A.R. Kane

Complete Singles Collection

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Alex Ayuli and Rudi Tambala neologized dream pop and released two of the style's exemplary albums. They also excelled with their singles, all of which are compiled on this two-and-a-half-hour set. "When You're Sad," their 1986 debut, provoked Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons, but the duo -- who cited Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, early Weather Report, and the ECM label -- claimed that they'd heard neither that band nor any of its ilk. Despite some similarity, the debut's A-side is both heavier and tenderer than JAMC with no trace of the Velvet Underground. The ecstasy/horror contrast between "You're the sweetest little thing I ever had" and "The hair on your neck forms a noose around mine" deepens with the following year's Lollita 12". Its three songs, produced by the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, alternate between placid space-folk and industrial post-punk, bliss and dread. "Butterfly Collector" is twice as terrifying as Hüsker Dü's "Diane," as it moves through thoughts of adoration and objectification to fantasies of possession and elimination: "You're so sweet, miss cutie pie"/"I'm gonna pin you down, I'm gonna kill you." After "Pump Up the Volume," their smash one-off Colourbox collaboration as M/A/R/R/S -- the brilliant B-side and its remix appears here -- the duo's sound gets less violent and increasingly accessible, highlighted by the feverish slow-motion dub-drone of "Baby Milk Snatcher" (at nearly twice the length as the version on 69). The set's second half, beginning with the "i" era's cleaner, brighter, more intricate approach -- developed just as piles of new bands were picking up on their 1986-1988 ideas -- will be less revelatory for those who know the LPs but not the EPs. Album mixes and single edits of five "i" songs, all of which sound more like a heavenly electronic dub version of I-Level than My Bloody Valentine, are present, along with numerous remixes. Unfortunately, there isn't enough room for the six-track Rem"i"xes EP, half of which was executed by Guthrie. It might be more of a shame that One Little Indian didn't (or couldn't) repurpose the front and back of the Vaughan Oliver-designed Lollita sleeve, though it is reproduced in the booklet. The perfect graphic representation of A.R. Kane, it shows the front of a doe-eyed nude woman, while the flip side displays a shot of her from behind -- as she clutches a large knife behind her back.

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