Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Touch Roses by Book of Love

Daniel Miller is a gigantic figure on the world of 80s synthpop. Not only did he dabble in music himself, penning the highly influential cult song "Warm Leatherette" in the late 70s that paved the way for synthpop and industrial to go kinda mainstream, but he also founded Mute Records, who brought us Depeche Mode, Yaz, Erasure, Fad Gadget, and more. There was a long and fruitful collaboration with Mute Records and American company Sire Records, who had been bringing over progressive British music since the mid 1960s; most of the Mute catalog got a Sire release in the States. Daniel Miller also made a name for himself as a producer and remixer, including, as it turns out, remixing this rare version of "I Touch Roses" by Book of Love. I actually hadn't ever heard this version until I found it on youtube just now, and I assumed that it was just a mislabeled "I Touch Roses (Long Stemmed Version)" but this is certainly a different remix altogether. A little digging around shows that it was originally packaged with the "You Make Me Feel So Good" 12" release. I never bought that because most of the remixes on the 12"ers for all of the releases from Book of Love were also present as bonus tracks on the CD release that I got. The casualties there were just this one mix, a dub version of "Modigliani" and a dub version of "Boy."

Of course, keeping in mind the fact that in the 1980s remixes were much gentler creatures than they are now. Now, what you expect from a remix is that remixer take the vocal track and essentially redo the instrumentation all over again, possibly with a nod back to original or possibly not. But in the 80s, they truly were mixed; they played around with different segments of the song, rearranging them, and lightly producing them by adding a few sounds or instruments here and there to change it just a bit. And, of course, to make it longer. This version isn't an overly long version of "I Touch Roses" though, and it just highlights the natural charm of the song.

This is also the first song I heard of Book of Love's, so it was my introduction to the band. Yep, in the 1980s, even tracks like this got some airplay, even in a rather small town that had barely one radio station that was just a slight bit off-center in terms of going beyond Casey Kasem's weekly top 40.

Although its neither here nor there, we had several country stations.

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