Gary Numan is an undeniable pioneer in electronic music. He began his musical career as the singer, songwriter, and producer for the group Tubeway Army, whose self-titled debut was the first LP to ever be released on Beggars Banquet 40 years ago. It has here that he established his signature technique of rugged synthesizer hooks fed through guitar pedals, his sonic emulsions remaining a perpetual step ahead of his peers in the New Wave, Industrial, indie, and metal genres. This compilation documents some of the earliest recordings from the sessions that led to the creation of Replicas, the sophomore record by Tubeway Army, and often considered the first ‘proper’ album by Numan. Some of the “early versions” were previously released as part of a deluxe CD reissue in 2009, but this is the first time these recordings are being presented on vinyl in its original sequence. The sessions originated in late 1978, the results of Numan booking a small studio with the musicians that had played on the Tubeway Army LP, which had been released only a month earlier. While early versions, these aren’t unpolished demos, but true high-fidelity works in progress that highlight previously buried elements of these iconic tracks. This collection includes early takes of enduring Numan songs such as “Me! I Disconnect From You” “Replicas” and “Are Friends Electric”, in addition to “Down in the Park”, one of the more memorable inclusions in classic New Wave doc Urgh! A Music War. The two-disc set is rounded out with a trio of freshly remastered Peel Sessions tracks, giving a taste of the group’s live incarnation at the time. This LP is packaged in a custom die-cut jacket that resembles a vintage master recording, also includes printed inner sleeves with detailed liner notes about the provenance of the included tracks. Recommended.
reviewed by VOIGHT-KAMPFF 11/2019