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Dada Dada Duchamp Vortex
Apparently a spoof instrumental, of which two mixes are known to exist (one being five and a half minutes long and in stereo, the other being around two minutes shorter and in mono). The longer version was almost released on The Future Tapes and the track is also known to some as Duchamp Duchamp Dada Vortex.
According to Ian, the track had "a really strange thing occurring that wasn't put on (the tape) by either of us. It was on my machine, a random thing like a guitar that kept coming in and out. It was really emotive, the most emotive thing on the tape. But it wasn't anything to do with what I was playing at all." Although lacking a strong melody, the overall results work well; the track features no percussion, relying purely on intertwining textures to create a strange but serene effect which some might regard as 'ambient'.
Released on The Golden Hour Of The Future
Dance Like A Star
As much as the League loved the better disco music of their time, they couldn't help but be aware of all the genre's 'naff' associations. Asked whether the group were disco-biased in 1978, Martyn replied, "No. I'd say we were dance-biased. Disco's a bit of an evocative word, isn't it? You see all these people going out in Birmingham bags and shiny suits..."
Dance Like A Star could be said to have been born from these mixed feelings; although musically it sounds like a genuine attempt to write a futuristic disco song, the words are meant to parody the inane lyrical content of certain disco records. Unfortunately, many people thought the dumb lyrics were meant to be taken seriously, so the song was dropped from the group's live set in the summer of 1978.
Six versions of the song exist - three of them (one vocal, two instrumental) based on the first arrangement, which sounds the more polished of the two (the vocal version is available as an MP3 on the Futuristic Sounds page of this site). One of the instrumental versions is simply a minute of incidental sounds and both were almost released on The Future Tapes.
The other three versions are based on the same backing track - two vocal versions (each with different spoken introductions) and one near-instrumental version, containing only Martyn's backing vocals (suggesting this was probably just a backing track for live performance). This arrangement has a lot more energy than its predecessor.
Vocal version of first arrangement released on Dance Like A Star (as 'version 2')
Vocal version of second arrangement released on some editions of the 'Human League cassette', and on Dance Like A Star (as 'version 1') and The Golden Hour Of The Future
All other versions unreleased
This instrumental was recorded by both The Future and The Human League, although it's likely that both versions feature only Martyn and Ian.
Although it was about seventy-five seconds longer than the League's version, the Future version is otherwise very similar, using the same basic melodies and rhythm. When released on the Holiday '80 singles, the League's version was listed on the record sleeve as "recorded opposite Kelvin Flats, Sheffield on budget Sony 2-track Nov 77 by Ian + Martyn as The Future".
Future version unreleased
Human League version released on the 'Human League cassette', Holiday '80 (double single and single), Travelogue (CD only), the Canadian 12" of The Sound Of The Crowd and In Darkness (unofficially)
This Future track sounds a lot like the group experimenting with their reverberation equipment. It consists of little more than noises being processed with short, sharp echo effects, and the only vocals used are the occasional deadpan and heavily-treated pronounciation of the track's title.
It's extremely unlikely that this track will ever be used in a commercial for Daz washing powder.
Lyrics: "Daz" (over and over)
Released on The Golden Hour Of The Future
Depression Is A Fashion
This is an alternate version of Treatment, featuring rough lead vocals by Martyn, who sings very different lyrics to those which would be used when the song was again re-titled Austerity for the Reproduction album.
This title would have been used for Treatment, had it been released on the cancelled album, The Future Tapes.
The Dignity Of Labour
Although the League initially described The Dignity Of Labour as a three-part work, the three original components were actually created independently as separate instrumental pieces. Only later did the group decide to link them with a theme, and when the first part appeared on early demo cassettes, it featured Philip describing the theme. When commercially released, this narrative was removed from the first part, and a new fourth part was added.
The first part sets the tone for the whole EP; there's a tune there if you listen hard enough, but most people would have trouble persevering with the patience-testing arrangement for more than a minute. Anyone skipping to part two in search of melody would be disappointed; this is the most unnerving of the four segments. Brutal sounds attack the listener throughout, with the only respite coming in the middle of the track, when everything stops abruptly for a moment, before fading back in.
Part three chugs along without actually going anywhere until light relief arrives halfway through the track, with some semblance of melody. This is perhaps the only segment that is recognisable as The Human League. The fourth part is again lacking in conventional melody, but is thankfully considerably softer than its predecessors. One gets the impression though that the group were simply improvising on this track.
Overall, the four-part work is easily the most difficult of the group's official releases, and in retrospect was just about the least likely bridge between the first and third singles (Being Boiled and I Don't Depend On You) imaginable. Considering the League were keen to be accepted as a mainstream pop group, this was a truly bizarre release.
Writing in Mojo magazine in 2003, Jon Savage had this to say about the record: "Being Boiled gets all the attention, but their second release - now forgotten - contained four slices of ground-breaking electronica: melodic pulses and loops that made the perfect soundtrack for motoring through the night. This early slice of propulsive ambience offers a possible direction that would not be fully explored for 15 years."
The Dignity Of Labour actually takes its name from a mural seen in one of the League's favourite films, Stanley Kubrick's adaption of Anthony Burgess's novel, A Clockwork Orange, a movie which would later also provide Martyn and Ian with a name for their post-League project, Heaven 17.
Useless trivia: part three of The Dignity Of Labour was apparently used as incidental music for a drag-racing feature on the BBC children's television show, Jim'll Fix It...!
Released on the 'Human League cassette', The Dignity Of Labour, Reproduction (CD only) and the Rigour, Discipline And Disgust compilation (see Compilations part one)
Disco Disaster
An early League track, seemingly about the frustration, loneliness and violence associated with the disco/nightclub scene.
The song may never have been completed, as only a rough version is known to exist, which is quite dark and introspective (see the Futuristic Sounds page for an mp3 of this recording). However, it's unsurprising that the song never made it onto a record, as it's certainly one of the group's less memorable moments. An instrumental version also exists, but it's simply a slightly edited version of the vocal version without the voices.
Released on some editions of the 'Human League cassette' and The Golden Hour Of The Future
Dominion advertisement
A hilarious mock radio commercial for Dominion, "the drug which gives the clown power" in Circus Of Death.
Philip narrates the track, which is set to a bizarre psychedelic backing. The League recorded it for possible inclusion on Reproduction, but by the time they began recording the album, the idea had been abandoned.
Released on The Golden Hour Of The Future
Dominion jingle
Also known as the 'Human League jingle', this brief piece of music was used extensively in the group's early days, at live shows and on demo cassettes. Intended as a kind of 'signature tune', it consisted of a few minatory chimes and other-worldly voices, and would be used between songs.
At the League's early live shows, the jingle was played after almost every song, which the group probably realised was over-repetitive. The jingle was soon dropped, but later reappeared in the opening section of the album version of Circus Of Death.
Released unofficially on In Darkness (bootleg), and officially on some editions of the 'Human League cassette' and on Reproduction (as part of Circus Of Death), and also on The Golden Hour Of The Future (unlisted on sleeve)
Also included on the 'Taverner tape'
Dreams Of Leaving
An early version of this track was recorded by The Future in 1977, at which point it was an instrumental piece with little in common with the League's later version. Only an excerpt of this was included on The Future's much-bootlegged demo tape, and their full-length version has rarely been heard. When revisited for the Travelogue album, the music was greatly expanded and lyrics were added.
For many, this song is one of the highlights of that album. Reviewing it for Sounds in May 1980, Dave McCullogh accurately described it as "an evocative anthem" and "astonishing, original and totally captivating". Like many of the most effective League songs, the lyrics fire the listener's imagination, describing the plight of the narrator who finds himself an enemy of a political regime and longs to escape to more congenial surroundings.
Combined with these words, the music works extraordinarily well, initially expressing the desperation of the narrator's situation. This develops into a harsh, driving militaristic rhythm in the central instrumental section, which gives way to a strange dream-like passage (incidentally, this instrumental interlude was not part of the original Travelogue recording and was inserted later in the sessions; when the song was performed live, this section would be omitted).
The song then ends with the optimism of the final verses and the warmth and grace of the closing sequence - a rare moment of beauty in the League's early output.
The Future's version unreleased
The Human League's released on Travelogue