The Art Of NoiseWho's Afraid Of The Art Of Noise

Series:Action Series – 11, Incidental Series – 34
Vinyl, LP, Album
Style:Synth-pop, Experimental


A Time To Hear
A1A Time For Fear (Who's Afraid)4:43
A2Beat Box (Diversion One)8:33
A4Close (To The Edit)5:37
Who's Listening
B1Who's Afraid (Of The Art Of Noise)4:22
B2Moments In Love10:17
B4How To Kill2:44

Companies, etc.



Release title given as "Who's Afraid Of The Art Of Noise" on front, "(Who's Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise!" on spine, and "(Who's Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise" on labels.
This album was also assigned the number ZTAS 11.

"compiled in the capital between February 28th 1983 and April 1st 1984"
"This has been number 34 in Zang Tuum Tumb's Incomplete Incidental Series. (In its American sleeve it is number 16: careful does it.)"
"Who's Afraid Of The Noise is dedicated to Henry Ford and of course Edward Albee - and their American Dreams."

Tracklisting on back of sleeve and inner sleeve incorrectly given as:

side one
A Time For Fear (Who's Afraid)
Beat Box (Diversion One)
How To Kill

side two
Who's Afraid (Of The Art Of Noise)
Moments In Love
Close (To The Edit)

Only the labels state the correct tracklisting. (No track durations given on release.)

Issued with a custom printed inner sleeve.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Runout, A-side, stamped. Var. 1): ZTTIQ 2 A - 1U - 1 - 1 - TOWNHOUSE
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout, B-side, stamped. Var. 1): ZTTIQ 2 B - 1U - 1 - 1 - 17 TOWNHOUSE
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout, A-side, stamped. Var. 2): ZTTIQ 2 A - 1U - 1 - 1 - ↾ ⇁ TOWNHOUSE
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout, B-side, stamped. Var. 2): ZTTIQ 2 B - 1U - 1 - 1 - ↾ ⇁ TOWNHOUSE

Other Versions (5 of 85)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Recently Edited
(Who's Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise (LP, Album, Red Labels, Specialty Pressing)Island Records, Island Records7 90179-1, 90179-1US1984
Recently Edited
(Who's Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise (Cassette, Album, AR)Island Records, ZTT90179-4US1984
Recently Edited
(Who's Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise! (LP, Album)Island Records, ZTT206 492, 206 492-320Europe1984
(Who's Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise (LP, Album)ZTT, Island RecordsL 38284New Zealand1984
Recently Edited
(Who's Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise (LP, Album)Island Records822 984-1France1984



  • ToolBee303's avatar
    Nice clean copy. Sounds way better than the picture disc I used to own in the 80's... Strangely that picturedisc is not mentioned here!
    • AardvarkTaxi's avatar
      If you didn’t like it then I’m guessing that you didn’t get it?

      • Monsterhead's avatar
        The other commenters clearly love this album way more than I do. To me it sounds like the trainee assistant in a music shop is messing about with the new sampler during lunchbreak. Can you dance to this? No, unless you are a looping silhouette. Is it a timeless classic? No, its sounds horribly dated. Is it full of great tunes? No, its a mish mash of beats and samples that start and stop and go nowhere.

        Overall I'd say this may have been groundbreaking in 1984 and kick started dance music as we know it but to me it just sounds like Demo mode on a Yamaha Xmas toy keyboard with some kids pressing all the buttons to see what they do.

        Go listen to Yello and then come back and tell me which you prefer.
        • musicalfreedom_it's avatar
          The version of Moments In Love included here is the best IMHO (and probably first issue;)
          • robinsoncaruso's avatar
            I was 13 when I listened to this album. I consider myself a conscious music listener since that moment.
            In my opinion this is one of the most important record of electronic music.
            • LoversRecords's avatar
              This album is perhaps one of the most understated and pivotal moments in the birth of electronic music/dance music in the early eighties, and music history rightly owes a credence to their experimentalism. Contains the amazing and beautiful ‘Moments in love’ and the commercially successful ear bashing sounds of ‘Close to the edit’, and ‘Beatbox’.
              • Eops's avatar
                Edited 16 years ago
                This lp is one of the cornerstones of modern electronic music – no matter what genre you currently obsess about the chances are that somewhere in its history a massive debt was incurred to the sheer lunacy of The Art of Noise.

                In many ways AON represent the elephant in the room, a towering presence which is so often overlooked not because of its failings but because of its self depreciating genius.

                If you talk about electronic music with any self respecting discogs geek for long enough it would be almost impossible for them not to mention the Germanic overlords of the genre ‘Kraftwerk’ – their poe faced spectre looms large like a building site crane over techno city. The AON however could just as easily lay claim to the eclectic plethora of electronic styles born in the UK since 1981.

                If Kraftwerk are accepted as the calculating robotic face of Teutonic beats and bleeps then surely AON personify the eccentric English gentleman tinkering in his shed and occasionally popping outside to exclaim eureka!

                The eccentric nature of the album is best explained by comparing two of its best known tracks – ‘Moments in love’ and ‘Close to the edit’.

                The first is subtle, delicate and beautifully paced with gentle breathy vocals barely communicating with the listener after being deliberatly drowned out in the mix.

                The second is a barnstorming slice of Edward Lear influenced nonsense poetry, brazen fart samples, a car ignition sounds and the kind of hyperactive bass line that swerved out of fashion at some point in the mid eighties never to return.

                These two songs mark opposite ends of the AON spectrum – somewhere in the middle you will find samples as diverse as cuban revolutionary speeches(on ‘Whos afraid’)and a monumental church organ (on ‘Momento’) which gatecrashes a quirky sound montage to leave the casual listener scratching their head in confusion.

                If nothing else this LP should held up as a masterclass in 80’s production. It may have started life as producer Trevor Horns studio folly but for me and countless others from Electro B-boys to Hardcore Ravers it opened a door to sounds that simply didn’t exist a year or so beforehand.

                Sheer bloody genius as they say in the home counties - 'a time to hear' indeed.


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