Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.
In 2018 the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.

June 2019

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2019-06-08

Are friends Zeelectric?

Zee 2019 deluxe edition booklet
Zee 2019 deluxe edition booklet.

As usual for the Church this review of Zee 2019 has turned in a very long and anoraky article. Our sincere apologies.

Introduction: Techno Pop - Elektrik Music - Writing On The Wall - Surrogate Band - Wet Dream

Zee: Brave New 1984 - Dave Harris - Wet Dream II - Qupido - Madcap Revisited - Confusion - Opinions

Release Problems: Before The Sun Is Gone - Zee 2017 - Pledge Music - Burning Shed - Amazon - Music Glue

Identity: Zee 2019 - Confusion - Voices - Private Person - Strange Rhythm - Cuts Like A Diamond - By Touching - How Do You Do It - Seems We Were Dreaming - Eyes Of A Gypsy - Confuclusion

     

Identity by Zee (2019 limited deluxe box-set).
Identity by Zee (2019 limited deluxe box-set).
Zee - Identity (1984 edition).
Zee - Identity (1984 edition).

Techno Pop

In our collective memory the band called Zee has required a top ten place in the 'albums you'd like to forget' section, but of course that applies to a lot of those electro pop outfits of the eighties. For every 'Fade To Grey' there are at least a dozen of equivalent tracks that have died an unnoticed death (anyone remembers Einstein A Go-Go?). Even Kraftwerk, those German electronic pioneers who are venerated more for the image we have of them than for their actual recordings, issued something close to a dud with Electric Café (1986).

Synth-pop and 'new romantics' ruled in the eighties. Members of competing bands regularly helped each other out, working together, creating 'supergroups' or side projects. Of course we had those bands where members left because of musical differences, creating their own, sometimes successful, incarnations. Early Human League, for instance, split into Phil Oakey's highly lucrative band, keeping the old name, and Heaven 17. That last one also had its own, well acclaimed, spin-off BEF (British Electric Foundation).

Another example is musician Vince Clarke who started Depeche Mode and ended up in Erasure. In between he also had hits with Yazoo (featuring Alison Moyet) and The Assembly (with singer Feargal Sharkey from The Undertones). I'll stop here because if I get started about those eighties bands and artists this article will never end.

Elektrik Music

Putting 'big names' together doesn't always have the desired result. I remember Elektrik Music that was a collaboration between Karl Bartos and Emil Schult (both from the Kraftwerk factory), Lothar Manteuffel (from 'Neue Deutsche Welle' sensation Rheingold) and Andy McCluskey (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark). Their Esperanto album wasn't exactly a top-seller, perhaps because they couldn't decide what musical direction to venture into. The single TV was an excellent Kraftwerk leftover though and probably better than anything that has left the Kling Klang studios ever since.

Roger Waters sacking Rick Wright from the band.
Roger Waters sacking Rick Wright from the band.

Writing On The Wall

Pink Floyd fans got quite a shock when they found out, by checking the credits on the back cover of The Final Cut (1983), that Rick Wright no longer was a member of the band. He was already absent on The Wall sleeve, but so was Nick Mason, who was duly pissed off for that and with valid reasons.

Next to the composers of the different tracks, The Wall’s inner sleeve mentions a football team (that's soccer for you, Americans) of collaborators, at least on my (European) vinyl copy, bought on the day of its release: Bob Ezrin (producer/orchestra arrangements), Brian Christian (engineer), Bruce Johnston (backing vocals), Islington Green School (backing vocals), James Guthrie (co-producer/engineer), Jim Haas (backing vocals), Joe Chemay (backing vocals), John McLure (engineer), Jon Joyce (backing vocals), Michel Kamen (orchestra arrangements), Nick Griffiths (engineer), Patrice Quef (engineer), Phil Taylor (sound equipment), Rick Hart (engineer), Stan Farber (backing vocals) and Toni Tennile (backing vocals). Roger Waters and David Gilmour are mentioned as producers, not as musicians.

You could not find Nick Mason nor Richard Wright who were in the band from a time they were called the T-Set.

It also needs to be said that there is another football team of session musicians who weren’t mentioned on the sleeve: Blue Ocean (snare drums), Bobbye Hall (congas/bongos), Chris Fitzmorris (voice), Clare Torry (backing vocals), Frank Marrocco (concertina), Fred Mandel (Hammond organ), Harry Waters (voice), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Joe (Ron) di Blasi (classical guitar), Joe Porcaro (snare drums), Larry Williams (clarinet), Lee Ritenour (rhythm and acoustic guitar), Trevor Veitch (mandolin), Trudy Young (groupie) and Vicki Brown (backing vocals). Neither were the 34 anonymous snare drum players, nor the members of the New York Orchestra and New York Opera.

So when Roger Waters later claimed that A Momentary Lapse Of Reason was a Pink Floyd forgery because of all the hired session musicians he must have had a slight fit of selective indignation.

Surrogate Band

I won’t blame you for skipping the previous paragraph, that reads like one of Roger Waters’ lesser lyrics, so let’s just summarise that from the Pink Floyd personnel on The Wall only the composing and producing group members were mentioned: David Gilmour and Roger Waters, and weird enough no one spotted a discrepancy in that. On top of that, when The Wall hit the road Wright would play next to the others, pretending as if nothing had happened. A surrogate band member on a weekly wage and a crate of Jack Daniels.

Wet Dream (1978).
Wet Dream (1978).

Wet Dream

When the news leaked that Richard Wright had formed a new band this was enough to make us jump enthusiastically in the air. In 1978 Wright had made Wet Dream with a dream-team of session musicians: Snowy White, Mel Collins, Reg Isidore... The album went virtually unnoticed by the general public, but prog or symph rock aficionados were well aware of it. On Belgian national radio it was quite popular on a Wednesday afternoon AOR show where the fantastic 'Mediterranean C' was often tied with Gilmour's equally fantastic 'Mihalis' from his first solo album that had appeared a couple of months earlier.

Pink Floyd had always been a faceless band in the seventies and as such its individual members paid a price when they wanted to go solo, although Gilmour's first did reach position 17 in England and 29 in the USA. Not bad for an aspiring rock star, one might say, but not for a Pink Floyd mogul. Rumours go that Gilmour rehashed his third solo album into Floyd, asking Nick Mason and later Richard Wright to add their names for legal reasons, with A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) as the multi-million-units-selling result.

And now that we are gossiping: it appears that Pink Floyd repeated this trick on The Endless River (2014). While Gilmour added extra layers of guitar, Nick Mason only entered the studio to put his signature under the contract. The end product was frankensteined by a team of engineers and producers. Even the sleeve was a fan-made mockery of a genuine Hipgnosis / Storm Thorgerson cover, although I doubt that anyone at Pink Floyd (1987) Ltd. saw the irony in that.

Brave New 1984

Back to 1984, the heyday of new-romantic and synth-pop, showing us the best and the worst of the genre. The hit-parade was populated by Alison Moyet, Alphaville, Bananarama, Bronski Beat, Culture Club, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Howard Jones, Limahl, Nik Kershaw, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Spandau Ballet, The Thompson Twins, Ultravox and Wham!

Soon, so I hoped, another name would be added to that list, Zee, a collaboration between Rick Wright and Dave Harris. Dave who? Here was someone I had never heard of before.

Dave Harris (2019).
Dave Harris (2019).

Dave Harris

Dave ‘De’ Harris was a member of the band Fashiøn who had a UK top-10 album in 1982 called Fabrique, although their singles only scratched the mid top-100. Previously it had been a post-punk, new wave outfit called Fàshiön Music with an unhealthy appetite for unnecessary diacritics, never a good sign. Fashiøn didn't turn into the next Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet or Frankie Goes To Hollywood what is now explained by claiming that their fusion of electro and funk had been way ahead of their time. Tired of flogging a dead horse Dave Harris was looking for new pastures:

Fashiøn was doing a small tour of East Coast America. I met up with Raff Ravenscroft in New York and he mentioned that Rick was looking to start a band and record an album. (…) I knew I was ready to split from Fashiøn and so when I got back to London, Rick and I got together and after a few meetings with other players, we decided to do the album together as a duo.

Those other players, besides Dave Harris, were bass player John McKenzie, Sky drummer Tristan Fry & sax virtuoso Raff Ravenscroft. It is interesting that Ravenscroft is named here. He appeared on The Final Cut, the Pink Floyd album without Rick Wright, where he sessioned on Two Suns In The Sunset, and on Roger Waters' The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking. He also gigged with David Gilmour.

Wet Dream II

Initially Wright was looking for a traditional Floydian band, like the one he had assembled on Wet Dream, but the love for experimental synthesizers decided otherwise.

According to Harris, in Mark Blake's Pigs Might Fly, Rick was a fan of Talking Heads and Brian Eno. In 1996, promoting Broken China, Rick Wright gave an interview to Q magazine listing his ten favourite albums. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981, Brian Eno & David Byrne) is there, as well as the Talking Heads' Remain In Light (1980). Rick Wright:

Remain In Light really knocked me out with all the cross-rhythms. The bass never seems to come in where you’d expect it. If you want to hear some incredible rhythmic things that are really working then the title track’s the place to be. Of course I didn’t analyse it when I first heard it, but I just knew that there was something different going on. Eno does it all the time as well, which is probably why he and David Byrne get on so well. I couldn’t stop playing Once In A Lifetime when I first got the album, because it was the perfect example of that fantastic Talking Heads trick where they combine quirkiness with a real melodic ear. (Taken from: Rick Wright’s Record Collection.)

One can understand why Rick went into business with Dave Harris:

He wanted a very electronic sound, which is why I think he wanted to work with me.

The duo first started demoing with piano and acoustic guitar, but that ended when they messed around with the Fairlight synthesizer. Pink Floyd was enough of a household name to get an early beta version of its sequencing software and both musicians immediately felt like kids in a toy store. To quote Dave Harris:

It gave us a complete new way of composing.

Despite the age difference and a different musical background their minds 'clicked' and Wright invited Dave Harris and family in his home studio in England where they experimented and composed for eighteen months. Sort of.

Franka & Rick Wright (AMLOR tour).
Franka & Rick Wright (AMLOR tour).

Qupido

Here is where the Church’s story goes astray from the official romanticized version that is told nowadays. It is – as usual – the opinion of the Reverend and not the one of Pink Floyd, nor Zee, its members, spouses, relatives or groupies.

Once the initial and exciting stage of experiment was over Rick Wright lost interest and was less and less available. Dave Harris tried to persuade Rick to play the Hammond on the record.

Getting him to do it was a nightmare.

Wright had a fair share of business meetings to attend to, but also had two divorces to cope with, both on a personal and financial level. One with his ex-wife Juliette, who was apparently still around although they weren't a couple any more, the other with his ex-band Pink Floyd. Apart from that Wright would often disappear to supervise 'work' on his sailboat in Greece. It was soon found out the Fairlight was not the only organ he liked to experiment with.

In an interview with The Mail On Sunday from July 2016, Franka Wright tells how she met Rick at the Qupi bar in Lindos.

I was not interested in him but I could feel his blue eyes on me all the time. (…)
He eventually broke up my marriage by telling my already suspicious husband that he was madly in love with me.

They became a couple in 1982, dividing their time between Wright’s homes in New York, Nice, London, Greece and his boat, before marrying on Rhodes in 1984. She also testifies how Rick 'indulged in every conceivable rock cliché throughout their relationship, from taking industrial quantities of drugs [and alcohol] to sleeping with endless groupies'.

Rick didn’t talk too much about why he left the band, except to say he was fed up with Waters’s ego.

Rick did not only not talk to Roger Waters, when the couple bumped into David Gilmour on Lindos 'both men studiously ignored each other'. That Wright was in a bad shape was clear to her:

When we met, he had only one pair of jeans, his personal hygiene was questionable, and his house in Knightsbridge was shambolic.

Madcap Revisited

So here we have a member of a successful band who is thrown out for not pulling his weight during the recording sessions. He then disappears in relative obscurity and lives a life of booze, drugs and an endless list of groupies.

At first he is enthusiast about making a solo album, but after a few months he leaves the work to others and needs to be forced to carry on. To get rid of the pressure he escapes to a holiday island in smelly jeans…

Sounds vaguely familiar isn’t it?

Dave Harris, in a May 2019 Triple Threat interview stays polite about the behaviour of his bandmate:

I don’t think music was his main priority. I think his happiness was his main priority although we were doing stuff. He had a lot of other personal things going on. (…)
The eighties was a time of cocaine. It was around and it was probably a problem, looking back, for both of us. (…)
His biggest drug was smoking. You never saw him without a cigarette.

It has been hinted that the deteriorating of Rick’s singing voice over the years was due to his nicotine addiction.

Do you like diacritics?
Do you like diacritics?

Confusion

Meanwhile Dave Harris, who didn't have an endless supply of money, felt he had an album to finish. A trip to France, supposedly to write lyrics, turned into a fortnight of them 'getting pissed' and no work done. In the end all song texts ended up written by Harris.

Lead vox: Dave Harris.
Guitars: Dave Harris.
Main keyboards, percussion and Fairlight programming: Dave Harris.
Album title (Identity): Dave Harris.

Even the name for the band, Zee, was Dave’s decision.

How did I come up with the band’s name. It’s really stupid, I said to Rick what about Zee? It’s some sort of a final thing and I love how Americans say zee for zed. And it’s nothing… just Zee.

Unfortunately the Identity sleeve was also done by him, resulting in an overdose of röck döts thät mäde thé tèxt löök räthèr wäcký. Did I already tell you that an abundant use of unnecessary diacritics never is a good sign for an album?

Initially the record company thought otherwise. When the guitarist of a top-ten and the keyboardist of a mythical top-three band get together, surely the result must be worthwhile, isn’t it? Unfortunately the album didn't sound Floydian at all, although the © and ℗ still belonged to Pink Floyd Music Ltd. (Meaning that Rick Wright was still a shareholder in the Pink Floyd company and that, in 1984, the financial divorce wasn't finalised yet.)

I would agree, that the album sounded ahead of its time apart from the Floyd fans who weren’t going to like it, however it turned out!

That’s also a way to describe it. Actually the album sounded dated the day it came out. Kate Bush (1980), Peter Gabriel (1982) and dozens of others had already experimented with the Fairlight, so Zee weren't really pioneers of the 'orchestra in a box'. The Fairlight was so omnipresent on every day's records that Phil Collins found it necessary to put a warning on his No Jacket Required album (1985) that there was no Fairlight on the record. It was the auto-tune of the eighties.

Zee 1984 (picture: Peter Ashworth)
Zee 1984 (picture: Peter Ashworth).

Opinions

The question is if Identity would have sounded differently with Richard Wright at the helm. One thing we will never know. What we do know was that Rick Wright was pretty positive at first. Dave Harris:

Rick wanted to do a follow up album straight away, we had done some work at his house in the south of France and he had the idea to move everything down there and start the next album. (…) Obviously I wasn’t as financially well off as Rick and couldn’t afford to take another year off writing a new album.

Dave Harris took a production job (for Limahl’s first solo album Don’t Suppose) and the duo went separate ways, which lead to some problems with a temperamental Rick. They never spoke to each other ever since. Rick Wright changed his opinion about Identity:

Zee was a disaster, an experimental mistake, but it was made at a time in my life when I was lost.

And although Dave Harris now looks back with tenderness he wasn’t that positive either:

Everything we did ended up sounding like a fucking robot.

Of course one can’t deny the album sounds pretty dated nowadays.

The thing is, the Fairlight was the sound of its time and that made the album sound its time.

One of the good things of Facebook and the internet in general is that people have become more accessible. Dave Harris learned that quite a few people did not implicitly hate the album.

It seems now though thanks to social media and the world being so much smaller, there are a lot of Floydians who did like it at the time and still do.
Identity 2017 tracklist.
Identity 2017 tracklist with 'Before The Sun Is Gone'.

Before The Sun Is Gone

As the album had never been issued on CD (legally) it was about time to remaster and re-release it. Dave Harris even 'reconstructed' a demo "Before the Sun is Gone" to be included as a bonus.

Rick and I started it together as a demo, but it was put aside as with a lot of tracks when you are making an album. But the chord sequence has always stayed with me, and the best we could do was to try and emulate Ricks style of playing (impossible)! But we did the best we could.

While the Wright heirs initially agreed with the extra track this was later revoked.

The track ‘Before the sun is gone’ has been taken off... due to a decision by Gala and Jamie Wright. They wanted the album as it was in 1984 without any extra tracks, but I will be releasing the 7” and 12” of ‘Confusion’ and the B-side ‘Eyes of a gypsy' as a bonus CD. I will be looking to release ‘Before the sun is gone' after the album has been released. Very strange decision, I know the fans of Zee would have loved to hear any unreleased music. Never mind. (Facebook, 20 July 2018.)

Dave Harris' explanation is a bit simple. On an early track-listing for the Identity 2017 album the new track is copyrighted to Harris/Fishman (without Rick Wright). The keyboard player on this salvaged track is Paul Fishman from Re-Flex, from The Politics Of Dancing fame. Adding a new track (without Rick Wright) would have meant renegotiating the copyrights for this album, adding a bit more to Harris and Paul Fishman and a bit less to Wright. If we may be sure of one thing it is that Pink Floyd (and their members, heirs and lawyers) never liked to share a slice of the pie.

(It gets even more complicated when you realize that the B-side of the 'Confusion' single and maxi-single 'Eyes Of A Gypsy' was originally copyrighted to Dave Harris alone.)

Zee 2017 cover
Zee 2017 cover.

Zee 2017

As a company Pink Floyd has never been acknowledged for its swiftness and efficacity. Dealing with them is like the hopping procession of Echternach where the pilgrims move three steps forward and two backwards.

Their own Early Years box-set was twenty years in the making and even then it had to be rushed in the end with some disastrous results if we may believe some reviews. (See: Supererog/Ation: skimming The Early Years)

It took over a decade for the Floyd-machine to clear the copyrights for the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band, with a guest appearance from Syd Barrett, after they tried to bury the tape in their archives. (Read that story at: The Last Minute Put Together Reel Story)

Dave Harris already announced the birth of the ‘new’ Zee in March 2017 and to his own frustration he saw that thanks to the Floyd’s inefficacy to move things forward 2017 went by, then 2018, then the first half of 2019.

That is not all. Once the record was cleared by the Floyd monster disaster after disaster hit the release.

1. Pledge Music

Originally the deluxe version of the record was going to be distributed by Pledge Music, but Dave Harris warned buyers in January that the company was heading for bankruptcy. He recommended to cancel the orders and to place it at Burning Shed instead. Luckily Pledge Music refunded most cancelled orders, but fans who didn’t cancel on time lost their money as Pledge Music stopped business in May 2019.

2. Burning Shed

In March 2019 Burning Shed cancelled all orders with the following text:

We are sorry to say that the release date for this has been put back at least two months.
As a result we have decided that it would be better to remove this item from sale and refund your order rather than making you wait for something that may well be delayed again.
We apologise for any inconvenience and we will issue a refund shortly.

It was later confirmed by Dave Harris that there have been some ‘misunderstandings’ between them, probably money matters.

3. Amazon

Dave Harris then tried to sell the record through Amazon. While this was working on the British and American branches the release was not available at the European websites. So a fourth partner had to be looked for.

4. Music Glue

Last but not least another webshop was suggested by Dave: Music Glue, although they could only deliver the goods with over a month’s delay. But one sunny day in the month of June 2019 it finally arrived at Atagong mansion.

Zee 2019 box-set cover.
Zee 2019 box-set cover.

Zee 2019

Identity 2019 has been remastered from the final mix as the multi-track tapes have disappeared over the years (and that would have meant a remix), but obviously what has been found has been cleaned for this digital release. This CD sounds crispier as ever.

The 2019 version of this album comes in different shapes and formats. A ‘limited edition’ box set, autographed by Dave Harris, contains a booklet, a poster, promo pictures, flyers and a slightly boasting press release blurb from EMI. (See the unboxing of Zee at our Tumblr or Imgur pages.)

ZEE is a long-term project for us, there is no question of just releasing the one album and that being it.

The box set has an extended version of the album, adding the 7 and 12 inch singles (and its B-sides). An extra CD contains 5 ‘Rough Mixes’ that are pretty close to the final release, but not quite yet. Several of these songs sound less ‘robotic’ than on the 1984 record. They come from a cassette that a friend of Dave Harris had in his cupboard for 35 years.

Zee Rough Mixes (original cassette)
Zee Rough Mixes (original cassette).

How does Identity sound 35 years after it has been made? Let's be honest, this is not the world's most venerable electro-pop album, but actually it is not as bad as many people told it was. I wouldn't go as far as calling it a forgotten masterpiece, but it has acquired a certain 'cult' status though.

The best way to take in the album, in my humble opinion, is with a maximum of two or three tracks per session. After that it starts to get tedious. Not only the Fairlight is to blame for that, but also Dave Harris' monotonous singing voice that I am quite allergic to, I have to confess.

Time to start! Let's have one of those fantastical Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit reviews, shall we? (This review is based upon a comparison of the POTWCD001 needle-drop of the album, our vinyl copies, singles and maxi-singles and the 2019 remaster.)

Rick Wright (picture: Tim Palmer).
Rick Wright at the Zee sessions (picture: Tim Palmer).

Zee - Identity

Confusion (4:14)

First track and the obligatory single (somewhat shorter: 3:37) of the album, also released in one of those dreaded 12-inch maxi-versions (6:21) that haunted the eighties. It needs to be said that Dave Harris' previous band, Fashiøn, was one of the pioneers of the extended single format, creating alternative remixes of their regular songs, so it might be interesting to compare the different versions.

Confusion is (apparently) an attempt to mimic Fashiøn's electro-funk and as such the contrast with the Pink Floyd sound couldn't be greater. Actually the track is pretty good but it didn't stand a chance in the charts, against the Bronski Beats and others, not that the other Floyds fared any better. David Gilmour's horrendous Blue Light never made it into the UK Top-100 and Roger Waters' 5:01 AM The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking stranded at 76.

As far a I can hear there is no Rick on this track and people who were expecting the lazy lounge jazz of Mediterranean C may have been very confused indeed.

The maxi-single is a pretty messed up version that adds a blend of Kraftwerkian rhythms and Donkey Kong effects, before and after the song and as such this is pretty standard 'extended' eighties stuff. The single version seems to have some extra blips and tocs here and there, but as you have already figured out for yourself, is about half a minute shorter than the album version. This version fades out, rather than ending abruptly.

The deluxe version of the album has a Rough Mix of this track (4:20), but the difference with the album version is minimal (or even non-existent).

Voices (6:24)

Undoubtedly the best – read: Floydian - track on the album and one that breathes Rick Wright in and out. Dave Harris' voice is sequenced in such a way it could be mistaken for his colleague and that is why several fans – over the years – have insisted that Rick did sing some of the songs, which isn't the case. Rick's backing vocals are quite prominent though (or at least, that is what I have always thought).

In my opinion the track could've benefited from an even more Floydian approach, more repeating echoes for instance and more Floydian musique concrète sound effects.

The deluxe version of the album has a (pretty interesting) Rough Mix of this track (6:15).

Zee re-issue contract.
Zee re-issue contract.

Private Person (3:36)

The Floydian atmosphere is absent on Private Person, although lack of communication is a theme that has been preoccupying Pink Floyd on several of their (post-Waters) songs. The text is open to interpretation and could be a description of the faltering Wright – Harris relation during the recording of the album, but could of course also be extrapolated towards Rick's marriage problems and/or his situation with his old band.

We may talk, but you don't listen
You twist a tale and loose the comprehension
Seems communication is missing
In everything I say

The fact that Wright never revealed his feelings during the making of the album duly frustrated Harris, who had to finish most songs on his own.

I also realised I had no idea what he actually thought of what I was doing, as he never told me.

Not a bad song though, for an album track.

The 1984 version of this track has about a second of synthesised wind noise before the drum beat kicks in. This is missing on the 2019 version, apparently an oversight from the remastering team. (Source: Steve Bennett, 19 May 2019)

The deluxe version of the album has a Rough Mix of this track (3:28).

Strange Rhythm (6:37)

Opinion 1: One of those tracks where the Fairlight experimenting goes around the bend and where Harris' monotonous voice messes up the song. Too long, too dull, too boring.

Opinion 2: When listening to this song on its own it obtains a certain mesmerising charm, but it is nevertheless an album track that doesn’t fulfil its potential.

The deluxe version of the album has a Rough Mix of this track (6:14).

Zee 2018 announcement.
Zee 2018 announcement.

Cuts Like A Diamond (5:39)

First track of Side B. The song starts intriguing enough, with an intro that made me remotely think of Together In Electric Dreams (Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder) that was a 1984 big hit. It is a slow evolving track that profits from an interesting guitar solo in the middle. Also here I have the impression that it could’ve evolved into something brilliant, if only Rick Wright would’ve put more of his magic on it.

The deluxe version of the album has a Rough Mix of this track (5:24).

By Touching (5:40)

First opinion: the intro of the song doesn't promise anything good and perhaps the song isn't that bad, but the multiple Fairlight effects and Harris' humdrum singing are getting too much for me.

Second opinion: after listening to this song as a stand-alone track, it seems to be quite all-right if one manages to ignore the obvious eighties ubiquities. Decent guitar solo at the end but all in all too repetitive and too long.

How Do You Do It (4:43)

This could've been a second single as it tries hard to be a bass-slapping funky tune à la Level 42 with according meaningless lyrics. Not bad if you are in that kind of thing.

Seems We Were Dreaming (5:07)

A song about a dream must start with obligatory wind chimes, even if they have probably been generated – it gets boring, I know – by electronics. Although buried at the end of side two this is another highlight with a Floydian feel. Just like in Voices Dave Harris' voice has been sequenced to vaguely sound like Wright's.

The middle has a storming Floydian keyboard solo, for once not on a Fairlight, but on a Hammond, that could have found its place on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. As a matter of fact this song would not have sounded out of place on that Pink Floyd come-back record, that was unfortunately also suffering from an eighties boom boom tchak approach. Call it the booger sugar syndrome that was hitting musicians all over the world and I’m not only talking about keyboard players this time.

This could’ve been a killer track, if only.

Another Zee 2018 announcement.
Another Zee 2018 announcement.

Eyes Of A Gypsy (4:13)

Issued as an extra track on the cassette version of the album and the B-side of the Confusion single. It also exists in a dub remix for the 12-inch. This track was originally credited to Dave Harris alone and he has confirmed it was written and recorded in a hurry (and without Rick Wright) because the record company wanted an extra track.

On the 2019 re-release the copyrights have been changes to Wright / Harris, for whatever reason.

It is another attempt at a Fashiøn-like-electro-funk-dance-tune and is not that bad even for a throwaway track.

The so-called dub version of the song, that could be found on the 12 inch, is what it is, an almost completely instrumental remix with even more reverb than the original. It suffers from the typical eighties maxi-single remix syndrome.

Confuclusion

So far for the album. It hasn't been all that bad when you listen to it from an eighties electro-pop point of view. Of course fans who were expecting Wet Dream II (that breathed a Wish You Were Here atmosphere) may have been unpleasantly surprised and I can understand that they must have felt more at ease with About Face and The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking.

I always have had a soft spot for this album that already carried the seeds for Rick Wright’s experimental and avant-gardist Broken China (1996) that was also written and recorded as a duo (with Anthony Moore).

With this release it has finally gotten the attention it deserves.

Bonus Interview

Thanks for reading until the end of this article. Here's a little bonus for you. A Rick Wright promo interview from March 1984.

Rick Wright promo interview from March 1984.
Life after Floyd from A to Zee. March 1984.

More pictures can be found at our Tumblr or Imgur pages.


Many thanks to: Steve Bennett, Nino Gatti, Dave Harris, Wolfpack, Franka Wright.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥

Sources (other than the links above):
Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 309-311.
Boddy, Paul: Missing in Action: FASHIØN @ Electricty Club, 2017.
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