Colour Box*Colour Box

Label:4AD – MAD 315
Vinyl, 12", Mini-Album, 33 ⅓ RPM
Style:Leftfield, Dub, Synth-pop


Written-ByM. Young*
A2Keep On Pushing
Written-ByI. Robbins*, M. Young*, S. Young*
Written-ByI. Robbins*
Written-ByI. Robbins*

Companies, etc.



A1 includes an uncredited, sped-up sample of David Bowie ("I've never really considered myself as [sic] a musician …") in conversation with a group of fans on Capital Radio, while Bowie was promoting his new album, Lodger. The conversation was broadcast on 14 May 1979.

Due to the fact that this release might easily get confused with the equally selftitled full length album from 1985, it is often referred to as "Shotgun (12")".

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side A, etched): MPO MAD 315 B¹ BILBO.TAPEONE
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout Side B, etched): MPO MAD 315 A¹ CHA! BILBO.TAPEONE
  • Other (German Import Cat# (comes on a sticker from RTD)): RTD L-10-447

Other Versions (2)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
New Submission
Colourbox (12", 33 ⅓ RPM, Mini-Album, Test Pressing)4ADMAD 315UK1983
New Submission
Colourbox (12", Mini-Album)4ADDRO-062Spain1984



  • maxal's avatar
    Edited 4 years ago
    pinkindustries -

    The Colourbox first release was this one, with catalogue ref “MAD 315”. The "3" is because it was released in 1983 - and I think it would have been the 15th release of that year. Finally, to answer your question: "MAD", the M is for mini-album, and yes, I'd say at 25 minutes it well-deserves to be appreciated as a mini-album. It’s not a typical 80’s extended 12”; it’s a good strong piece of work; all four of the pieces on this mini-album hold the definitive version and the record is not secondary to another album. There are some proper albums out there which are short (I think The Cure's, "Faith" was a bit over 35 minutes?).

    Most albums can easily be categorised, inevitably some works fall in between . . .

    4AD had a good system for cataloguing their vinyl which, when decoded, would describe what they were, format and when they were produced: with reference codes starting with a few letters and then a specific identifying number for each release. "CAD" + number are ‘standard’ albums. "TAD" are ltd editions, the T being for temporary. There are a few TAD releases, all worth collecting. The 7" singles, a true single, were "AD" + their specific number. 12” singles were “BAD”. And there were other codes, DAD for double albums, SAD for SACDs, WAD and PAD were poster and postcard packs etc . . . JAD (Scar by Lush), GAD . . .
    • Crijevo's avatar
      Amazing record. Colourbox are as revolutionary as they remain unfairly obscure. Mixing soul sensibility (Lorita Grahame's gorgeous vocals) with fundamental eclecticism into a not at all easy sound identifications, this (actually their self titled debut mini LP) is one hell of a tiny experimental episode from their precious vaults.

      The proof Martyn and Steven Young weren't about going pop at all, is already demonstrated by the groove they deliberately subverted with sudden blows of melancholic perversity (check their significant debut single). Opening with "Shotgun", this one was more of a manifesto - one that demonstrated quite an impression of pure sonic menace. A radio speaker's cut up introduction to the very band, "Shotgun" kicks off with drums brutal assault - sliding into a funky melody and sang phrases pulled in and out of the mix, creating unusual musical stirs.

      Colourbox were more of a socio-political nature, an amazing guerilla attack that was! Among this record's notorious moments are spoken snippets of David Bowie and most notably, the group's label boss Ivo Watts Russell being phoned up and recorded by the Young Brothers for inclusion on this album (the excellent, confusing track "Keep On Pushing"). Furious enough, Russell agreed his voice stays in the mix only if going under major camouflage. A compromise struck but still left enough space for Colourbox fucking everyone off with their gorgeous sound trickery.

      Side Two opens with "Nation" - a groovy, nine-minute epic of unleashed shout for emergency (armed with immortal lines like - I can see a Nation but I just can't see reflection!). While creating the ironic atmosphere based around music as the entertainment factor while at the same time sending a disturbing message of ultimate social decay (Somewhere there's a fire - but I just can't find any phone to help), "Nation" is a frightening testimony of living in the modern world drowning in its self destructive habits. The final effective blow is the song "Justice".

      Technically, amazing and equally confusing to unknown boundaries being pushed all over the edge and back again, "Justice" demonstrates the creative process without digital equipment available now - which Colourbox pioneered beating down many of their peers. The track leans towards ultimate balladry while at the same time the listener is mercilessly mindwarped to great effect by its subliminal, experimental repetition. Even Grahame's voice is suddenly perverted by a tape-like chewed sound sliding in and out of its massively reverbed melodic focus.

      Albeit released in 1983, 'Colourbox' mini LP is way ahead of its time - it dares the typical 80s sound by assembling the most stereotypical of it only to redirect and throw it right back into the 80s face. And with great effect they did. Have in mind, this group created 'Pump Up the Volume'(as M A R R S) - 'Colourbox' in terms of amazing sampling techniques demonstrates the skill five years too early.


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