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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Drastic Plastic: Expanded Edition' [2CD]
Artist - Be-Bop Deluxe

For those not in the know, Be-Bop Deluxe were an English progressive rock band who achieved critical acclaim and moderate commercial success during the mid to late 1970s.

The band's sound emerged as a mixture of glam rock, prog rock and straightforward rock and roll, where science fiction imagery was common in the lyrics; along with the more traditional themes of love and the human condition.

Esoteric Recordings (via Cherry Red Records UK) have just released a newly remastered and expanded 2 CD edition of Drastic Plastic, the legendary 1978 album by Be-Bop Deluxe.

Drastic Plastic would be the final Be-Bop Deluxe album and was recorded in the summer of 1978 in the South of France at The Villa Saint Georges, Juan-les-Pins, utilizing the Rolling Stones mobile studio, with final sessions taking place at The Manor Studio and Abbey Road Studios.

The record saw Bill Nelson (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Charles Tumahai (bass, vocals), Andy Clark (keyboards) and Simon Fox (drums) venture into new musical styles, with the album being ground-breaking in its move to more “art rock” and “new wave” influences.

In many ways it can be seen as the signpost to where Bill Nelson would head with his Red Noise project with a desire to continue to progress as an artist by pushing musical boundaries.

Co-produced by Bill Nelson and John Leckie, Drastic Plastic was another hit album in both the UK and the USA and featured such classic material as ‘Electrical Language’, ‘Panic in the World’, ‘New Mysteries’, ‘Islands of the Dead’ and ‘Surreal Estate’.

The recording sessions produced many more tracks which would appear as singles (such as Japan) and others that were originally planned for release as an EP set (‘Autosexual’, ‘Lovers are Mortal’, ‘Speed of the Wind’, ‘Quest for the Harvest of the Stars’, ‘Face in the Rain’), all of which eventually appeared on the retrospective compilation The Best of & the Rest Of… later in 1978.

This expanded reissue has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 25 tracks, drawn from stunning stereo mixes from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler and non-album singles and additional tracks recorded for an intended EP.

CD 1: Drastic Plastic: The Original Stereo Mix

1. 'Electrical Language'
2. 'New Precision'
3. 'New mysteries'
4. 'Surreal Estate'
5. 'Love In Flames'
6. 'Panic In The World'
7. 'Dangerous Stranger'
8. 'Superenigmatix (Lethal Appliances For The Home With Everything)'
9. 'Visions Of Endless Hopes'
10. 'Possession'
11. 'Islands Of The Dead'
12. 'Japan' [Bonus Track - A-Side of single released as Harvest HAR 5135 in Sept 1977)]
13. 'Futurist Manifesto' [Bonus Track - B-Side of single released as Harvest HAR 5135 in Sept 1977)]
14. 'Blue As A Jewel' [Bonus Track - B-side of single released as Harvest HAR 5147 in January 1978]
15. 'Autosexual' [Bonus Track]*
16. 'Face In The Rain' [Bonus Track]*
17. 'Lovers Are Mortal' [Bonus Track]*
18. 'Blimps' [Bonus Track]*
19. 'Speed Of The Wind' [Bonus Tracks]*
20. 'Quest Of Harvest For The Stars' [Bonus Track]*

* Recorded at Villa St. Georges, Juan-les-Pins in May and June 1977. Mixed at The Manor studio, August 1977 for an intended EP.

To my mind, Drastic Plastic is a mishmash of their more guitar driven stuff with new tunes that featured synthesizers more prominently. It is not a cohesive album because it points to a post Be-Bop Deluxe existence for Bill Nelson where he would do it all himself, but it's most definitely a quite stunning ambient rock album.

And like pretty much anything else Nelson does, it is always interesting enough to be worth the time. The band is tight, working well together with tracks like the opener 'Electrical Language' a joyous fusion of guitar with a Kraftwerk vibe, 'Love In Flames' showcasing perfectly a hot-dogging Nelson at his best, and 'Panic In The World' is just an all-out pop gem.

That's not to say that Nelson doesn't throw down with some fat-toned, heart-felt wickedness that has made him one of the world's best unknown guitarists (except those already in the know, of course).

For these tunes are what I call "cream-of-the-crop pop". Every song is filled with catchy hooks that not only keep you listening, but stay in your head long after the stereo power button is turned off (the aforementioned 'Panic In The World' being the best example of that).

'Superenegmatix' is a nod to early punk rock (which when this was released, punk WAS early), 'Dangerous Stranger' is reminiscent of Nick Lowe, 'New Mysteries' musically brings to my mind a futuristic, mechanical, marching army, and 'Island of the Dead', is a morbid love ballad!

Indeed, there is a lot of ground that Be-Bop Deluxe covers on the brilliant Drastic Plastic and now coming complete with a lot of the previously unreleased tracks (along with B-sides too), this is the best price of admission yet, and listening experience therein, for all Be-Bop Deluxe lovers of Drastic Plastic.

CD 2: Drastic Plastic: The New Stereo Mix
1. 'Electrical Language'
2. 'New Precision'
3. 'New mysteries'
4. 'Surreal Estate'
5. 'Love In Flames'
6. 'Panic In The World'
7. 'Dangerous Stranger'
8. 'Superenigmatix (Lethal Appliances For The Home With Everything)'
9. 'Visions Of Endless Hopes'
10. 'Possession'
11. 'Islands Of The Dead'
12. 'Panic In The World' (Single Edit) [Bonus Track - A-side of single released as Harvest HAR 5147 in January 1978]
13. 'Electrical Language' (Single Vesion) [Bonus Track - A-side of single released as Harvest HAR5158 in May 1978]
14. 'Love In Flames' (Single Version) [Bonus Track - B-side of single released as Harvest HAR5158 in May 1978]
15. 'Islands Of The Dead' (Take Four' [Bonus Track]*
16. 'The Saxophonist' (Juan-les-Pins Version) (Bonus Track]*

* Recorded at Villa St. Georges, Juan-les-Pins in May and June 1977.

Again, to my mind and ear, Drastic Plastic is yet another filled-to-the-brim with incredible melodic ideas that keep flowing like a wondrous spring of breathtaking musical brilliance throughout.

It's fine writing and musicianship keep this recording floating like a feather on sweetly scented winds and with ace guitarist Bill Nelson's (the Bop behind Be-Bop Deluxe) guitar transcending everything it comes within ear shot of, well, now having this wondrous expanded edition in my hand, life is great once more.

His miraculous tone, phrasing, fluid leads and expert rhythm playing embellish these songs with the joy of a man gifted well beyond most guitarists.

Furthermore, he gives you a listening experience that is seldom rivaled and although Drastic Plastic is not a heavy album by any means, it definitely makes a huge impact on the listener ready to be enveloped by it's warm embrace.

There is also a quite magnificent Expanded Deluxe reissue that has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 88 tracks, (43 of which are previously unreleased), drawn from stunning new 5.1 surround sound & stereo mixes from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler, previously unreleased out-takes from the album sessions, a BBC Radio John Peel Show session from January 1978, along with a CD of Bill Nelson’s previously unreleased demos for the album, A Feeling of Playing.

Also included in that separate release is an additional DVD featuring Be-Bop Deluxe in the South of France, (a collection of Bill Nelson’s 8mm home movies shot whilst recording Drastic Plastic) and the band’s Sight & Sound In Concert performance for BBC TV from 1978.

Another highlight of this limited-edition boxed set is the lavishly illustrated 68-page book with many previously unseen photographs and an essay of recollections by Bill Nelson. Additionally, the set includes postcards and a replica poster.

This special deluxe limited-edition boxed set of Drastic Plastic is a fitting tribute to the creative vision of Bill Nelson and the musicianship of Be-Bop Deluxe.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

www.esotericrecordings.com

www.CherryRed.co.uk





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