BELGIAN synthpop originators ‘n’ pranksters Telex have announced they’re going into partnership with Mute, the very first realisation of which is a career retrospective in This is Telex, a new 14-track compilation, featuring new mixes of 12 classics from the oeuvre and a brace of previously unreleased tracks.
This is Telex will be released on limited coloured vinyl – deliciously garish shrimp pink and fern green – cassette and CD, and will feature sleeve notes from Mars By 1980 author David Stubbs. It’ll also be available digitally and in a limited edition T-shirt bundle.
The compilation will feature subtly brightened singles from across Telex’s career, from their debut single, “Twist à Saint Tropez” in 1978 through to their final album release, How Do You Dance? in 2006.
The new mixes and remasters were undertaken by surviving members Dan Lacksman and Michel Moers, and notably often involved subtracting from, rather than adding to, the original multi-track recordings.
“We simplify,” explains Dan Lacksman. “We take away, to create something more efficient, more Telex.”
Obviously there’s room for greats from the catalogue, such as “Moskow Diskow” (see a new version of the video below) and “Euro-vision” – but it gets really interesting with these heretofore unheard tracks, both covers: a take on “Dear Prudence” and slow swing through Buddy Rich’s “The Beat Goes On”, entitled “The Beat Goes On Off”, indebted to Sonny & Cher’s swanky 1967 version.
There’s also room, of course, for their version of Sparks’ seminal “The Number One Song In Heaven”, on which they have a co-writing credit.
Telex and their electronic pop were regarded with suspicion in 1978, with a serious-playful manifesto about our technological future, and they delighted in an off-kilter cover; yep, it was them who hit the British charts with that eerie, minimalist take on “Rock Around the Clock”.
They famously entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980 with“Euro-vision”, finishing seventeenth; Michel Moers regards their entry as “very Situationist International, the worm in the apple.”
It was the year Johnny Logan won for Ireland with “What’s Another Year”, and Michel recalls a conversation with the eventual winner and telling him, “you’re going to win”, to which Johnny Logan is reported to have replied: “Yeah. But if I win it’s good for me. If you win, it’s good for music.”
Telex announced their collective retirement in 2008, following the death of Marc Moulin, but this compilation heralds a thorough reissue campaign, starting with This Is Telex.
“We’re so glad to have signed with Mute. We couldn’t have done better,” says Michel; “It’s like a dream, fantastic,” adds Dan.
Telex’s This Is Telex will be released on April 30th; you can pre-order your copy here.