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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Gentlemen Without Weapons - 1988 Tranmissions
 
Gentlemen Without Weapons - 1988 Tranmissions



ARTIST: Gentlemen Without Weapons
ALBUM: Tranmissions
LABEL: A&M
SERIAL: SP 5204
YEAR: 1988

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Kenny Young - lead vocals & backing vocals, on-location sound recordings * Nick Glennie-Smith - vocals, programming, fairlight III, EII, EIII, on-location recordings * Vic Coppersmith-Heaven - vocals, sound shaping, on-location recordings

TRACK LISTING: 01 Buddha's Monkey * 02 Eons Roll By * 03 Earth Love * 04 Islands Of The Future * 05 Transmissions * 06 Rain Of Terror * 07 Unconditional Love (Planet Earth) * 08 Uchu O Mamoro * 09 Time (The Clock Song) * 10 Earthling


Background
Totally original in concept and approach, Gentlemen Without Weapons was the brainchild of Kenny Young formally of the UK band's Fox and Yellow Dog. In the 1980's Young became a well-known environmental activist forming the Earth Love Fund (ELF) with film composer Nick Glennie-Smith and producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven (The Jam, Snafu, Black Sabbath), supporting rain forest conservation throughout the southern hemisphere. 'Transmissions' was an extension of that project, using digital samples of wildlife in Hawaii and Indonesia as well as British animal sanctuaries, all filtered through the wondrous Fairlight.


The Songs
Now if this sounds a little too new age for your tastes, don't sweat it as this is a crossover hi-tech prog pop album and a pretty good one at that. For references take The Buggles, some of ex-Yes singer Jon Anderson's stuff, Enigma and the poppier side of Tangerine Dream and you should have a good idea what longitude and latitude we're headed for although again, outside the use of keyboards and human voice, the album was created entirely by animal sounds and household bric-a-brac which in 1988 put 'Transmission' in a category all by itself. The songs are catchy with plenty of hooks to go around. A monkey laugh here, and bird chirp there, an elephant, rubber bands, hammers and even Squash balls all create an incredible and immensely enjoyable sound experience. Highlights include actor John Hurt's narration on 'Rain Of Terror' and the memorable 'Unconditional Love (Planet Earth)' which was released as a single with a non-LP B-side 'The Way Of The Dodo'. If there's a downside, the lyrics are naive, at times preachy with an inside pullout sheet that's loaded with environments terminology and in hindsight several inaccurate facts and predictions concerning the Planet's issues.


In Summary
I don't recall hearing anything from 'Transmissions' on pop radio but I imagine new age radio programs of the day like 'Hearts Of Space' and 'Musical Starstreams' were all over the album which fit like a glove in their mantra. Kenny Young went on to co-produce the 'Earthrise' charity compilations which included heavy hitters like U2 and Paul McCartney and is still active in global concerns although a second Gentlemen Without Weapons album never materialized.


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