On Saturday 1 August 1981, The Buggles’ Video Killed The Radio Star smashed like a giant magnum of Champagne onto the bows of the good ship MTV, setting it off on a voyage that changed music forever. The single was number one in 16 different countries and – bizarrely - the biggest record in Australia for 27 years. Meanwhile, The Buggles’ debut album - The Age of Plastic - became the first technopop landmark. How could you follow that? Maybe it was an impossible task, but Trevor Horn wanted to find out.
The history of The Buggles – a/k/a Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes - has never been clear-cut and the most hidden chapter has always been Adventures In Modern Recording, their second and final album. From the outset it was going to be more left field than its predecessor. “We had some pretty weird material,” Trevor remembers, “things like Vermilion Sands and I Am A Camera, which and was one of the best things Geoffrey and I ever did I thought.”
But Geoff left to start the rock group Asia very soon afterwards, leaving Trevor to make what became, to all intents and purposes, the only Trevor Horn solo album to date. The end result was the first in an exclusive line of Trevor Horn records where the production is centre stage, rather than supporting cast. Adventures In Modern Recording would lead directly to Grace Jones’ Slave To The Rhythm, Art of Noise’s Who’s Afraid…? and The Seduction of Claude Debussy and whole chunks of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Welcome to the Pleasuredome.
Never before reissued on CD outside Japan, Adventures… is something of a lost classic, with great vocals by Trevor and a sparkling electronic sound that is completely in-step with the prevailing “electro” mood of the pop charts in 2010. Trevor Horn is in the news once more for his work on the Robbie Williams album, Reality Killed The Video Star, and alongside all the B-sides and remixes of the era, he personally selected several previously-unheard demo recordings – including Videotheque (a Top 20 hit – produced by Trevor - the following year for Dollar) and We Can Fly From Here parts 1 & 2, which was originally written for and performed by Yes – as bonus tracks.