Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gary Numan Interview from 1979

Although I can't say I am the world's hugest Gary Numan fan, it was undoubtedly his track "Cars" that was the first time I ever noticed synthesizers on a song. I was just a kid when it came out, but I desperately wanted to know what was making those cool string sounds (a preset on the Polymoog, it turns out). He's always been a bit hit or miss for me, but there is no denying the greatness of tracks like "Cars", "Are 'Friends' Electric?", and "Down in the Park" and I wonder if my life would've taken a different path had I never heard them. At any rate, here's an Australian interview with Mr. Numan from 1979.


robin said...

"Replicas" and "The Pleasure Principle" are both pretty essential Albums. Especially the later, which I find to be an excellent reference for mixing synths. I haven't really heard anything outside of that that's excited me, though.
I wish that pop musicians still sang about PKD inspired dystopian visions of the future.

Anu said...

I don't think you can mention "Replicas" and "The Pleasure Principle" without mentioning "Telekon".

These days I think "Telekon" is the best of the 3 - there are more varied textures and moods. The other 2 records are very strong in parts, but a bit monochromatic.

I am sort of a reformed Numan fan. I also like "Dance" and "I, Assassin". They're weird albums - not new wave, not pop, not punk (and many would argue, not GOOD).

"Dance" in particular is fantastic - it was a 60 minute LP. The first side has 4 songs on it - 2 are over 8 minutes long, and it all features Mick Karn of Japan playing bass, plus Roger Taylor of Queen on drums(!). "Slowcar to China" and "Cry The Clock Said" are unique and point the way for synths to be more expressive and less gimmicky.

But from "Warriors" on, I think Numan really lost the plot and started charting this weird semi-pop course which resulted in some truly terrible music.

His late period stuff (from "Sacrifice" on) is sort of gothy or darkwave. Brooding Hot Topic Gothdustrial. Unfortunately, he's been making the same record over and over with slightly better production each time. It's a new rut, and only slightly hipper than his previous "I wish I were Robert Palmer" rut.

I'm happy he's still making music, though. Huge inspiration for me.