Saturday, July 30, 2005

I've Put An End To Worrying! I Learned The Way From Will!

Dancing For Mental HealthWill Powers was the creation of rock photographer Lynn Goldsmith (with musical and songwriting assistance from longtime friends and biz contacts as Todd Rundgren, Sting and Andy Summers of The Police, Steve Winwood, Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, and Nile Rodgers), and it remains her sole venture in the world of recording.

Signed as the first "optic-music" artist to Island Records, the only album ever released by Will Powers was 1983's Dancing For Mental Health: an intermittently condescending, occasionally hypnotic, and flat-out weird self-help pop record that cheerfully offered up handy advice on dating, personal motivation and dealing with depression amongst other topics. Despite the rather creepy effect of some of the tracks (Goldsmith's vocodered voice is not terribly different from that of Marvin The Martian), Will Powers found recognition in the strangest of places as the videos shot Dancing For Mental Health ended up being utilized by the U.S. Department of Labor, Harvard University and the National Marriage Counsel in the U.K. (two of these videos reside to this day in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City). Hell, even MTV showed them a few times in their rotation (it was 1983, after all).

While other 1980s "virtual celebs" as, say, Max Headroom, or MC Skat Kat (or, more currently, Gorillaz) at least had a definable gender or face, Will Powers was a rather faceless creation, not even appearing on the cover of Dancing For Mental Health. While a couple of the now-hilariously clunky videos shot for the album occasionally featured Goldsmith's face lip-syncing along to the music, most of the time Will Powers appeared only as a crudely computer-animated face of nonspecific gender with Goldsmith's electronically-altered voice pitched somewhere in the Pat/Chris sexual netherworld in order for the record to address both sexes from a neutral viewpoint.

Adventures In SuccessWhatever you might think about the primitive sound of the record or the idea of getting "you are a special flower" advice from an aesexual, computer generated version of Stuart Smalley, you gotta admit that Dancing For Mental Health is certainly a unique record in the annals of pop music (I certainly can't think of anything remotely like Will Powers that has come out since, for better or worse).

I leave you now with the commercial apex of the Will Powers project: the single "Kissing With Confidence." A Hungry Man-sized serving of self-improvement with thick cheese topping (I blame the backing vocals for this more than anything else), this silly sounding, yet undeniably infectious ode to better smooching is, if nothing else, the least insanely annoying track on the whole record. Featuring a sunny vocal assist from none other than Carly Simon, this single became another one of those improbable chart hits in the U.K., reaching the Top 20 in the fall of 1983.

Will Powers "Kissing With Confidence"

So, go on. Listen once. You know you want to. It's better than Arnee & The Terminators.

Hell, your better half might be thankful you did.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


It's late, and I'm kinda bored. Hello.

So, my car is currently at Giles Marathon in Mentor awaiting some kind of undetermined servicing so that it may pass the everfucking emissions test by Friday morning, which is about as under the wire with this as I can possibly get.

I figured I had this godforsaken test beat for sure this year, being that my exhaust system is, like, brand new and all (hell, this is what broke me financially this past March). So, I decided to wait like an idiot until I had about three days left to get all of this shit taken care of.


To my considerable surprise, the E-check kid tells me this morning that my NO count is too high, and I have only a couple of distant, foggy ideas as to how that is happening.

Usually at this point I would go into a long, acidic rant about the E-Check system and how these guys manhandle your poor car by "simulating the conditions of driving 25 mph for a few moments in order to gain an accurate emissions reading," but I don't want to get all worked up over it again. This morning was shitty enough in that regard.

O.K., one quick aside -- that was the sound of my car going 25 mph? How? In first gear, perhaps? Jesus, my car doesn't run that consistently high when I'm going 65 on the freeway for crissakes!

Bah. Enough. I am over that now. Sarah brought me a large Coke from Burger Thing and I'm still a tad floaty from the effects of a Clairitin-D I took earlier today.

In other words, this is a recipe for blogging disaster, so I go now.

NP Readymade All The Plans Resting

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sunday Synthpop Brunch: Client

Get Behind Me, Kate

It was barely a year after the dissolution of Dubstar in the fall of 2000 that the band's vocalist Sarah Blackwood found herself back at in the music business again, only on a much bigger scale than what she was accustomed to before (initially at least).

Having spent a few months wondering what she was going to do next (or possibly wondering if she would still be working in the music business at all), Blackwood had a solution fall into her lap in the form of an urgent phone call for help from keyboardist Kate Holmes.

Once best known as the flute player in the very-briefly-hot 80s pastoral pop band Frazier Chorus, Holmes had been the synth player in the struggling electro-pop duo Technique for the last few years following the breakup of the former act. Now sans a record label thanks to the recent shutdown of Creation Records (many pundits had derided Technique's signing as blatant nepotism due to Holmes being married to Creation label head Alan McGee), Technique had just been given a rather generous break by being asked to perform as the opening act for Depeche Mode on a string of European arena dates.

What at first looked like a much-needed shot in the arm for the duo quickly became a catastrophe in the making as Technique's singing half, Xan Tyler, decided at that point to exit the picture, leaving Holmes in one hell of a tight spot. With less than a week to hire a replacement vocalist and be ready for the first gig, Holmes, knowing that Dubstar was no more, asked Blackwood if she could cover the dates as a replacement for Tyler.

Blackwood accepted the offer, and while on the road, the two became fast friends and a creative partnership quickly blossomed. Demos were recorded and submitted to Depeche Mode keyboardist Andrew Fletcher, who provided encouragement and eventually signed the duo to his newly-minted record label, Toast Hawaii.

Renaming themselves Client and working in near total secrecy from the all-seeing eye of the media, Holmes and Blackwood set to work recording a clutch of cool, brazen, yet very pop-structured songs using only a laptop computer and a 16-track mixer to achieve the final product.

While it was hardly a challenge for any Dubstar fan to figure out who was singing on the band's self-titled debut album, the music around that voice on the record, aside from the preponderance of synths and electronic rhythms, marked a radically different approach than Dubstar's highly polished, hyper-accessible mainstream sound. Most strikingly, Client was a far icier and angular work -- almost robotic and certainly indebted to the sleek, comparatively sparse production style of classic-era Kraftwerk or Human League (witness the dry, remote, yet relentlessly catchy sonics of "Rock N' Roll Machine"). Even Blackwood's singing style was altered slightly from before, as her northern-accented voice felt stripped of it's gentle, affecting yearning and now sounded more clipped, businesslike and coldly sexy than before. Needless to say, Client was pretty big in Germany right off the bat.

Feet Off The Couch! Jesus!In a visual sense, everything about Client's presentation was created to foil any preconceptions people might have based on the previous bands both women had played in before. Holmes and Blackwood didn't use their real names on the album or in any subsequent interviews, hiding instead behind the pseudonyms of Client A and Client B. All promotional photos and videos for Client revealed nothing of who was in the band: either their faces were obscured by special effects in their videos or they were missing entirely in the arty, almost surreal promotional photographs sent out to the media (all of which were deliberately badly cropped so that nothing above shoulder level on the duo was visible). Looking at these images, all a prospective fan would be able to note was that there were two women in this new band, and that they both wore matching, form-fitting 1960's stewardess uniforms (and often posed rather provacatively in them as well).

By late 2004, some of the mystery behind the headless pictures was finally removed when a more confident Client made it Standard Operating Procedure to allow their faces and names to be shown in the media. This new strategy greatly raised the profile of their second release, City, which was a much better album all around than its more aloof predecessor, with a tighter production (with input from Joe Wilson of Sneaker Pimps) and a warmer, less electro-clashy aura permeating the music. This isn't meant to imply that Client have lost their edge at all: nearly all of the new album is still a synthpop geek's haven of precision-deployed electronics, dancefloor-friendly beats and terse, often sardonic lyrical content. Yet amongst the neo-Kling Klang paeans to pills, sex and prostitution are a handful of songs that recall the striking sonic beauty of classic Dubstar, including the melancholy "One Day At A Time" and the sprightly (yet lyrically downtrodden) "Don't Call Me Baby."

ClientCity also gained some additional coverage thanks to some notable guest vocal appearances, including Fletcher's longtime bandmate Martin L. Gore as well as Carl Barat and the infamous Pete Doherty of The Libertines who provided vocal cameos on "Pornography" (the band's first U.K. Top 40 single) and "Underground," respectively.

A seemingly tireless road outfit, Client have continued promoting City by continuing to tour throughout Europe (a trek, incidentally, that winds up at the end of this month), and playing their monthly Being Boiled DJ gigs in Notting Hill. They've also been keeping their more rabid fans happy by releasing occasional treats such as an extremely-limited pressing of a recent live gig back in March and, more recently, the download-only release Metropolis: an odds and sods remix/rarities compilation that should work as a diverting stopgap until their next full length appears, ostensibly sometime in mid-to-late 2006.

In a parting note, those curious to look into some more new indie electronic pop from the U.K. are hereby encouraged to look into Holmes' recently-started record label Loser Friendly Records. The first signings to Loser Friendly include IAMX (headed by another ex-Sneaker Pimp Wizz Kid), German duo Ultrafox (ha ha, cute), and Sohodolls whose bio describes them as "an electro glam rock expression of sexual aggression."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sunday Synthpop Brunch: Dubstar

Dubstar Over the course of five years and three albums, the British synthpop trio Dubstar had managed to accrue a decent (though uneven) measure of success with their beguiling swirl of lush pop styled music and sassy, occasionally jarring romantic lyrical concerns.

Formed in Newcastle in 1992 by ex-DJ Steve Hillier and guitarist Chris Wilkie, and later completed by their discovery of strikingly glamorous singer Sarah Blackwood, Dubstar spent a couple of years recording demos and knocking on doors before finally gaining the attention and backing of Food Records in early 1994.

In an inspired bit of casting, Food immediately paired their newly-signed trio up with super-producer Stephen Hague, whose impressive resume in the genre (OMD, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, later-era Siouxsie & The Banshees) appeared a suitable fit to the detailed, catchy tunes that synth programmer/songwriter Hillier had been cranking out since the band's formation. Going by the initial results of the collaboration, 1995' s Disgraceful, it turns out that Hague and Dubstar made for a perfect combination. Packed with shimmering, richly-produced pop goodness, Disgraceful became a sleeper smash: while it only grazed the lower end of the Top 30 on the U.K. albums chart, it launched a squad of singles up the Top 40 list over a period of months and eventually achieved gold sales status.

Disgraceful The first single from Disgraceful was also the most immediately-striking track on the album: the sublime ballad "Stars," which highlights Blackwood's sweetly angelic, layered vocals against a sumptuous, yearning background of string patches and processed breaks. An underrated classic of the form, "Stars" did manage to chart twice, once at #40 during it's initial release in the summer of 1995 and then again at #15 the following spring following the band's commercial breakthrough with "Not So Manic Now" (a cover song originally done by an obscure fellow techno-pop act called Brick Supply) and the slick, almost absurdly-catchy world pop of "Anywhere."

In the vein of such outwardly sunny/inwardly glum popsters as The Smiths and The Beautiful South, there was often an undercurrent of weary, admonishing cynicism in Dubstar's lyrics that was often masked by Blackwood's beautiful singing and the luscious production. A fine example of this approach is on the lazy reverie "Just A Girl She Said":

It's alright I'm just a girl she said,
Talk down to me and take me to bed,
I don't feel,
I don't think,
And I don't really matter at all ...
I'm a person who speaks,
I'm a person who thinks,
But you hope I'll forget as you ply me with drinks,
And you cannot buy me and you cannot use me,
But I know that you'll want to try

Pretty lacerating sentiments for what on the surface is such a pretty song, eh?

A remix-appended reissue of Disgraceful filled the product gap in mid 1996 (and gave the band another Top 30 hit with "Elevator Song") while Dubstar recorded what would become their sophomore effort: 1997's Goodbye.

Goodbye Prefaced by the uptempo "No More Talk" (which itself kicked off with a sample of Yes' "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," of all things), Goodbye was to be a two-pronged success story: capitalizing on the success of Disgraceful on the homefront while also launching the band in America. To achieve this end, two versions of the album were released, the U.K. version an all-original effort and the American release a splicing of new material with singles released from Disgraceful with a couple of remixes for good measure.

Sadly, Goodbye failed to make any kind of waves in the States, but a bigger surprise was it's underperformance in the U.K.. While the new album was in many ways the equal of its predecessor with a more orchestral pop feel to the new songs (see the strangely-carnivalesque, midtempo confection "Wearchest" and the heartbreaking, atmospheric ballad "Ghost") and yielded three Top 40 singles, there was no breakaway hit to carry the band to that "next level" and and the album wound up with a disappointingly brief appearance at #18 on the U.K. albums chart before vanishing in a near-instant.

Spring of 2000 saw the release of Dubstar's last significant hit single, "I" (that is if you call a one-week flash onto the singles chart at #37 "significant") followed by the release of their third album best-of collection for Christmas 2004 has been the only release from the trio since.

According to the FAQ on the band's official website, Hillier moved onto writing and production roles (occasionally with help from Wilkie) with artists such as Mark Owen, Keane and Bebel Gilberto. Blackwood, however, soon found herself another high profile electro-pop gig, which we'll talk about in greater detail next week...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sunday Synthpop Brunch: The Tubes

The Tubes in full early glory

By the mid-1970s, The Tubes were one of the most notorious traveling "shock-rock" acts on the road. While they weren't ghoulish enough to stage their own public executions during their sets a la Alice Cooper, the San Francisco-based lineup had no problems making a lasting impression on their audiences (anyone seeing heavily made-up lead singer Fee Waybill standing nearly 8 feet tall in his platform boots while clad in bondage gear and wielding a running chainsaw is probably either in therapy or denial to this day). Also, unlike many of their contemporaries in the theatrical rock biz, The Tubes utilized a highly developed sense of satire, which is certainly apparent in their twin radio hits from 1975: "White Punks On Dope" and the gleefully over-the-top satire of "What Do You Want From Life?"

Following their FM radio breakthrough, The Tubes made a decent commercial inroads with their second album Young And Rich in 1976 (featuring the hilariously suggestive minor hit "Don't Touch Me There") and seemed on the verge of breaking into superstar territory on the next go-round.

Quay Lewd - do not adjust your monitorInstead, things seemed to go rapidly downhill for the band when Now was released in the spring of 1977. For starters, the new album wasn't a critical or commercial hit, and even the band themselves thought they might have pushed things a little too far at last. Worse, while performing overseas in support of the album, things really fell apart in a hurry after Waybill broke his leg onstage while acting out one of his outrageous onstage personas ("Dr. Strangekiss," "Quay Lewd" or "Hugh Heifer" were among his repertoire), which stopped the tour on a dime. With the label's promotional strategy now in tatters and the album tanking everywhere, what looked like promising momentum had quickly become a disaster, and the band desperately needed a hit to keep themselves signed to the A&M Records roster.

While a hastily-released live album (What Do You Want From Live -- taped during the same run of shows that the band were playing when Waybill sustained his injury) briefly occupied the lower rungs of the Top 100 in early 1978, the Tubes hooked up with ace producer Todd Rundgren and recorded the album that many consider to be their masterpiece: Remote Control.

Released in March of 1979, Remote Control found The Tubes firing on all cylinders. As a concept album revolving around a man unhealthily obsessed with television and packing plenty of the band's trademark lyrical barbs, Remote Control was greatly enhanced by the band's increased focus on songwriting and stretching themselves out musically under Rundgren's admittedly-heavy hand (there aren't many albums dear Todd has produced that don't wind up sounding like one of his own). Bursting with excellent cuts ranging from the ballad "Love's A Mystery," the zippy pogo pop of "Turn Me On" and the near-Utopia soundalike "I Want It All Now," this was an album designed to put the band over the top at last.

Remote ControlOne of the Remote Control's most immediately addictive singles was the disco-leaning swirl of "Prime Time." On a musical level, "Prime Time" was one of the lovelier songs the Tubes had ever recorded, while lyrically it was a subtly disturbing paean of cooing devotion delivered by the protagonist (Waybill) to his flirtatious television set (seductively voiced by the band's "lead dancer" Re-Styles). While the overall sound of "Prime Time" is pure 1979 as far as production is concerned, I've always liked the contrast between the relentlessly pulsing bass synth line and the warm, glistening synth work laid around it by Rundgren as well as Tubes keyboardists Michael Cotten and Vince Welnick (I could also swear I hear Todd's distinctive vocals throughout the song's beguiling midsection).

Despite the fact that Remote Control pretty much mirrored the chart performance of their previous high watermark Young And Rich (both albums reached #46 and were listed on the charts for 4 months), The Tubes found themselves dropped by A&M Records soon afterwards. Apparently, A&M had expected far bigger things from the album, which had failed to launch a single hit of any kind despite its rich variety of accessible material.

As it turned out, A&M were a tad premature in letting The Tubes go -- the band quickly found a new home at Capitol Records and found far greater success than had ever come their way before after adopting a more mainstream rock-friendly sound. Over the next four years, the band had great success with the format staple (and early MTV favorite) "Talk To Ya Later," as well as a pair of bona fide pop hits in the form of the startlingly-MOR ballad "Don't Wanna Wait Anymore" and their lone Top 10 smash "She's A Beauty." The band's newfound commercial success didn't last long, however: following the commercial failure of 1985's rather gimmicky Love Bomb (also produced by Rundgren), the Tubes quietly disbanded.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Great Gig In The Park

Circa 1970-71

Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me.


For long you'll live and high you'll fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

1973 again

And out
It can't be helped that there's a lot of it about
And who'll deny, it's what the fighting's all about


There is no pain, you are receding
A distant shipsmoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying
When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone

David Gilmour, 1988Roger Waters, 1999

And when the fight was over
We spent what they had made.
But in the bottom of our hearts, we felt the final cut.

If that 23 minute miracle in Hyde Park this past Saturday night was indeed the last hurrah for Pink Floyd (and signs point to yes), then the most impossible reunion in the history of rock music was perhaps the genre's most aesthetically perfect finale as well.

Following 18 years of unending public acrimony, a long-festering wound was healed (or at least publicly bandaged) at last. For those who had only discovered Pink Floyd in the eleven years since the release of The Division Bell, it was a chance to see what they had missed. For those in my age bracket who had come of age in the era of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and the attendant media-fueled not-so-Cold War between Roger Waters and David Gilmour, it was an improbable wish come true to see and hear Pink Floyd in its most potent artistic incarnation one more time. Lastly, all of us, old and young, were given one last chance to see the band as they once were -- not barely-visible players in a high-tech traveling light show, but instead four very different, yet commonly driven men making music that moves and soothes just as easily as it jeers and attacks.

Pink Floyd's set was not the seamless, polished entertainment package we've come to expect, and yet that made all the difference in the god, they were fantastic. Sure, Nick Mason was a bit rusty on the rhythms here and there, but it was also the first time in nearly three decades that he was the sole drummer on stage, and he made it through with reputation and dignity intact. Waters sounded like he was channeling Bob Dylan when he sang and seemed to move around just as much as his demonized post-Final Cut replacement Guy Pratt (though Pratt never sang along so lustily off-mic), single-handedly displaying enough emotion and enthusiasm for the other three main players. Rick Wright was left off to the side of the camera image far too much, but he was solid and instantly identifiable as he deftly filled in spaces in the dry middle section of "Money." Gilmour, ever workmanlike on stage, wore his dispassionate "game face," sounded alternately ragged and clear as he sang, and played the kind of aching, blazing solos that most guitar players would kill to create.

I think what strikes me the most about Pink Floyd in this day and age is that they have never been bettered or upstaged by younger pretenders to their throne. In the early days after Syd Barrett was put out to pasture, there were attempts made by the band to keep themselves in the limelight of the pop singles scene, and all of these songs rank among the least-essential in their entire catalog. Once the decision was made to abandon the pursuit of the Top Of The Pops is when the band became something that has never been duplicated in the three decades-and-change that followed. Punk, disco, new wave, heavy metal, grunge, techno, nu-rock -- all of these emerging cultures and scenes were eventually called up to the majors and carefully homogenized for mass consumption, and the stars of each genre replicated by dozens of other bands eager to hop on the gravy train. To date, however, no one has ever been able to replicate Pink Floyd, and I'm fairly sure by now that no one ever will. In an industry that seemingly lives and dies by its ability cash-in by cloning the work of a handful of genuine visionaries, Pink Floyd are among the very rarest of bands in that they remained absolutely, untouchably unique.

On a personal level, this was the band that broke it all open for me -- their music was like a gateway drug that opened my mind to a rich, mysterious world beyond the poppy three-minute confines of American Top 40, Solid Gold and MTV. This was a band that didn't want to be seen gallivanting around the world's exotic locales in their videos (in fact, they preferred to let your imagination take care of the visuals instead). These were people who couldn't have cared less if their singles (when they deigned to release them) were routinely ignored by Top 40 radio in favor of the current pop idol of the month. These were lyrics and viewpoints that talked to me as a person and not just a potential consumer looking for something to dance to. Particularly in the case of Wish You Were Here (how many albums can you clearly remember falling insanely in love with the very first time you listened to them?), this was a band who released at least six albums and countless tracks that completely ripped my head from my shoulders, and left me in amazement or awe at the power of music itself like no other band has ever done before or since.

The End (?)

Thanks for the ride, guys. You truly were, and always will be, the best.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sunday Synthpop Brunch: Pink Floyd -- The Other Two

The writing may have been on the wall ever since the shambolic end of the Animals tour in July of 1977, but it was nearly six years later in the anticlimactic aftermath of The Final Cut that Pink Floyd seemed to disappear for good. Despite whatever has been written or said in the decades since, there was a period in the mid 1980s during which the band no longer existed in the minds of anyone involved (of course, there are many who believe that the band didn't really exist after this time frame either, but that is another matter for another forum).

During the period between the release of The Final Cut in March 1983 and the appearance of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason in September 1987, every member of the "classic" Pink Floyd lineup released their second solo album and pursued a musical career outside the Pink Floyd framework with varying degrees of passion and success. Also, being the 1980s and all, each member also dabbled in the synthpop genre, with almost universally disastrous commercial results.

IdentityFired midway through the recording of The Wall in 1979, Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright found himself a salaried backing player on the following tour, which was a limited-engagement extravaganza staged only in four cities worldwide in 1980 and then again in London the following summer (these London shows, which ultimately became the final Pink Floyd concerts with Roger Waters, were professionally filmed and intended to create the framework of The Wall movie, but the footage was instead scrapped in favor of a totally band-free visual narrative).

Following the last of these concerts, Wright began work on what would become his second solo project. Unlike his rather sleepy 1978 release Wet Dream, however, this new album, titled Identity, would not feature Wright's name on the cover at all. Instead, the spring 1984 release was billed as the debut album by Zee -- a creative project created almost entirely on a Fairlight synthesizer by Wright along with ex-Fashion singer Dave "Dee" Harris.

Richard Wright in 1987While Roger Waters' Radio K.A.O.S. (which we looked at in last week's column) also embraced synths and modernized production techniques, the ex-Floyd leader's highly-recognizable vocal and lyrical sensibilities managed to give the music at least a vaguely Floydian feel. In the case of Identity, the lyrics and songs on which were written and sung entirely by Harris, and the distant, arch voice combined with Wright's icy, clattering synthpop textures, sounded absolutely nothing at all like Pink Floyd.

Dominated throughout by the sound of the hugely-(over)popular Fairlight CMI synth, Identity was perhaps the most deliberately plastic-sounding record ever recorded by any member of Pink Floyd. It might be a sign as to how much faith Harvest Records had in the project that it was only ever released in the United Kingdom. Even then, Identity failed to make any kind of commercial impression and the project was abandoned quickly thereafter. Wright has since written off Identity as "an experiment that didn't work out," which might explain why it remains to this day the sole Pink Floyd solo recording never to make the transition to CD.

Nick Mason and Rick FennA year later, a second solo album by drummer Nick Mason appeared to a slightly warmer reception. Mason's first solo release, a quirky, jazz-pop workout titled Nick Mason's Ficticious Sports wasn't really a solo project so much as a Carla Bley album in disguise (this was possibly the doing of Columbia Records in the wake of the explosive sales of The Wall a year beforehand). For his second solo effort, Profiles, Mason teamed with his production company partner, ex-10cc guitarist Rick Fenn, to create a kind of "showroom" soundtrack album -- in effect, music created to be used in movies and television shows or commercials to come later.

Lie For A Lie single artwork In the midst of an album's worth of ultraslick and incredibly faceless incidental-style music (which I'm sure was probably the whole point in the first place) was "Lie For A Lie" -- a charming, sequencer-driven lite-pop single featuring vocals from none other than Pink Floyd's resident guitar hero himself, David Gilmour. A fair amount of curious airplay from rock stations looking for anything new to air from Pink Floyd (or at least two members worth) resulted in "Lie For A Lie" just missing the Rock Radio Top 20 that summer. The popularlity of the song never translated to decent album sales, though -- Profiles never marched higher than Number 154 on the Billboard albums chart.