Drastic Plastic

Be Bop Deluxe

album - 10 February 1978

Drastic Plastic - Cover
Bill Nelson
Simon Fox
Charlie Tumahai
Andrew Clarke

TRACKS:

01)  Electrical Language

02)  New Precision

03)  New Mysteries

04)  Surreal Estate

05)  Love In Flames

06)  Panic In The World

07)  Dangerous Stranger

08)  Superenigmatix

09)  Visions Of Endless Hopes

10)  Possession

11)  Islands Of The Dead

ALBUM NOTES:

Drastic Plastic is the sixth and final album by BeBop Deluxe, and was recorded using the Rolling Stones Mobile Unit on location in Juan le Pins in Southern France during May and June 1977. The album was stylistically a departure from their past work and signalled a transition in Nelson's work to a more electronic approach, closer to New Wave music than 70s Rock. As a result, some fans found this change difficult to fully accept. Drastic Plastic was the fourth Be Bop Deluxe album in succession to feature the now established line up of Bill Nelson, Simon Fox, Charlie Tumahai and Andy Clarke.
     
The album appeared on vinyl and cassette, and was promoted by the release of two singles "Panic in the World" and "Electrical Language". Like their two previous singles, both of these failed to chart. Vinyl copies were released in a single sleeve, and the record was housed in an inner sleeve featuring lyrics to all songs.

In North America the album appeared with a slightly revised track listing, with the track "Visions of Endless Hope" replaced with the UK only single, "Japan". Canadian collectors were treated to a limited edition white vinyl edition. When reissued on CD in 1991, EMI elected to enhance the album by adding 3 bonus tracks, although they represent a mixed bag in the context of this album and the reissue programme as a whole. "Blimps" in chronological terms belongs with Sunburst Finish, and "Lights" with Futurama, leaving just "Lovers Are Mortal" as the only appropriate inclusion. If you no longer kept your vinyl copy of Futurama, but require song lyrics, then this CD edition satisfies that need. The informative sleeve notes penned by Kevin Cann provide useful context.

 

In April 2017 Cherry Red and Esoteric Recordings, who, since 2011, have done so much to raise the profile of Bill Nelson's solo recordings from the period 1980 to 2002, acquired the rights to release the Be Bop Deluxe and Red Noise material issued between 1973 and 1979. While this resulted in the deletion of existing physical editions, Cherry Red kept Drastic Plastic on catalogue from 1 June 2017 via the usual download sites such as Amazon and iTunes while an expanded edition was prepared for a 2021 physical release.

 

On 21 February 2021 Drastic Plastic became the fifth Be Bop Deluxe album to be issued as a Deluxe Edition comprising:

  • a freshly remastered version of the original album.

  • a 2020 remix of the full album.

  • 9 bonus studio recordings comprising of single edits.

  • unreleased tracks and material that later appeared on the 'Best Of And The Rest Of' retrospective compilation.

  • previously released live 'BBC In Concert' recorded for Radio.

  • 4 recordings from a 1978 John Peel session.

  • a bonus CD of previously unreleased Bill Nelson demos. 

  • the original album presented in a 5.1 mix.

  • Bill Nelson's previously released 'Be Bop In The South Of France' video. 

  • the BBC TV 'Sight And Sound In Concert' appearance from 19th January 1978.

 

The album is presented in a triple fold out digi-pack and contains a 68 page booklet with an essay penned by Bill Nelson, previously unseen photographs from the period, postcards and a replica poster.   

A 2CD edition of the album is also being released at the same time as the Deluxe Edition which will also replace the standard download edition.  

 

The full track listing for the Deluxe Edition is:

Disc One:

1.  Electrical Language

2.  New Precision

3.  New Mysteries

4.  Surreal Estate

5.  Love In Flames

6.  Panic In The World

7.  Dangerous Stranger

8.  Superenigmatix (Lethal Appliances For The Home With Everything)

9.  Visions Of Endless Hopes

10.  Possession

11.  Islands Of The Dead

12.  Japan

13.  Futurist Manifesto

14.  Panic In The World (Single Edit)

15.  Blue As A Jewel

16.  Electrical Language (Single Version)

17.  Love In Flames (Single Version)

18.  Face In The Rain

19.  Islands Of The Dead (Take Four)

20.  The Saxophonist (Juan Les Pins Version)

Disc Two:

1.  Autosexual

2.  Lovers Are Mortal

3.  Blimps

4.  Speed Of The Wind

5.  Quest Of Harvest For The Stars

6.  New Precision (BBC In Concert 1978)

7.  Superenigmatix (BBC In Concert 1978)

8.  Possession (BBC In Concert 1978)

9.  Dangerous Stranger (BBC In Concert 1978)

10.  Islands Of The Dead (BBC In Concert 1978)

11.  Panic In The World (BBC In Concert 1978)

12.  Lovers Are Mortal (BBC In Concert 1978)

13.  Love In Flames (BBC In Concert 1978)

14.  Blazing Apostles (BBC In Concert 1978)

15.  Superenigmatix (John Peel Session 1978)

16.  Possession (John Peel Session 1978)

17.  Panic In The World (John Peel Session 1978)

18.  Love In Flames (John Peel Session 1978)

Disc Three:

1.  Electrical Language (New Stereo Mix)

2.  New Precision (New Stereo Mix)

3.  New Mysteries (New Stereo Mix)

4.  Surreal Estate (New Stereo Mix)

5.  Love In Flames (New Stereo Mix)

6.  Panic In The World (New Stereo Mix)

7.  Dangerous Stranger (New Stereo Mix)

8.  Superenigmatix (Lethal Appliances For The Home With Everything) (New Stereo Mix)

9.  Visions Of Endless Hopes (New Stereo Mix)

10.  Possession (New Stereo Mix)

11.  Islands Of The Dead (New Stereo Mix)

12.  Japan (New Stereo Mix)

13.  Futurist Manifesto (New Stereo Mix)

14.  Blue As A Jewel (New Stereo Mix)

15.  Autosexual (New Stereo Mix)

16.  Face In The Rain (New Stereo Mix)

17.  Lovers Are Mortal (New Stereo Mix)

18.  Speed Of The Wind (New Stereo Mix)

19.  Quest For The Harvest Of The Stars (New Stereo Mix)

Disc Four:

1.  Speed Of The Wind (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

2.  Surreal Estate (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

3.  The Saxophonist (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

4.  Electrical Language (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

5.  Visions Of Endless Hopes (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

6.  Possession (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

7.  Islands Of The Dead (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

8.  New Mysteries (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

9.  Japan (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

10.  Dangerous Stranger (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

11.  Blue As A Jewel (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

12.  Autosexual (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

13.  Quest For The Harvest Of The Stars (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

14.  New Precision (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

15.  Love In Flames (Bill Nelson Demo 1977)

Disc Five:

1.  Electrical Language (5.1 Surround Mix)

2.  New Precision (5.1 Surround Mix)

3.  New Mysteries (5.1 Surround Mix)

4.  Surreal Estate (5.1 Surround Mix)

5.  Love In Flames (5.1 Surround Mix)

6.  Panic In The World (5.1 Surround Mix)

7.  Dangerous Stranger (5.1 Surround Mix)

8.  Superenigmatix (Lethal Appliances For The Home With Everything) (5.1 Surround Mix)

9.  Visions Of Endless Hopes (5.1 Surround Mix)

10.  Possession (5.1 Surround Mix)

11.  Islands Of The Dead (5.1 Surround Mix)

12.  Japan (5.1 Surround Mix)

13.  Futurist Manifesto (5.1 Surround Mix)

14.  Blue As A Jewel (5.1 Surround Mix)

15.  Autosexual (5.1 Surround Mix)

16.  Face In The Rain (5.1 Surround Mix)

17.  Lovers Are Mortal (5.1 Surround Mix)

18.  Speed Of The Wind (5.1 Surround Mix)

19.  Quest For The Harvest Of The Stars (5.1 Surround Mix)

Disc Six:

Video Content:

'Be Bop Deluxe In The South Of France' - Bill Nelson's Home Movies Filmed Whilst Recording 'Drastic Plastic'

​BBC TV 'Sight & Sound In Concert' 19th January 1978

1.  New Precision (BBC TV Sight & Sound In Concert)

2.  Superenigmatix (BBC TV Sight & Sound In Concert)

3.  Possession (BBC TV Sight & Sound In Concert)

4.  Dangerous Stranger (BBC TV Sight & Sound In Concert)

5.  Islands Of The Dead (BBC TV Sight & Sound In Concert)

6.  Lovers Are Mortal (BBC TV Sight & Sound In Concert)

7.  Panic In The World (BBC TV Sight & Sound In Concert)

 

CURRENT AVAILABILITY:

This 6-Disc box set and 2-CD set is available to purchase in the Dreamsville Store.  



IF YOU LIKED THIS ALBUM, YOU'LL PROBABLY ENJOY:
Joy Through Amplification, Fantastic Guitars, New Northern Dream, Fancy Planets, Special Metal,
Romance of Sustain, Orpheus in Ultraland, Modern Moods for Mighty Atoms, Satellite Songs,
The Alchemical Adventures of Sailor Bill, Golden Melodies of Tomorrow, Practically Wired



BILL'S THOUGHTS:


"I came up with that TV heads image way back in the 1970s, before even some of you good folks might even have been old enough to notice.

"It eventually was photographed for the '70s album, Drastic Plastic, (by 'Sleazy' of Throbbing Gristle), and was originally intended for a front cover, but sadly got relegated to the back cover due to Hipgnosis, (the favoured designers at EMI back then), who supposedly had a 'better' front cover image showing paint being thrown over an artificial kitchen.
Well, what the heck this ever had to do with the musical concept of the album still escapes me and it is one of those record company decisions that simply baffles...But there you go...Art, in the hands of the infidel, turns to banality."
_____

"Getting my first Mini-Moog was exciting because previously you would have had to invest in a bulky and very expensive modular system. The Mini-Moog brought the possibility of synthesis to a much wider range of musicians, myself included. And I wanted to break away from being stereotyped as a 'guitar hero' at that time, but mainly liked the added textures that the Moog brought to the songs."
_____

"Several of the tracks on Drastic Plastic feature drum tape loops rather than 'live' playing. Basically, we recorded a few bars of Simon playing the basic beat, then mixed it to a reel of stereo tape whilst feeding it through a guitar fuzz box and compressor, then we'd cut the tape so that it contained just a couple of bars of drums, then joined the ends of the tape together so that it formed a physical tape loop and then ran this 'round and 'round, on constant repeat, copying it back to the multitrack, adding gated reverb to make it more explosive. The band then played to the tape loop rather than to a live kit. Thinking about it now, it was like an early, primitive, version of 'sampling'. The idea was to get a repetitive, neo-mechanical, machine drum feel to the rhythm, rather than the usual rock approach. The home demos I made for the album have a very similar feel and we often spent time in the studio trying to re-create the groove of those demos."
_____

"Visions of Endless Hope": "from Drastic Plastic has birdsong and wind sound...but it's all live in real time, as the guitar parts were recorded in the open-air in the garden of 'Villa St George' in Juan Les Pins in the South Of France. Every bird cheep and breezy tree shimmer was picked up by a ring of microphones as I played the Ovation 12-string guitar whilst sitting in the middle of the villa's garden."

ALBUM REVIEWS:

Review on JP's Music Blog

 

Review on Goldmine

 

Review on AnneCarlini.com

 

YouTube review by Pete Pardo

Review on Daily Vault



FAN THOUGHTS:

peterc62:

"When I first played Drastic Plastic and heard the song "Electrical Language". I thought WTF is this? I grew to love the track and wished there was more pure electronica like it on the album. Although I suspect Simon Fox would have been a bit hacked off not playing a real kit."


Michael:

"I remember back in 1978 my friend's older brother, who was the first person I ever knew with Be Bop Deluxe records, thought you had lost it with Drastic Plastic. I thought it was the best thing I'd ever heard! Perhaps that was the first but far from the last time you challenged your fanbase."


Andre:

"I have to say, living in this insane planet, that I bought Drastic Plastic when it was first released and I loved every song on first hearing. It is ALL hit potential...in a sane world."


paul.smith:

"After absorbing Drastic Plastic in early '78 I remember considering what the next development would bring...tracks like "Possession" and "Superenigmatix" were so not of the previous, and kind of gave a hint of things to come, albeit in hindsight as we now know."


andygeorge:

"Who would have thought that "Electrical Language" from Drastic Plastic was about people communicating via 'electronic devices' and not talking face to face?...Ring any bells with today's norm of texting and emails?...and Bill predicted this over 30 years ago!"


Ian Nelson (from Music In Dreamland by Paul Sutton Reeves):

"There are phrases in the English language which, if not entirely original, have passed unobtrusively into common usage after being coined by Bill. How often do you see the term 'Drastic Plastic' used as a strap line for an album review?"


Jon Wallinger:

"I first heard Be Bop Deluxe as I walked/cycled around the village I grew up in (and live in once again). You could pretty much hear them all around the village as they rehearsed in the wooden hut that served as a village hall. We used to stand on our bikes to spy through the windows, then when we got a bit braver, we'd sneak into the hall to watch from the back.  This will probably have been rehearsals for the Drastic Plastic tour as I can distinctly remember them rehearsing 'Panic In The World'.
How bizarre that 30 years later, I was in a band with Bill Nelson playing some of those very same songs!!!"

 

© Bill Nelson 2021

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