80sObscurities presents: XTC - 'Senses Working Overtime'

Posted on 09/07/13

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80sObscurities presents: XTC - 'Senses Working Overtime'

This 80sObscurities was founded by DJ Rexx Arkana to showcase old, often unknown or forgotten acts and tracks from the decade when electronic music was truly the new wave. Rexx Arkana has been a club/radio DJ and promoter since the mid-80s and headlined festivals on several continents and currently holds a residency at DEFCON, NYC's current longest-running weekly scene party. He is also the founder and lyricist of Brudershaft and one half of harsh electro act FGFC820.

Something about listening to the Screaming Blue Messiahs in yesterday’s 80sObscurities post put me in the mood for a little XTC. Now, I can already hear the arguments from the old school peanut gallery…because I am pretty much one of their ranks. “XTC isn’t obscure,” they’ll say. And for people like, well, us… they’ll be right. What that perception overlooks, however, is how many younger people there are in the scene these days. That whole elitism and ageist condescension thing is something “our thing” has had too much of for too long. That everyone owes it to themselves to experience the work of Swindon, England duo Andy Partridge (guitars/vocals) and Colin Moulding (bass/vocals) is something that I think we can generally all agree on. Besides, in nearly 1000 80sObs posts to date, I’ve only featured them once before… and for the B-side “Wonderland” of all things. So today, because I feel like it and because it is so, so true, I’m playing “Senses Working Overtime.”

This 1982 track, from the band’s remarkable “English Settlement” album ranks on equal footing with 1987’s “Dear God” as my favorite tracks from the artist. The album from which the latter is taken, “Skylarking”, is utterly brilliant from start to finish. That’s ironic, given the history behind its production. The band recorded the album at Todd Rundgren’s Woodstock, NY studio. While the pairing of Rundgren and XTC initially resonated like a stroke of artistic genius and empowered fans and critics with the upmost optimism, in reality there was immediate discord between Partridge and the producer.

When the singer began trashing the resulting product publicly, everyone feared the worst. Instead, the clear discomfort between the two parties subconsciously bled over into the record, and that undercurrent of morose melancholia was perfect harmony to the album’s creative theme. Anyway, for those of you who don’t know them, and for those of you who do, here’s XTC.

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If you've got a favorite musical memory from the 80s that you'd like to share, email Rexx your requests at rexxarkana@gmail.com . Rexx Arkana's 80sObscurities previous playlists are also available on Facebook and YouTube.

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