“Watusi” is an unreleased studio recording from 1978, which was re-recorded in 2009, and remixed in 2010 for Back to Mono. Once again, Rice’s one-liner in the song notes is hilariously descriptive, “Remixed in 2010 for (believe it or not) noise reduction.”
“Seven Sermons to the Dead” was recorded live in New York City in 2009. It is a loud, rhythmic beast, boasting “Words by Carl Jung.” Although this is apparently a relatively recent composition, it reminds me in part of the classic 1982 debut album from Psychic TV, Force the Hand of Chance.
“Scream” hails from a 1979 performance at the Whiskey a Go-Go in Los Angeles. This is vintage NON, as abrasive and noisy as it gets, and the audience eats it up. It was always a hit or miss situation with a NON performance, as Rice was violently attacked more than once during his appearances back then. Closing out this nostalgic look back is a version of “Warm Leatherette.” Interestingly enough, Daniel Miller wrote this song, and it was a hit for Grace Jones back in 1980. It is a classic of the early electronica era, and NON plays it straight. His respect for Miller, and the tune itself is made clear in his notes, where he refers to “Warm Leatherette” as “The best electronic pop song ever recorded, bar none.”
There is something about that whole post-punk, original industrial scene that continues to fascinate me, and NON was a charter member. I find it extremely cool that he chose to look back at those years with Back to Mono. For fans of noise, this is an excellent album.