THE COMPLETE JOHN PEEL SESSIONS
MAIDA VALE RECORDS 7.5.07
It’s always difficult to know what to make of live compilations, especially with this collection spanning such a wide period of time. Representing the work of three live sessions, the first two from 1979, the third from 2001, it is interesting to see how Gary Numan has progressed as an artist. The older sessions show an act that is very much at the pinnacle of electro – the genre that Numan did so much to promote and develop, while the most recent session sees more of a rock interpretation; a classic twist on the Nu-metal sound that was dominating at the time.
This is most evident on the two songs that appear twice on the album – the popular tracks “Cars” and “Down In The Park”. Both of these can be seen in a ‘then and now‘ way, which directly compares the feeling of electro versus rock, and are all the better for the comparisons. Personally, I have been a great fan of the latter since Foo Fighters covered it, and appreciated the variation of it across the years.
An enjoyable record, while you clearly have to be a fan to fully appreciate the interpretations of these songs, from an only semi-informed point of view, I was taken in by the way in which you can hear the influence of Numan in modern music. His Wikipedia entry lists all of the artists who have sampled and re-imagined his work over the years, so this album can be taken not just as a representation of past work, but also as a mark of his legacy.