POP CULTURE

ANNA Systems Breaking Down: An Honest Slice of 80’s Dance-floor Business

Systems Breaking Down
ANNA
Be With Records

By John-Paul Shiver

Reflecting in sound the feeling of uncertainty and bleak offerings for the future, Be With Records re-releases a cold wave gem with “Systems Breaking Down” by Anna. Originally released in 1982 by RCA and produced by Geraint Hughesh and Ken Leray, the song serves as a timeless lesson of how  the most bleak moments can be transformed into idyllic ones.

The angst ridden synth pulse, a la very John Carpenter, versus the drum machine rhythmic DNA structure is an honest slice of early 1980’s dance-floor business. That depending on how fast or slow it is pitched, could have been dropped in the midst of a boogie set, new-wave set or a chuggy industrial set. “Systems Breaking Down” carried that difficult cache of duality to perfection…. which many records of the time were aiming for due to the “official” destruction of disco. While the rise and merging of funk and electro was leaving the door open for all hybrids to converge.

It is not hard to imagine Frankie Crocker, lead music programmer and DJ at WBLS in New York City during this time, hearing “Anna” played at Paradise Garage by Larry Levan at night, and slipping it on the air in between Human League and I-Level the next day.

Both sought-after mixes, sides A and B, have been remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis and are housed in a replica jacket of the maxi original.

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