A week’s time, a place on their own, the old gear at hand, reels running ready to catch the spark, if one will ever happen to appear. To a first listening, what struck me was how “old” was the music of the first cd sounding. Also the feeling of the recording, very wide and fresh but raw, very close to a band jamming in a rehearsal room rather than recording in a studio. A freeze frame of a project still managing to grow up and choose its direction. World Record, with its obsessive search of a musical interplay, unexpectedly came to mind.
The opener, Every bloody emperor, despite a strong link to the latest Hammill production (not too nice sounding electric piano included) gets very close to the chord progression of We go now and to the organ/sax interplay of Meurglys III, though it seems not to evolve the way it should and repeat too much the same chord sequence. It seems clear that what we have is a collection of golden drafts, of little musical patterns, of preciuous moments of re-gained band feeling rather than a collection of songs. During Abandon Ship a very strong organ riff emerges, layed on a vocal and instrumental nonsene very much in a Gong vein. Babelsberg is leaded by a stunning electric bass riff, but the noisy and rough electric guitar parts waste it a little bit. Quite all the tracks are builted on riffs and repeated chords sequences, the vocal parts and vocal melodies are just sketched and not very impressive.
The second CD contains ten improvised tracks but is heavy linked to the first cd: a preamble more than a progression. We are in an It all went red/Time vaults territory, also the intro and final part of the ’70s live versions of Lemmings come to mind. So, to sum it up, was I bemused? Well, not really. But I can’t avoid to ask myself if this was really the best way to be back in business after so long: what we have is only 35 minutes of very rough material, quite interesting but still not very structured. Will we really get a new record this autumn? I really hope so. For now, I can only confirm what Hammill said: “Yes, the spark was there”. Now we hope that the summer live experience could help turning the spark into a fire, or into a storm. (Paolo Carnelli)