gullbuy music review

A Certain Ratio


I'd Like to See You Again




A Certain Ratio CD coverI'd Like to See You Again is a reissue of the band's fourth album from 1982, with 5 bonus tracks added on. I like this record and the bonus tracks a lot. In fact, I'd say it is my favorite A Certain Ratio release! In 2005 this record sounds very contemporary. A strong disco influence appears all over the record, with drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) laying down very solid disco beats. The elements of early A Certain Ratio that remain in effect are trumpet, slap bass, and baritone male vocal (well, at least on one track: Touch). The elements that are gone are female vocals and the melancholy sound which characterized most Factory Records bands. The newly added elements include lots of percusssion, party chant backing voices, whistles, and the solid disco beat.

Because of the solid disco beat, this record was dismissed when it was first released. Fans that had stuck with the band since the All Night Party 7inch were appalled at the direction their band had taken, as the "disco sucks" movement started in Chicago had already occured before the release of the disc. Vocalist Martha Tilson had already left the band. People knew that bassist Jeremy Kerr and guitarist/trumpet Martin Moscrop were already gigging around with their new band Swamp Children, later to become Kalima. It did not seem worth following A Certain Ratio, a band that appeared to be well past its prime.

Looking at this record 23 years later with fresh eyes, it is really quite good. There are many instrumentals, and lots of extended percussive breaks. Where other punk/funk bands had remained true to their earlier styles (APB remained a pop band, The Pop Group remained psycho no wavers), A Certain Ratio grew and breathed, evolving into something far from what it started as.

Touch opens up the record with bass licks and beats that could have been on ABC's Poisin Arrow - that is not the dark ACR you might be familiar with.

Saturn is an instrumental that uses trumpet and the lead instrument. Jeremy Kerr's bass is all over the track too. the trumpet/bass combo gives it a slight Pigbag feel, though Saturn has more subtleties than Pigbag. I like the party chant wordless vocal, whistle and percussion near the end.

Hot Knights has a heavy handed synth part which provides the melody the vocals work off of, similar to the way Electroclash bands would construct their songs 20 years later.

The title song I'd Like to See You Again is an instrumental (well, there are fairly submerged unintelligible vocoder vocals), with a trumpet and keyboard driven melody. The sound is warm. I think of Japanese broken beat/house/jazz artist Yukohiro Fukutomi.

Show Case has vocoder vocals and slap bass right up front. It is punk/funk in the music, and electro in the vocal.

Axis is another punk/funk instrumental centered around the slapped bass and drum interaction.

Sesamo Apriti - Corco Vada starts off a mindtrip piece with nothing but voices and handheld percussions for the first 1:40 - like something you would hear in Blair Witch Project - before the track gets an afrobeat sound and becomes very tribal.

Guess Who is a vocal track with a disco drum beat and lyrics such as "work that body, don't hurt nobody - stand still, don't you dance - you missed your chance! Up, down, on the floor, get it up, need some more." This is the most 'disco' track on the original album. There is a strange warped instrumental break from a treated guitar. During the break the guitar makes sounds like the doppler effect of a race car speeding by. The vocals have a lilt like Josef K or Jazzateers.

The first two bonus tracks comprise the 7inch Knife Slits Water, and its B-side Tumba Rhumba. Knife Slits Water features drummer DoJo on vocals.

The next bonus track is I Need Someone Tonite, which originally came out as both a 7inch and 12inch on Factory Records. This track would put early A Certain Ratio fans into a tizzy. Once again DoJo does the vocals, and they are miles away from the baritone vocals Simon Topping recorded for so many ACR tracks, including this album's opening track Touch. I Need Someone Tonite is straight-up disco. The flip-side of the single was a cover of the Stevie Wonder song Don't You Worry Bout a Thing, but it was not included on this reissue.

Next is a remix of the album track Guess Who. The mix was done by Jean Marie Salun, and originally appeared on the compilation Factory Benelux Greatest Hits, which came out in December 1983. The final track on the CD is the 12inch version of Knife Slits Water, originally released in September 1982. Both of these remixes add over-the-top sounds and flourishes to the tracks. You can draw a parallel between these mixes and the sounds New Order were experiemtning with on tracks like Blue Monday at around the same time. As Donald Johnson was working with members of New Order on their collaborative record label Be Records at this time, it is not that surprising that there would be similarities between their works.

Once again LTM have done a great job of giving us a wonderfully mastered reissue of a forgotten album, with plenty of bonus tracks tagged on - the bonus tracks are the jewels of this release. Along with the Isabelle Antena CD En Cavelle, this is my favorite recent LTM release.

Faves: 1,8,10

---Carl, July 12, 2005