The Yello music man releases a limited edition box set. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
If you’re sat wondering what contribution Boris Blank has made to modern music, then wonder no more. The man often known as ‘the other one’ to Deiter Meier in Yello has released a quite magnificent collection of fifty-eight unreleased tracks spanning almost forty years in a quite lavish package.
Three vinyl albums, one metal-reel cassette, a double cd, one dvd and a thirty-six page booklet will set you back around £80, but is it any good? Well, the simple answer is ‘Yes’.
There are no inclusions of singles here, no Oh Yeah or The Race (although there are some tracks which may have been those two as work in progress?), but what is here is a fascinating insight into the workings of Blanks mind.
Remember that Blank never intentionally learned an instrument or to read music, but his imagination allowed him to construct the mightiest of soundscapes. When he started out in 1977 the sampler had yet to be invented, yet Blank still sampled sounds by means of tape loops and almost created something which would be commonplace many decades later. A true trailblazer.
Amongst the incredible retrospective are several new tracks including the title track with its throbbing bassline and racing melody he even manages to sneak in an acceptable vocoder within the funky wah-wah hook.
There are huge elements of the eccentric side which has followed both Blank and Meier for many years. Cigarette Girl has whoops, and shouts and carnival drums, Future Past is a massive slab of techno house come euro-dance wonderfulness which steams along like roaring train out of the boring predictableness of modern day dross.
An influence to many a modern day artist, Blank has always been a music maverick and true original. Electrified clearly shows the massive contribution he has made to music over the decades, and with the evidence of some of the new material, shows that he hasn’t finished yet. Maybe the track She’s Got Balls reflects his own personal musical crusade?
With a new Yello album planned for 2015, maybe the timing for this release couldn’t be any more perfect.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.