Tony Mansfield

Tony Mansfield
Tony Mansfield

An interview (here and here) published in Smash Hits magazine concluded that the music-producer Tony Mansfield seemed ‘to undervalue his skills’. There’s nothing wrong with being humble. Mansfield produced the extraordinary song World of Water performed by the 80s’ band New Musik. It’s strange how the lyrics of a song can stay with you without you knowing the reason why, until you find out more about those lyrics and realize that they may apply to you somehow.

In World of Water, Mansfield orchestrates with processed voices. This was a very original way of working with sound, at a time when music technology was only just beginning to lurch forward. On listening, I thought he’d done this with tape (he had access to two Revox B77s), but now I reckon he may otherwise have used a Fairlight CMI or an Emulator. He worked with Yellow Magic Orchestra in the early 1980s and saw how they used computers.

With its strong chord structures Mari Wilson’s single Just What I Always Wanted (1982) was also produced by Mansfield.

Mansfield went on to produce the colourful, dramatic and lasting albums: Burning Bridges by the duo Naked Eyes (1983) and also Hunting High & Low by the Norwegian trio A-ha (1984-5). His productions are of their time, but they stay very fresh.