CD/DVD Review: The Value Of Entertainment + IQ6 Zang Tumb Tuum Sampled

152

Sampled was the first compilation issued by ZTT, first released in 1984. At the time, I was a five-year-old boy living in Toledo, Ohio. So pardon me if I missed it the first time around.

I first discovered the album about five years ago, scoring a used LP for a dirt cheap price. It quickly became one of my favorite compilation LPs, thanks to its oddball assortment of artists, and a stunningly great live version of “Born To Run” by ZTT mainstays Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Even though I don’t know much about many of the artists on the record aside from Frankie and The Art Of Noise, to this day it’s remained on high rotation on my turntable, despite the fact that the copy I had was scratched to hell and back.

Thankfully now I can retire that old, worn-out disc, with ZTT finally giving the album a proper CD release, as part of a two-pack that also includes the first DVD release of ZTT’s 1986 concert film The Value Of Entertainment as an added, um, value.

As the package treats the film as the main attraction, I’ll start with that

The Value Of Entertainment

The Value Of Entertainment is a concert video, filmed in 1986 and hosted by ZTT founder Paul Morley. It’s a pretty short feature (about an hour) that intercuts live footage of ZTT acts like Propaganda and Anna Pigalle with brief diatribes and rants by Morley (including one on stage) about modern pop music, why people listen to music, and what “value” one can find in entertainment.

156

Just like Sampled, the music on Value holds up very well. Art Of Noise are just as bizarre and one-of-a-kind now as they were 30 years ago. And acts like Propaganda make for compelling viewing. But while it’s an enjoyable 80s music throwback, at times Morley comes off as bit of a pompous prick, and the overall pretension of his attitude becomes tiring near the end. This is a man who clearly thought he was doing Very Important Work and wanted you to know about it – whilst wearing a truly hideous suit. I love the concert footage, but by the end I wanted Morely to get the hell off camera.

Fullscreen capture 7252014 150630

Taken from the main feature

Unfortunately, the video as presented here is truncated – apparently taken from a print that was prepared for British TV. Thankfully, the missing footage is included as bonus features, but it was pulled from an old Japanese laserdisc, and looks as such with blurry image quality and burnt in Japanese subtitles. Still, it’s better than nothing.

Fullscreen capture 7252014 150914

Taken from the bonus features – notice the blurred image and incorrect aspect ratio.

As a whole, I don’t think that The Value Of Entertainment holds up enough on its own to warrant a purchase. The concert stuff is good enough, but with so much of the footage dedicated to Morely, it’s just too much of a mixed bag to entirely recommend.

Thankfully it comes with a really good CD…

Sampled

When Sampled first came out in 1984, most (if not all) of the tracks on it were exclusive to the LP. Well, that was a long time ago, and since then most of the cuts from the album have been re-released (some several times over) on CD as well as digitally. Of the original 12 tracks, the ones making their legit, CD debut on this 2 disc set are:

  • Art Of Noise – Closing
  • Instinct – Swamp Out
  • Anna Pigalle – Looking For Love (Demo)
  • Art Of Noise  – A Time To Fear (Who’s Afraid)

That’s four tracks you won’t be able to get otherwise unless you buy this collection. Although keep in mind that “Closing” is barely over a minute long. The Anna Pigalle and Instinct tracks are excellent finds, however, and the Art Of Nose number is just flat-out brilliant and so good that it alone almost makes this package a must-buy.

But wait, there’s more! Seven more bonus cuts to be exact:

  • Art of Noise – Closing (The Director’s Cut)
  • Instinct – Swamp Out (The Director’s Cut)
  • Frankie Goes To Hollywood –  Born To Run (The Director’s Cut)
  • Andrew Poppy – The Amusement (Live at The Value of Entertainment)
  • Art of Noise – Beat Box (from the Ambassador’s Reel)
  • Art of Noise – Medley (from the Ambassador’s Reel)
  • Art of Noise – Beat Box (Live at The Value of Entertainment, 30 May 1985, Extract)

Okay, now of those, five have been previously unreleased:

  • Art of Noise – Closing (The Director’s Cut)
  • Instinct – Swamp Out (The Director’s Cut)
  • Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Born To Run (The Director’s Cut)
  • Andrew Poppy – The Amusement (Live at The Value of Entertainment)
  • Art of Noise – Beat Box (Live at The Value of Entertainment, 30 May 1985, Extract)

Bear in mind though, that the “director’s cut” of “Born To Run” is nearly identical to the original, and even in its alternate form, “Closing” is a damn short tune. The alternate version of “Swamp Out” is pretty different from the original though, and the two live tracks are both fantastic inclusions that any Art Of Noise fan should really enjoy. Combined with the original album, it really makes this CD an excellent document of the early days of ZTT.

161

If ZTT would have put out Sampled as it was 30 years ago, with no bonus cuts and no added DVD, it would have been worth the price tag. Throw in all the added goodies, and you got yourself a no-brainer.

However, as of right now, this package is only available in Japan, so the import fees might be a bit high in your next of the woods. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets a wider (at least UK) release sometime in the future though, so if you’re not willing to shell out the added bucks, I suggest holding tight until then.

One Response to CD/DVD Review: The Value Of Entertainment + IQ6 Zang Tumb Tuum Sampled

  • Tom says:

    I was at the Ambassador’s Theatre show. Apparently the Art of Noise refused to go on just before it started hence Morley’s diatribe. Everyone went to the bar during Andrew Poppy but Propaganda were so good that an encore was demanded. Unfortunately this involved a rather lengthy tape rewind. Best night though + the artwork in the programme. Spot on review as ever.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe