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Add N to (X) – Oh Yeah Oh No (90s – 61)

September 19, 2013

It was the tail end of the decade. My radio program had been running for two years. The 2UNE station manager, now a respected senior producer and presenter in our national broadcasting service, happily channeled any music my way which didn’t fit on any other program. And one day she handed me an album by Add N to (X) called Avant Hard.

I never heard of the group before, but their assemblage of old synthesisers spoke to me. I grew up with synthesised soundtracks on everything from Doctor Who to radio advertisements; the synth as a symbol of the future. And now, in that future, the sound of old synths was the nostalgia of my past. Everything clicked for me: the collage cover, the soft whirrs, harsh screeches and clockwork beats of the technology; even the sampling of Dave Stewert’s Egg, one of those still mystical Canterbury bands linked to my beloved King Crimson, Robert Wyatt and Bill Bruford’s Earthworks.

Oh Year Oh No is especially noteworthy as the first time I (knowingly) heard the voice of Alison Goldfrapp. (It was only this year I realised she was the voice of Tricky’s Pumpkin). This Add N to (X) release came a year before her duo released a solo CD and at a time when she still had an (incorrect) public image of being difficult in interviews. To me both groups became linked into a narrative which would have an influence on my listening (and some radio playlists) for the next couple of years. But that is another decade..

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