Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thompson Twins - Into The Gap (1983)

Here's an album I recently rediscovered, and which was big with me when I was a kid. Into The Gap is certainly the Thompson Twins most successful album, and with good reason. The songs are catchy, well-executed, and full of diverse sounds and instrumentation. The band, at this stage in their career, consisted of:

Tom Bailey: vocals, synthesizer, piano, contrabass, harmonica, guitars, drum programming.
Joe Leeway: Prophet synthesizer, percussion, backing vocals.
Alannah Currie: backing vocals, drums, percussion, marimba, xylophone, backing vocals.

It was revealed in a 1984 issue of Keyboard magazine that 95% of the synth parts on the album are thanks to an Oberheim OB-Xa. A Prophet 5 and a Pro-One were also used, both manufactured by Sequential Circuits. (Thanks to Micke @ forum for the info). Also of note is the rare Movement MCS Percussion Computer (which combined analogue drum synthesis and 8-bit digital drum samples with computerised sequencing) and the Movement Mimic (an early monophonic sampler with keyboard control) both made in Britain by Movement Systems.

Let's start with the opening track, "Doctor! Doctor!" which features some incredible moody synth sounds and an awesome multitracked solo.

Doctor! Doctor! courtesy of BlueBoy11035.

This is the song that most people remember, even though it charted lower in the UK (#4) than other singles from the album. Nevertheless, it's a fine song for a band to be remembered by. The 12" version is especially good, by the way. You can find it on "Thompson Twins Greatest Mixes," along with three other 12" singles from this album.

Hold Me Now, courtesy of miguelm0de.

This track's a little lighter on the synths, but was always a favourite of mine. You can hear the Mimic in action, providing some mechanical sound effects.

You Take Me Up, courtesy of Tabstarkin.

Five singles were released in total from the album - quite a number considering two or three is the norm these days. Sister Of Mercy was another ballad:

Sister Of Mercy, courtesy of Tabstarkin.

"The Gap" features eastern influences, more sampler action, and a whole lot of funk.

The Gap, courtesy of fery2.

Unfortunately I couldn't find the studio version of "Day After Day." Here's a live version instead, from their 1983 Into The Gap tour. Sorry about the sound quality.

Day After Day (live), courtesy of grupozaz.

Some great synth-brass on this track.

Who Can Stop The Rain, courtesy of goobiskii.

I'll round this post out with a slow number. I managed to track down all but one track from the album on youtube (actually "No Peace For The Wicked" can be found if you search for it, but embedding has been disabled for that particular track).

Storm On The Sea, courtesy of Reborninoktober.

I hope you've enjoyed!