Sunday, October 24, 2010

unlock that funky chain dance

The mighty electronic funk collection, Heaven 17, are about to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut, "Penthouse And Pavement". I do believe I feel a bit faint. How could thirty years have slipped through the ether so quickly?

Next month, to mark the occasion, H17 are about to launch a tour of the UK where they will play the entire album in a live setting for the very first time ever! I would sell a testicle to attend those shows. Unfortunately, in the wake of opening a brand new business, I won't have any time in my schedule to travel across the great Atlantic. Sad face, indeed.

A few days ago, Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory appeared on "Later...With Jools Holland" for a brief bit of promotion in the run up to the soon-to-be-released, expanded edition of "Penthouse And Pavement". Check out their performance of "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" where these electro gentlement show the children how it's done!

Is there a better interviewer for musicians than Jools Holland?

During the evening, as they mentioned in their short interview, they played their signature tune, "Temptation", which, in fact, appeared on "The Luxury Gap", the follow up to "P&P".

It appears H17 have resurrected the original version of "Temptation" for their live, electro extravaganza rather than perform the Brothers In Rhythm production that saw the song revisit the UK charts in 1992.

My brain is exploding like a hamster in a microwave just thinking about how amazing the "Penthouse And Pavement" shows are gonna be.

Before I soil myself, here's the tracklisting for the forthcoming expanded edition of the groundbreaking elpee which is scheduled to hit the "shops" on November 22. The original album reached #14 on the UK album chart way back in 1981.

"Penthouse And Pavement"

CD 1

1. (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
2. Penthouse And Pavement
3. Play To Win
4. Soul Warfare
5. Geisha Boys And Temple Girls
6. Let's All Make A Bomb
7. The Height Of The Fighting
8. Song With No Name
9. We're Going To Live For A Very Long Time

CD 2

1. Penthouse And Pavement (Original Demo)
2. (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (Original Demo)
3. Play To Win (Original Demo Instrumental)
4. Soul Warfare (Original Demo)
5. Are Everything (Original Demo)
6. BEF Ident (Alternate Version)
7. Decline Of The West (Alternate Version)
8. Rise Of The East (Alternate Version)
9. Music To Kill Your Parents By (Alternate Version)
10. Uptown Apocalypse (Alternate Version)
11. A Baby Called Billy (Alternate Version)
12. Rhythmic Experiment 1
13. Rhythmic Experiment 2
14. Boys Of Buddha Experiment
15. At The Height Of The Fighting (Original Rhythm Track)
16. Rhythmic Loop Experiment
17. Funky Experiment
18. Song Experiment
19. Heavy Drum Experiment
20. Play To Win (Original Demo with Vocals)

The first disc features the original album. The second disc includes twenty - count 'em! - previously unreleased tracks. A DVD featuring this year's BBC documentary on the band will also be included. The entire re-issue has been lovingly curated by Martyn Ware and promises to be an electro delight. Absolutely brillopads!


  1. Homina…homina…homina!!!!! This is freaking amazing! It's the best possible deluxe remaster!!! It in no way overlaps my efforts thus making all the work I did remastering my H17 BSOG® a wasted effort. If you want all of the releases mixes/variations/B-sides I've got it down on disc for my edification and yet H17 have opened the floodgates to give a bushel of unreleased mixes/versions to the world. If they're anything like the superior-to-all-other-versions demo version of "Temptation" that surfaced on the recent "Best Of" CD a while back, then we're in for a sublime treat!

    Of course, anyone who hasn't spent the countless hours/dollars compiling and remastering my BSOG® might be a bit peeved that the plentiful released rarities are still not on a CD they can buy at the shops. Maybe a 3xCD+DVD should have been the order of the day?

    Because here's what I have from P&P era that's not reflected here:
    1. Fascist Groove Thang [+ B.E.F. ident #1]
    2. Decline of the West [B.E.F.]
    3. I'm Your Money
    4. Are Everything
    5. I'm Your Money [specially fortified dance mix + B.E.F. ident #2]
    6. Play To Win [12 inch ver.]
    7. Groove Thang [B.E.F.]
    8. Wichita Lineman [B.E.F.]
    9. Play [7 inch ver.]
    10. Penthouse + Pavement [7 inch ver.]
    11. The Height of the Fighting [He-La-Hu]
    12. Play [12 inch ver.]
    13. Honeymoon In New York [B.E.F.]
    14. Penthouse + Pavement [12 inch ver.]
    15. He-La-Hu [inst. ver.]
    16. Perfect Day [B.E.F.]
    17. Penthouse + Pavement [12 inch inst. ver.]

    Over 80 minutes of subversive electro funk.

  2. Loved them on Jools and it made me feel old that they were the best thing on it this week! Another deluxe re-release for my shopping list, I think.

  3. Penthouse and Pavement is one of those albums I can never live without! I think I have every media format it came out on, have listened to it possibly more than any other albums, save Ocean Rain by Echo and the Bunnymen, and consider it the best marriage of electronics and pop that came out in the 80's! It was easy to see how the competition between H17 and Human League Mk.2 would play out. The music on P&P is just much more forward leaning and didn't attempt to be radio friendly - all the better for it I feel.
    I have championed Heaven 17 for 30 yrs now and their body of work is exceptional. Martyn Ware is really an unsung music genius and Glenn Gregory has a voice that you recognize from the first note!

  4. @postpunkmonk - You are correct. Many of the tracks you mention are missing from the newly remastered "P&P" deluxe edition. However, in 1997, Caroline issued a CD with featured the 12" versions of "I'm Your Money" and "Play To Win".

    In 2006, "P&P" was remastered by Virgin and released in the UK for the 25th anniversary. That included "Honeymoon In New York", Decline Of The West", "Groove Thang" and the 12" of "Are Anything". So that stuff is out there.

    However, I agree with you. A super deluxe version should have been produced for fans like us who want everything cohesively mastered in one collection.

  5. I love the whole album but "Geisha Boys And Temple Girls" is an all-time favorite.