to form a spin-off project called Act & Art, that eventually saw the light of day, some twenty five years later.

Work began on a new album and in October their first single for China Records, Legs [UK: #69] was released. It was from that moment on that the media began to realise that Horn & Morley weren’t the Art of Noise, but had only been a part of it and began to give trio the credit they deserved. The group appeared in a series of publicity shots by Peter Ashworth that showed their faces only to be distorted by machinery keeping themselves hidden from direct view and in March 1986 the group released their version of Peter Gunn [UK: #8], featuring their first guest artist, legendary American guitarist Duane Eddy who had already had a hit with the Henry Mancini composition in 1959. This new version was recorded in Dudley’s living room. It entered the UK singles chart on 22nd March, remaining there for nine weeks. The promotional video for the single was directed by Matt Forrest and featured comedy actor Rik Mayall in the lead role as a private detective. The track also inspired the Pet Shop Boys to write a record their track Hit Music that would appear on their 1987 album Actually. With the success of Peter Gunn, Dudley & Jeczalik made their second appearance on The Tube with a live band, minus Langan, who was producing a Spandau Ballet album. They performed Opus 4, Paranoimia and Peter Gunn with Eddy as well as on Top Of The Pops and The Montreux Rock Festival.

Their second album In Visible Silence was released in April and reached number eighteen in the UK charts, nine places higher than their debut album.  The album was more melodic and structured than its predecessor. The opening track was based around a poem called November by Thomas Hood in which lines of the poem were repeated into a vocal rhythm before being accompanied by keyboards. Instruments Of Darkness, a dark powerful piece highlighting apartheid in South Africa would later be released almost six years later in a remixed form by The Prodigy.
 
On 21st June, a new version of Paranoimia entered the UK singles chart with Max Headroom as guest vocalist. The single enjoyed a nine-week chart run, peaking at number twelve and was accompanied by one of the Art of Noise’s most memorable videos directed by Matt Forrest featuring Max Headroom on a hospital trolley. This collaboration with Max Headroom came about after the Art of Noise were commissioned to come up with a new theme tune for the second series of The Max Headroom Show. In the USA the album In Visible Silence was deleted and replaced with an updated version with the original version of Paranoimia being replaced with the hit 12" extended version. As well as providing the new theme tune for The Max Headroom Show, Art of Noise also provided a new theme tune for the long running show The Krypton Factor before heading off on tour of the USA, Japan and ending at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.
 
Late October saw the release of the single Legacy [UK: #95], based upon their 1985 single Legs with a slower tempo and a heavy bass line which transformed the track into a continuation of the original track rather than a remix. The video featured footage recorded from the show at the Hammersmith Odeon. It was taken from the album Re-Works Of Art Of Noise that was issued in the UK as a bonus LP with In Visible Silence in early December, and issued as a separate album in other countries. The album also featured the single Paranoimia along with the extended version of Peter Gunn three live tracks recoded at the Hammersmith Odeon. Also in that month, ZTT issued “Daft” an expanded edition of their debut album. Those releases were the last to feature Langan as he decided to move on to continue with his own career, although he remained connected to the group.

On the 24th February 1987 they were awarded Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 29th Grammy Awards in the USA, where Dudley, Jeczalik and Eddy accepted the award for smash hit Peter Gunn. After that a video of the Hammersmith Odeon show entitled In Visible Silence was released. The video was produced and directed by Mike Mansfield with visual enhancements by George Snow & Jeczalik. It showcased how diverse the Art of Noise were, adapting themselves from their studio environment to becoming a live band featuring the talents of Dave Bronze (bass), Simon Moreton (percussion), Paul Robinson (drums) and featuring Katie Humble, Pepe Lemer & Linda Taylor (backing vocals).
 
The Art of Noise played a key-role in two Hollywood movies of that year. The first was Disorderlies that starred the Fat Boys, where they composed, performed & produced the films entire music score. The other was the Dan Aykroyd, Alan Zweibel and Tom Mankiewicz penned box-office blockbuster Dragnet, based upon the 50’s & 60’s television series of the same name. Two versions of their track Dragnet appeared in the film. The most noticeable was in the movie’s title sequence that featured an edited version of the Arthur Baker mix. To tie-in with the film Dragnet was released as a single and spent ten weeks in the Canadian charts, the UK single had the aforementioned Arthur Baker mix as the A-side instead of the Art of Noise mix. The single entered the UK singles chart on 18th July for four weeks peaking at number sixty, however the single did far better in the Swiss charts peaking at number twenty nine. It was issued just one month after ZTT re-released the single Moments In Love [#90] prior to a new Art of Noise produced single entitled Spies was released by Eddy from his comeback album Duane Eddy.

The group's third album In·No·Sense? Nonsense! album was a departure from Art of Noise’s previous ones as it retained some of the musicians that appeared live with the band in 1986 as well as including an orchestra and choir. It was recorded over a period of eight weeks with Roger Dudley, Stuart Breed, Ted Hayton and Bob Kraushaar took over Langan’s role as engineer. Only Dragnet was released as a single, although a four track promotional EP entitled No Nonsense was released featuring E.F.L., One Earth, A Day At The Races and Ode To Don Jose that were all highlights from the album. Also included were two tracks that sounded very familiar, Roundabout 727, a cut down version of A Nation Rejects (a b-sided of the 12” of Paranoimia), along with Crusoe that was developed from the (Theme From) The Krypton Factor, The album was more adventurous than the group's first two long players as for the first time orchestral and choral arrangements were used to give a modern-classical touch to certain tracks with each track flowing from one to another via links of ambient sounds. Paul Morley would write some time after that it was an "ambient masterpiece”.
 
1988 was a quiet year for the Art of Noise. February saw the release of Dragnet (The ’88 Mix) (aka Dragnet '88) [UK: #97] that came out at the same time as the UK release of the film but failed to chart higher than the original UK single. Dudley scored the music for the British movie Buster that starred Phil Collins and Julie Walters before she and Jeczalik teamed up with Welsh singing legend Tom Jones on a cover version of Prince’s 1986 hit Kiss [UK: #5]. The single entered the UK singles chart on the 29th October and re-launched Jones’s career bringing him a new legion of younger fans. The track was taken from The Best Of The Art Of Noise [UK: #55] that came out in three different versions in the UK. The LP contained the 7” versions, the cassette, 7” versions with 12" mixes of the tracks that featured their three guest artsts and the CD containing 12” versions. There were no less than seven different versions of the album released around the world from the 1988 release until it was deleted in 1992.
 
The following year started off with Kiss being nominated for Best British Single at the Brit Awards in February. In March the Art of Noise released Paranoimia ’89 [UK: #90], a remix by Ben Liebrand of the In Visible Silence album version, rather than the single version that featured Max Headroom almost three years earlier. Dudley & Jeczalik teamed up with South African group Mahlathini and The Mahotella Queens led by the late Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde on the single Yebo! [UK: #63] that was taken from the final Art of Noise album Below The Waste. The album included another two tracks with that group Chain Gang and Spit. As with In·No·Sense? Nonsense! only one single was released from it. Two additional tracks, the James Bond Theme and Robinson Crusoe were included on the cassette & compact disc version. The sound of the entire record was a more laid back to the previous ones as it ventured into the sounds of world music and more orchestral pieces. Dudley and Jeczalik composed most of their material individually. Engineer Ted Hayton was retained to co-produce the record and co-write a couple of tracks. The duo's style was now completely different to everything else that had been done up to that point. Their new sound featured fewer sampled driven pieces, as what they had pioneered over the past six years had now became commonplace within the music industry. The last track, Finale in many ways indicated that their work was done. In mid 1990 Dudley & Jeczalik announced that the Art of Noise had officially ended and both parted company.

*as the image of a group
 
With their differences resolved, Dudley and Horn began working together again in 1990 on Seal's eponymous debut album, before moving onto Marc Almond's long player Tenement Symphony that were both released in 1991. Later that year, new interest began to grow in the disbanded Art of Noise after China Records released The FON Mixes, a techno-based remix album. Around 1992, Jeczalik told the ZTT fanzine, Outside World, that he and Langan had travelled to Cuba to find new source material after they had both discussed reforming the group with Dudley, but sadly, nothing ever came of it.
 
The collaboration between Horn & Dudley continued on a number of projects throughout the 1990s including work on the second Seal album entitled Seal in 1994. The following year saw a single entitled Everybody Up and a self titled album by The Galm Metal Detectives from the BBC television series of the same name released on ZTT with writing and production work credited to Lol Creme & Trelvis Hornsley, the latter being a pseudonym of Horn's.
 
In 1997 Horn, Creme, Dudley and Morley formed a new group called the Image of a Group. Work began on an album entitled  Balance – Music For The Eye before being completed in 1998 based around the works of Horn's favourite composer Claude Debussy. After an arrangement was made with the now retired Jeczalik to use the Art of Noise name, Horn started the album again from the beginning and gave it a more of a hard hitting sound working with a variety of co-producers including Way Out West. After testing the waters in late 1998 with the promo only 12" Dream On With The Art Of Noise All Mixed Up In Bed With Way Out West and an alternative version of the album, The Seduction Of Claude Debussy was finally released in 1999. All releases from that point on had Art of Noise* credited on the front and *as the Image of a Group on the rear of the covers.
 
The new album featured the talents of actor John Hurt providing narration of 'the story of Debussy' throughout the body of work in a similar way to that of the late Richard Burton on Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds. With pounding dance rhythms, electric guitars, drum & base and high charged orchestral arrangements The Seduction Of Claude Debussy became one of the most critically acclaimed albums of that year. It was very different from what had gone before, although it did contain a few nods towards their old material. Other guest artists included vocalist Sally Bradshaw, Donna Lewis and Carol Kenyon along with rap legend Rakim on the track Metaforce, released as a single two weeks prior to the album release

The group played live in the USA before performing in London where they performed most of the album to their audience. A remix album entitled Reduction was released, packaged together with The Seduction Of Claude Debussy and later available as a separate item before it was deleted. Art of Noise also released two 5.1 surround sound SACDs in 2004, the compilation "Daft" and Reconstructed…For Your Listening Pleasure, the soundtrack to their 2002 Into Vision DVD made up of performances from US & UK live shows. Once again Art of Noise had gone their separate ways until 2004 where Dudley, Horn, Creme and Paul Robinson along with Alan White from Yes performed Close (To The Edit) at the Prince’s Trust Concert – Produced By Trevor Horn. Dudley continued her career with a succession of film scores, Horn & Creme founded The Producers with Stephen Lipson leaving Morley to continue his work as a journalist, author and broadcaster. He also co-founded a new musical act called The Image of a Group with James Banbury, both of whom were responsible for remixing the majority of the Reduction remix album. The duo changed their name to Infantjoy and have so far released two albums.

Further Listening
 
April 2009 saw three of members of the Art of Noise appear at the Royal Albert Hall as ABC performed their classic album The Lexicon Of Love. At the event Dudley conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra, Horn introduced and played on some of the tracks with Langan in charge of the sound. The show was a great success and the second half was also broadcast on BBC Radio 2. They also worked together on Robbie Williams’ album Reality Killed The Video Star, while Horn and Langan worked on Escala's debut album in the same year. During the promotion for Influence in 2010, Jeczalik and Langan recorded a series of radio interviews together for BBC Radio.
 
It has been over thirty years since Art of Noise release their first record. There has never been another group like them since and we may never hear another, some have tried to copy them, but non of them have never managed to achieve what they did, to change the face of music and how records are made.
 
K.M. Whitehouse
 
 
Website Last Updated: 16:00 GMT, Thursday 13th November 2014.
This website © Copyright K.M. Whitehouse 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. "I can't stand tea"
 
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