Friday, 13 October 2017

League Unlimited Orchestra - Love And Dancing (1982)

I've had a genuine affection for The Human League most of my life, from taping their singles off the radio as soon as I was old enough to operate a tape recorder, to discovering the much darker wonders of their first album in my teens.  Later on, Reproduction lost my interest a bit on discovering that Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle et al were what I was really looking for in that direction, but getting into Dare as a complete album made me realise what a true classic it was from start to finish.

Love And Dancing, though, is in a different league altogether (pun very much intended) and has become my absolute favourite thing associated with the band.  Taking on a different guise - one whose name was apparently in homage to Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra - Oakey and crew pulled together nearly-instrumental versions of seven Dare tracks and one B-side into two continuously mixed sides that made their electronic pop genius shine all the brighter, burnished by Martin Rushent's immaculate mixing & production.

The result on the perfect first side sounded like Kraftwerk circa Man Machine taking time out of a UK tour to stumble into a Northern Soul club and feeding the sheer euphoria into three new songs.  The Human League had of course been influenced by Kraftwerk from day one, but this is almost like a full-on homage (is that a cheeky little Europe Endless tribute at the start of Love Action?).  I've almost no words to describe the 7-minute version of Don't You Want Me - just sheer perfection in every second, turning a nowadays over-exposed pop evergreen into peerlesss dancefloor magnificence.

On Love And Dancing's second half, the darker tones of Dare mostly hold sway - the tracks that were most obviously a progression from their first two albums.  The JFK-assassination inspired Seconds and The Things That Dreams Are Made Of sound particularly ominous here, although the latter does drop in some of Oakey's most humourous lyrics ("Norman Wisdom, Norman Wisdom" dub-style almost makes me crack a smile).  Following up Seconds with the bright, chirpy melody of Open Your Heart was yet another stroke of genius.  I haven't used the 'favourite albums of all time' tag for a while now, but Love And Dancing sure as hell deserves it.

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5 comments:

  1. On a musical level - generally speaking for this era, but on this release in particular - "Rushent and crew" pulling this together would be the more accurate phrase.

    As good as this is, however, if by some chance you, or anyone, has never bumped into all of the extended and dub mixes he did for Pete Shelley from 81-83, seek pronto. Those are his absolute masterpieces along these lines.

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    1. Yeah, you're right. Rushent's picture should've been in the top row on this release, not the bottom!

      Didn't realise he was no longer with us until I googled him a moment ago; shame that. Will definitely check out the Pete Shelley stuff - think I've only heard one Shelley solo album a while back, but I remember liking it.

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  2. Homosapien and XL1 are the ones. Different issues of the CDs have different combinations of some of the longer mixes, but between them, other blogs and YouTube, you should be able to round them all up. As I say, they are most definitely the companion pieces to the League Unlimited album, so they should be right up your street.

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    1. Cool, thanks again. It's only Sky Yen that I've heard, so will get those two on the to-do list.

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  3. Brilliant album. A lot of terrific remix work happening back then.

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