too much typing—since 2003


Prague rock?

One of those curiosities: two British bands, both prone to the experimental, both operating in the early '80s, each choosing to record a short sound collage with the title "Radio Prague": I think they even use some of the same samples (guess the source).

First, the earlier, more abstract one, from This Heat's brilliantly odd yet perversely catchy 1981 album Deceit - then, Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark*'s more direct track, recorded two years later as the opening track to their last truly exceptional release Dazzle Ships.

* It's useful to distinguish between the band thus designated and the band typically referred to by the abbreviation "OMD." The latter is the band remembered as one of the early '80s synth-pop bands, with a couple-few relatively minor hits to its name. Not bad stuff, but not very interesting either. The band they were beforehand, though, was much more interesting, its work culminating in two brilliant albums that mixed a stark soundspace, pop melodicism often derived from '50s-inspired chord structures, and experimental cold electronics which, beginning on Architecture & Morality and continuing on Dazzle Ships, occasionally manifested as full-blown avant-garde sound experimentation. The two albums preceding those, their self-titled debut and its follow-up, Organisation, have an engagingly raw sound blending electronics with acoustic drums, but the band's more avant-garde tendencies are largely submerged.

This Heat "Radio Prague" (Deceit, 1981)
Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark "Radio Prague" (Dazzle Ships, 1983)

Next - both Grizzly Bear's and The Grateful Dead's songs called "Alligator"! Nah...probably not...

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