trevor horn today

Image above provided by http://www.recordproduction.com/

Who is Trevor Horn?…

This is Trevor Horn… this is trevor horn
He’s the guy who produced and performed “Video Killed The Radio Star” world-wide smash-hit track. And he’s collecting millions of dollars of royalties from it. the buggles, the age of plastic
Who else is seen in that video (Killed The Radio Star) is no other than Hanz Zimmer. hanz zimmer in video killer the radio star
Hans is Academy Award winner and one of Hollywood’s best soundtrack composers for movies such as: Rain Main, Lion King, Bee Movie, Black Rain, Da Vinci Code, and the list goes on an on IMDB.com credentials. The fucker has an amazing personal studio. hanz zimmer in his studio

Let’s forget about Hans! I just wanted to show you the connection between him and Trevor Horn. Why is Trevor more special?

After The Buggles, Trevor Horn became to be one of the world’s best and most successful music producers of all time:

  • Dollar
  • ABC
  • Malcolm McLaren (Duch Rock album, “Two Buffalo Girls”, etc)
  • YES (Owner Of The Lonely Heart)
  • Africa Bambaataa
  • Grace Jones
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Simple Minds
  • Paul McCartney
  • Seal
  • Lomax
  • Mike Oldfield
  • Tom Jones
  • Art Of Noise
  • Genesis
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • and more

What made Trevor Horn’s productions stand out was his unique and genius production techniques and the heavy use of state-of-the-art pro-audio gear, which made him become the torch-bearer for the kind of technology-led pop music which was hip and incredibly disciplined. Horn was influenced by Giorgio Moroder (for his distinctive sound) and Kraftwerk (The Man Machine album, for its non-use of traditional instruments). Horn rented the same modular synth which Giorgio used on all his records but found it very difficult to use.

Around 1980, along with Peter Gabriel, Trevor bought the very first digital sampler/workstation which was revolutionary at the time: Fairlight CMi. The Fairlight machine took over Horn’s life and rewarded him with the creation of a sound that had never been heard before. “There were landmark moments – like making the otherworldly backing vocals on Give Me Back My Heart by the Art of Noise out of a sample – that were mind-blowing. It was the birth of digital recording.”

Sampling laws had not yet been invented, and Horn stuck a skull and crossbones flag over the Fairlight to promote the image of being a pirate, stealing existing recordings and turning them into something new. He also pioneered the use of the Linn drum machine, which sounded the death knell for live drummers.

Fairlight III CMi sampler, music workstation.

Fairlight III CMi sampler, music workstation.

However, Trevor was one of the originators of the dynamic 12-inch remixes which were the best at the time … and still are the best. Most 12-inch remixes back then were either just extended verions of original songs and/or default disco/DJ arrangments which were too boring to listen to in and of themselves.

Trevor Horn’s 12-inch remixes were uniquely long (anywhere from 8 to 13 minutes in duration) and told stories which took the listeners through long instrumental journeys at the begenning of tracks until the climax is reached (around the 5/6 or 7 minute mark). After the climax, the original or alternate full vocal version of the track takes over from that point on to the end, lasting additional 3.5 to 5 minutes in length. Like a novel, each of Horn’s remixes starts off with the long RISE to hit the CLIMAX at the top. Once climax is reached, the track would SUSTAIN the music with the original/alternate vocal version until it DECAYS and fades out in the end. Mostl importantly, it was the rolling basslines which DRIVE the listener (in the passenger seat) from begenning to end.

trevor horn's 12-inch remix graph

trevor horn’s 12-inch remix graph

Most 12-inch or “remixed” tracks today are nothing more than extended DJ-friendly versions based on or bootlegged from the original sources. They are nowhere nearly produced as good and heavy as Trevor Horn’s past remixes, because they do not tell stories or go through carefully-arranged story-like journeys. They’re just dispensable and expendable pieces of garbage to my ears.

Read this Sound-On-Sound 2005 article on Trevor Horn

Homework:
Listen to Frankie Goes To Hollywood dynamic 12-inch remixes…

I want you to listen to these tracks carefully all the way through … in front of big, beefy stereo speakers:

Rage Hard (12 Inch)

frankie goes to hollywood - rage hard cover

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Rage Hard (12 Inch) (mp3)

 

Two Tribes (Annihilation Mix)

frankie goes to hollywood - two tribes (annihilation mix) cover

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (Annihilation Mix) (mp3)

 

Two Tribes (Surrender Mix)

frankie goes to hollywood - two tribes (surrender mix) cover

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (Surrender Mix) (mp3)

 

Relax (12 Inch Sex Mix)

frankie goes to hollywood - relax (12 inch sex mix) cover

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax (12 Inch Sex Mix) (mp3)

 

Welcome To The Pleasure Dome (Original 12 Inch Pleasure Fix Mix)

frankie goes to hollywood - welcome to the pleasure dome (original 12 inch pleasure fix mix) cover

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasure Dome (Original 12 Inch Pleasure Fix Mix) (mp3)

 

Read Part-2 of this article …
I Love You Miss Robot :: Trevor Horn – Part 2