Durutti Column – Vini Reilly (London Recordings)

Reading the press release, one reference immediately leapt off the page, this was a quote from music publication Pitchfork, being “Arguably Factory’s greatest contribution to contemporary music”, fine praise indeed, as I pressed play. This contribution is made by Durutti Column, and here we have their album Vini Reilly, a seminal album produced by Stephen Street. Originally released in 1989, it is now honoured with this 35th-anniversary 5-disc box set. I can categorically say that if you’ve never heard this album, you don’t know what you’re missing.

In this case, a 57-track set, clocking in at just over 3 hours. This is an ethereal piece of work from the Manchester band and no ordinary album, as the opening track ‘Love No More’ shows off its best side. With its Balearic tones, this uncovers Vini Reilly’s Spanish guitar eloquence, along with the band’s perfect rhythm and timing. You might consider that the album would continue with this flavour in mind, but ‘Pol in G is far removed from its predecessor and while my guitar gently weeps, shows off Reilly’s fretboard mastery, one that would make any budding guitarist consider their options. Through the ghostly tones of ‘Opera I’, the almost jazz/funk arrangement of ‘People’s Pleasure Park’, and the beautiful resonance of ‘Red Square’, the record proves, if nothing else, that it has a vast repertoire. The lucky seventh tune on the album, ‘Otis’, is a number that has had an evocative visualiser by digital innovators Prehuman, created for this classic track. More substantial than a music video, this visualiser uses archive Manchester film footage from the period, creating an immersive journey through time. This includes live footage of the band and the iconic club, The Hacienda, along with graphics created especially for the piece.

The second disc, titled The Sporadic Recordings, starts with ‘Buddhist Prayer’, which uses a form of tapping that would aid the perfect meditation. This whole disc can be turned into a meditation, so gentle and willing is the recording. It features 28 tracks which culminate in ‘Diazepam 10 Mgs’, I guess for the perfect night’s rest. Finishing in a fade, this continues into dialogue from an airport customs desk and, when asked to confirm the type of music these 5 musicians, en route to Washington, perform, a voice confirms “Avant garde, jazz, classical. Simply delicious.

Disc 3 features the Womad Live EP, along with bonus live tracks and demos, totalling 16 in all and begins with the most track-fit number heard here, a live version of ‘Otis‘. Perhaps it’s the live setting this is taken from, but consider it the perfect soundtrack for your morning workout, as the performance doesn’t sit down for moving on. This is the case for the band’s timekeeping, as these live recordings show the band in a light perhaps forgotten by this avant-garde, jazz, classical ensemble. In some respects, I would liken elements to those of German techno pioneers Kraftwerk; timing is their strong point. What is lovely to hear, are the demo recordings, the group fully stripped back, conveying almost the thoughts of the tracks being played. ‘Opera II’, stands almost naked, as the haunting vocal cries out beneath the instrumentation. The track ‘Sample Tune’ echoes through what I hear as a vacant room, somewhere south of Higher Blackley, the birthplace of their guitarist. I love the very thought provided by the track ‘Sketches on Stratocaster’, in which I can see the conjuring of this medicine on the Fender six-string of its creator, only now being brought into the public realm.

Disc 4 hears Durutti Column perform Live From Porto on the 30th April 1988. This set is presented on an exclusive DVD featuring the 13-track performance from Northern Portugal. The 5th disc is a bonus 1-track 3-inch mini CD, replicating the addition found on the original CD pressing. Essentially, this was a solo project by native Mancunian, Vini Reilly, a performer once described by John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers as “the best guitarist in the World”. An influence to countless artists, their music still resonates today and that ‘solo’ album would become Vini Reilly. This set includes a newly commissioned essay from Durutti Column expert James Nice, liner notes by band member Bruce Mitchell, as well as those by the late Anthony Wilson. Interview extracts from Vini Reilly, with restored and outtake images, are also included. For anyone interested in the band, be them a fan from the early days, someone who missed them the first time around, or a millennial eager to learn from these masters, the release day is April 19th, with a limited 25th Anniversary black vinyl edition, released to coincide with Record Store day on the 20th April. A band far from the madding crowd, described by the band themselves as we heard earlier, as musicians performing “avant-garde-jazz-classical” music, that, once visited, I’m sure will fill you with an overwhelming desire to return.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *