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Looking for a Certain Ratio

A Certain Ratio

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Album Review

If there's one thing one learns in the hobby of collecting music, it's that tribute albums and remix compilations are iffy propositions. Looking for a Certain Ratio is not one of those rare titles that proves the theory wrong. A majority of the remixes here are of questionable quality. Electronic's opener, a reworking of "Shack Up," is indicative of what's to come. It's a misguided, cheaply funky, and purely bland track that falls flat over every one of its four minutes of wallpaper-suggestive disco-lite murmurs. Graham Massey fares no better, managing only to warp "Flight" into what amounts to an 808 State throwaway. But three highlights somehow emerge from the mediocrity that surrounds them. Way out West turns "Wild Party" into the kind of energetic, lush song that A.R. Kane used to produce at will. A Certain Ratio's own Andy Connell achieves a similar feat with "Life's a Scream." The album's absolute standout is Sub Sub's organic, atmospheric, and poignant remix of "There's Only This," where ethereal synth notes bring to mind One Dove's subtle charm and grace. Whether its highlights make Looking for a Certain Ratio worthwhile is debatable, but only the Sub Sub remix betters the source material.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Though formed in Manchester's late-'70s punk scene, A Certain Ratio used an increasing amount of electronics throughout the '80s to become more of a dancefloor-oriented band, much like Factory labelmates New Order. The group (whose name is a pointer to a Brian Eno song) was formed in 1977 by vocalists Simon Topping and Martha Tilson, bassist Jeremy Kerr, guitarist Peter Terrell, and guitarist/trumpeter Martin Moscrop — drummer Donald Johnson later joined as the drummer. New Order manager Rob...
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Looking for a Certain Ratio, A Certain Ratio
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