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New Musik - From A to B – The Sony Years

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 20 / 3 / 2023

New Musik - From A to B – The Sony Years
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


Classic new wavers New Musik get almost their entire catalogue compiled on four discs, and Tommy Gunnarsson is thrilled to hear the amazing debut album again!

For some, New Musik is probably best known for their hit singles ‘Living by Numbers’ (which climbed to #13 in the UK) and ‘This World of Water’ (#31 in the UK), but for me (and many others) they are so much more than that! The band was formed in London by singer/guitarist/main man Tony Mansfield, bassist Tony Hibbert and drummer Phil Towner back in 1977, all three of them also members of The Nick Straker Band. The debut single, ‘Straight Lines’ (which is one of their best songs, of you ask me), came out in 1979, and the next year, the marvellous debut album, ‘From A to B’, came out and hit the UK Top 40. By then, the band had been joined by keyboardist Clive Gates, who would be an important part of the band’s future sound. The second album, ‘Anywhere’, came out in 1981, followed by the departure of Towner and Hibbert, which left Mansfield and Gates on their own to record the band’s final album, the far more electronic ‘Warp’, which came out in 1982. The band split up after the aforementioned album, and Mansfield would go on to have a very successful career as a producer, perhaps most notably for bands like Naked Eyes, Captain Sensible and A-ha’s smashing debut ‘Hunting High and Low’ (which he co-produced with Alan Tarney). He later withdrew from the music business, after producing Latvian Eurovision winners Brainstorm’s album in 2001, and it seems almost impossible to find out what he’s up to these days. All three New Musik albums have been previously available on CD with additional bonus tracks, but this new 4CD box set compiles them all in one place, with bonus tracks containing some of the extra tracks from the earlier re-releases, with some new ones thrown in as well. So, let’s take a look at the tracklists, shall we? The first three discs are fairly straightforward – it’s just the three original albums without any bonus material. As I mentioned earlier, the debut album is pure brilliance, with more or less every song being a potential hit single, and while the second album does have its moments (like the single ‘While You Wait’), it lacks the punch and the midtempo songs from the debut. It does sound modern and ahead of its time in some ways, though. And ‘Warp’… well, I know many New Musik aficionados think that this is their masterpiece, but I really can’t agree. There are far too few good songs, and you can hear that Mansfield and Gates focused more on production than on song writing. So, on to the bonus disc then, and this is probably where it’s gets most interesting if you already own the albums. There are a few things new to CD here, most notably the single edit of the debut single and ‘While You Wait’, but also a few things missing for it to be complete collection (which it doesn’t claim, to be honest), namely ‘And’ and ‘Under Attack’, originally released as cassette-only bonus tracks on the ‘Anywhere’ album. Sure, I guess most people can continue living their life as before without this addition, but still… it would be rather easy to include them on this fourth disc. Anyway, the rest of the bonus tracks here are B-sides to 7” and 12” singles, plus a few remixes and extended versions. Something for the already converted, I suppose. But then again, maybe this new box set will gain the band a few new fans as well? The booklet contains an essay about the band and some photos, and looks great! All in all – a great box set for the New Musik fans, despite the fact that the die hard ones will debate the tracklist forever and ever.

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New Musik - From A to B – The Sony Years

New Musik - From A to B – The Sony Years

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