The Pleasures of Electricity  

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"The cover of Gary Numan's 1979 album The Pleasure Principle, like John Foxx's 2001 The Pleasures of Electricity, was based on Magritte's painting Le Principe du Plaisir." --Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Pleasures of Electricity is an album by John Foxx and Louis Gordon, released in 2001. It was the duo's second studio album, and Foxx's third after his return to the music scene in 1997.

The album continues along the lines of modern electronics flavoured with early-80s touches that was set out by the duo's 1997 album Shifting City. However, The Pleasures of Electricity is more polished and minimalist than any of Foxx's previous albums (solo or in a group), to the extent that the album sounds almost sterile in places. The lyrics recall themes similar to those in Foxx's classic album Metamatic, dealing with traveling and urban life, including almost bizarre lyrics comparing driving in a car to mathematics in "Automobile" (all this delivered in Foxx's most deadpan voice). "Invisible Women" is a track Foxx originally recorded with Nation 12 over a decade earlier (the version here includes a synth riff recycled from Foxx's single "Underpass" that wasn't included in the Nation 12 version), while "Cities of Light 5" is a further development of "Cities of Light 1" that was also recorded with Nation 12.

The album’s original press release states: “Taking a cue from Kraftwerk, one of Foxx’s most obvious stylistic touchstones, “Pleasures…” is a streamlined monorail of lock-step computer-generated beats and wiry synthesizer melodies with an equal emphasis on dark, atmospherics and energised, danceable rhythms.”

The artwork of the album was designed by Foxx himself, based on his own photography. The main cover depicts a man in a grey suit standing next to a door, his face completely whited out by a bright light that seems to originate from inside him. This, together with the album name, recalled René Magritte's painting Le Principe Du Plaisir, and through it Gary Numan's synthpop classic The Pleasure Principle, the artwork and title of which were inspired by the said painting (sonically The Pleasures of Electricity also resembles The Pleasure Principle and vice versa). In the sleeve notes for the live album The Golden Section Tour + The Omnidelic Exotour Foxx writes of buying a grey suit around 1978 and photographing his friends wearing it, with the face of the person never showing in the pictures. Whether or not the photographs used on The Pleasures of Electricity are from this time is unknown, but based on the description the artwork for this album is similar to Foxx's 1978 photography.

No singles were released from the album, however "Nightlife" was included on the Modern Art compilation released some three months before The Pleasures of Electricity.

A 2 CD remastered special edition was released in October 2009. Four tracks on CD 1 featured on the original album were significantly remixed - 'Nightlife', 'Invisible Women', 'Cities of Light 5' and 'Automobile'. Although they feature new sounds and in some cases additional arrangements, they were remixed in the context of the album, and therefore not just added as 'extras' to the package. Disc Two features the original mix of the album plus two previously unreleased bonus tracks 'Screenplay' and 'Twilight Room', thus making it the 'definitive edition' of this album.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Pleasures of Electricity" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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