I must be one of the few lucky ones to own this amazing track on a 12-inch record. I believe only few thousand copies were pressed back in 1984.

Where was I when I’d bought the record?     Ah yes!     It was sometime in late October 1985, after school, at Starsounds record store on Young Street in Toronto. Starsounds was a great record store that sold only 12-inch records of every genre, especially to DJ’s. At that time, I was looking for synth/techno/pop tracks when Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer was hot. Flipping through Starsounds’ bin of old/unsold records, my fingers came to a stop at this one particular vinyl with gloriously colored luminous-orange sleeve: Section 25.

I held the record up in a tilted-angle closer to my eyes just to read its center label. It was hard to read, because the words and fonts were ultra moderno that were printed with light, shiny luminous colors. Yeah… a record looking great in graphic-design but lacking in function (such as reading its textual content).

Even though I had no idea who Section 25 was, my gut said: This the record you’re looking for, buddy! Just the words 45 A Factory Record and Restructure From Fact 90 on the center label were enough to convince me the record was INDEED an electronic one that was meant for me. Still in my formal shirt/tie/jacket school uniform, I bought the record with my only $20-Canadian. Going home in the subway (the TTC), I was staring at the record and second-guessing what it might sound like. Once I got home, I ran to my room and dropped the needle to the record. The usual at the start of any record: few seconds of crackles, scratches and pops…

…And then there was music!

The track on Side-B starts with reverse tom-tom drums followed by reversed-&-gated 808 claps in 1/16th-note progression. Then –BAM– the beat drops like a cyber-atomic bomb: → Heavy industrial baseline → Synth bleeps/zaps all over the stereo-field → Lush synthesizer and Mellotron pads → Cyberpunk female lead vocalsWhispery male backup vocals. Electronic techno industrial pop bliss → → Hands down, an absolute electronic industrial masterpiece!

Section 25 – “Looking From A Hilltop” (Megamix)…

Artist: Section 25
Title: Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix)
Year: 1984
Label: A Factory Record
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Section 25 – “Looking From A Hilltop” (Megamix) (mp3)

 

Music Video: Section 25 – “Looking From A Hilltop” (version 2)…

It’s been a long time; I shouldn’t have left you.
Without a strong article to blog a post to.
Think of six months you had to wait through.
Time’s up.  I’m sorry I’ve kept you…
waiting for this, with your hand on the mouse, soon…
as you click it, turn up the volume!

Heh. How ya like my own take on Eric B & Rakim’s – “I Know You Got Soul” lyrics above!

And hey… Thank you for your patience.

In the long break which I’ve taken away from my blog, I was going through and reorganizing my entire vinyl and CD collection. I was listening to a lot of music, as well as searching and buying a lot of new and used records and CD’s from niche record stores, thrift stores, garage sales and internet. I’ve added more music to my arsenal in the past few months, especially certain old-school tracks which I’ve been searching for years to find… such as the 12-inch extended version of Promises Promises by Naked Eyes.

What the hell is it about this track which makes it deliciously and emotionally congenial? …And why is it so immortal?

Oh, I know… It is the plethora of rich, creamy & lush layers of weaving sound textures in a sea of sound-design bliss — an artwork trademark of Naked Eyes’ two British members Pete Byrne (guitars & vocals) and Rob Fisher (synthesizers & keyboards). They deliver Promises Promises with such bliss, thickened with consistency and splendiferous substance of utmost quality in the beautiful combination of different musical elements, threaded and embedded deeply in the song’s inner core and exterior fabric.

According to Wikipedia:

Naked Eyes was one the very first bands to make significant use of the Fairlight CMI sampling beast of an instrument.  Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush had used the Fairlight on prior efforts, but the usage had been far less than Naked Eyes would employ on their debut effort.

However, before becoming a two-man band, Byrne & Fisher had formally played in a band called Neon with future members of Tears For Fears — also a two-man band who used the Fairlight extensively. The relationship between the two bands is perhaps why both bands had similarities in their use of rich, epic sound-textures in the music, albeit each having their own musical styles.

The lyrics of Promises Promises was obviously about a person’s disappointment in his/her significant-other who made countless promises but was not able to keep nor follow through any one of them. If having read the lyrics without listening to the music first, one might have gotten an impression that the song would be slow and sappy.     Sappy/slow it was not!       Surprisingly, this track was paced at mid-tempo with:

  • Tight drums at the core;
  • Percussive marimba’ish synth stabs;
  • Lush synth pads and swells coming in & going out through both left/right channels of the stereo-field;
  • Echoey electric guitar licks drenched in reverb ambience; and
  • Moderate and not over-the-top vocals with not too many words.

●●● Overall sound-&-feel of the song was (and still is) moody and emotional but hopeful.

Moody… Emotional… These are exactly the feelings I go through sometimes when thinking about how I might’ve been given the short-end of the stick in life. I start to loathe myself many times for being a middle-eastern person born in Baghdad, Iraq. And then I wish that I wasn’t born an arab nor a muslim –– I really do hate my religion!

I renounced Islam when I was 6.5 years-old in 1977. I was mandated to attend “Quran” class at the end of first day of school (Rosary) in Abu Dhabi. I was late for that class. As soon as I entered the classroom, the arabic teacher asked me to recite any verse from the Quran. I had no idea what she was talking about, because I wasn’t aware to have a religion.  All of a sudden the bitch slapped me hard on my face, almost knocking me down to the floor and blacking-out. That very moment… I made up my mind: FUCK THIS! AND FUCK ISLAM!!

After being slapped and physically abused for nearly three years, my stuttering became severely worse, as I was living in fear of those kinds of people. And because of those sons of bitches, I loathed (and still loathe) myself for being a brown, muslim arab. Therefore I moved to England and Canada with my parents at a young age of nine years in 1980. I was happy to get away from the middle-eastern world of autocratic and punitive Islamic-states in Arabia. During all my years living in Europe and North America, I’ve adapted and became accustomed to modern western civilization and culture.

But whenever I do feel down like that, I can simply shake it off by either thinking of Promises Promises or playing the song. Perhaps a lot of the good promises in my life where broken or never fulfilled, but I am being hopeful at the end of each day.

Naked Eyes – “Promises, Promises” (Extended Version)…

Artist: Naked Eyes
Title: Promises, Promises (Extended Version)
Year: 1983
Label: EMI America
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Naked Eyes – “Promises Promises”  (Extended Version) (mp3)

 

Naked Eyes – “Promises, Promises” (Instrumental)…

Artist: Naked Eyes
Title: Promises, Promises (Instrumental)
Year: 1983
Label: EMI America
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Naked Eyes – “Promises Promises” (Instrumental) (mp3)

 

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