Phil Manzanera’s Expression Records to release The 801 Series

On August 11 2009, Phil Manzanera’s Expression Records, will release The 801 Series, comprised of 801 Live Collector’s Edition, 801 Manchester, 801 Live @ Hull and 801 Latino. All four albums have been digitally remastered and repackaged with extras. The original classic album, 801 Live, is presented in a book form with an extra CD containing previously unheard rehearsal footage from Shepperton Studios as well as new photographs and text.

Phil Manzanera:
“Over the years I’ve been sent photos from these gigs, which led me to go back to the original concert tapes, and then Bill MacCormick came across yet more photos and struck gold with the audio of the 801 Shepperton Studios rehearsals. So that was the impetus for this 801 Live Collectors edition and series.”

Track listing:
CD 1 – Lagrima, T.N.K, East Of Asteroid, Rongwrong, Sombre Reptiles, Golden Hours, The Fat Lady Of Limbourg, Baby’s On Fire, Diamond Head, Miss Shapiro, You Really Got Me, Third Uncle.
CD 2 (Recorded at Shepperton Studios during rehearsals Aug 23rd 1976) – Lagrima, T.N.K, East Of Asteroid, Rongwrong, Sombre Reptiles, The Fat Lady Of Limbourg, Baby’s On Fire, Diamond Head, Miss Shapiro, You Really Got Me, Third Uncle, Lagrima (Reprise)

In 1976, while Roxy Music had temporarily disbanded, 801 (also referred to as THE 801) got together as a temporary project and began rehearsing at Island Studios, Hammersmith, about three weeks before their first gig. The name of the band was taken from the Eno song “The True Wheel”, which appears on his 1974 solo album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). The refrain of the song — “We are the 801, we are the central shaft” — reportedly came to him in a dream.

The original sextet included Manzanera, Brian Eno, Bill MacCormick, Francis Monkman, Simon Phillips and Lloyd Watson, and after a warm up show in Cromer in Norfolk, that line-up played just two gigs – at the Reading Festival (with John Peel acclaiming them ‘the musical high point of the weekend’) and at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. This memorable concert was subsequently released as ‘801 Live’.

The music consisted of more or less mutated selections from albums by Manzanera, Eno, and Quiet Sun, plus a full-scale rearrangement of Lennon-McCartney’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” and an off-the-wall excursion into The Kinks’ 1964 hit “You Really Got Me”.

Released at the height of the punk rock revolution in the UK, the LP was not a major commercial success, but it sold well throughout the world, particularly because it received rave reviews from critics, both for the superb performances by the musicians and for its groundbreaking sound quality.

Although live albums were by then becoming increasingly sophisticated in their production — thanks to the advent of portable multi-track recorders and mobile studios — most were hampered by relatively poor sound quality. Up until this time, the standard procedure for both front-of-house mixing and live recording was to capture the sound of amplified instruments such as guitars by placing microphones in front of the amplifiers. Although many superb performances were captured, the results were still markedly inferior to studio recordings and live recordings often suffered from a range of problems such as distortion, noise, sound “leakage” between instruments, poor separation and intrusive audience sounds.

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