“I’m pretty sure the first time I heard what came to be known as rap music was 1982, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. To my ears, it was just another pop-gimmick, albeit a pretty cool one. Big funky groove with some hip rhyming on top. But jump ahead a few months and no less than Malcolm McLaren (who’d previously helped invent the New York Dolls and the Sex Pistols, if you believe his bio) seemed to be singing (for lack of a better word) this new form’s praises. But it wasn’t just about the rhyming and grooving now, it was also the sampling (not that we’d heard that word yet), grabbing beats and pieces from wherever you could find them (some local NYC radio DJs, an old funk 45, a square dance album, some high school girls having a blast, the backstreets of Soweto), and just sort of jamming everything together, smacking it all around, somehow squeezing out what might be called a song, the weird and wonderful part being that it worked. In fact, I’ll always remember the party where I first heard Buffalo Gals, a friend’s place, everyone trying to get excited about Elvis Costello or whoever and suddenly this other tape got put on. So weird and fun that all you could do was dance to it. And then the album Duck Rock showed up to drive home the point that whatever was going on, it wasn’t just some one-off. Having ex-Buggle and Yes man (and future Art Of Noise instigator) Trevor Horn in the producer’s chair may well have been a factor.” (Philip Random)
In which Malcolm McLaren, best known for his genius level mismanagement of the Sex Pistols (it’s a long story) leaves Punk well in the rear view and embraces … what exactly? “It was Young Tim (friend of a friend) that turned me onto Duck Rock. More to the point, he forced it on me, because I wasn’t biting at first. Even with the Pistols connection. Because the guy clearly could not sing, and there was no evidence of proper punk aggro on it anywhere. Just exotic sort of party grooves and sounds (sampling before we even had a name for it, Trevor Horn take another bow). And, in the case of Double Dutch, high school girls skipping rope with a vengeance. Until one night, a little wasted, there I was dancing to it. It was fun. Cultural boundaries were eroding, great Jericho walls were crumbling, everything seemed possible, I was smiling.” (Philip Random)
“Propaganda are mostly forgotten now, but trust me, this is what 1985 sounded like. Big, majestic, mysterious, not afraid to explore the darker side of things – a dream within a dream indeed. All credit to the band themselves, who I know nothing about except I think the woman doing the singing was German (maybe they all were). But don’t overlook the guy in the control room, twiddling the dials, pulling it all together – one Trevor Horn who was rather a big deal at the time working with the likes of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ABC, Grace Jones, Malcolm McLaren’s Duck Rock, not to forget Yes and The Buggles (he was in both of them). Pop sonic artist of the decade? There are worse arguments.” (Philip Random)
ABC were white guys with a thing for big, sophisticated soul. Trevor Horn was an ex member of both Yes and the Buggles with a talent for big, sophisticated production. Together they made a beautiful monster called Lexicon of Love, with 4 Ever 2gether a weird gem about drugs and love and evil tucked away deep into side two.