Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Andy Jackson - 73 Days at Sea


This is Andy's second album for Esoteric and follows on from a similar stylistic viewpoint which "Signal to Noise" hinted at. There is an obvious Pink Floyd feel here, not surprising giving his connection with that band and David Gilmour as engineer and producer. However, I think on this latest album he is making strides to develop his own particular, individual sound. The songs are all connected by a singular concept of water and that gives the overall album a cohesion, with Andy's lush production and loose, languid guitar playing evoking a singular, dreamy, hazy voyage throughout. I am reminded of Robert Wyatt's "Rock Bottom" which similarly evoked a dreamy, aquatic soundscape. The unhurried nature of the album enables the melodies to slowly evolve and a few listens are required for the songs to truly give up their riches. It's great to hear the unmistakeable sqawling sax of ex-VdGG David Jackson (no relation) on the epic Drownings, adding another sonic element to the proceedings.

This is an unusual, but impressive album. It sounds great as expected, not only on the CD but especially the hi-res stereo on the accompanying DVD which also has a surround mix which I am sure makes for an even more immersive, watery experience!


Friday, 19 February 2016

Daevid Allen Weird Quartet - Elevenses

Poor showing of postings due to weeks of feeling shit due to illness. Nearly fighting fit again! Anyway, here we have the final recordings by Daevid Allen before his flying off in the celestial teapot! It's a great selection of all that was great about Allen throughout his career from Soft Machine, through to Gong and beyond. I don't know the other musicians apart from Paul Sears who was a member of the magnificent US Canterbury styled outfit The Muffins. This collection has that whimsical, yet instrumentally complex structure which characterised the best of the Canterbury bands. There is even a hint of early Pere Ubu in the wonky synths and playfulness. That Allen was very ill when this was made is remarkable. His voice is in fine form and his guitar playing even better. For me, along with Sid Barrett I have always felt that Allen was one of the great guitar experimenters of the late 60's. His trademark glissando guitar is here, sounding as cosmic as always, but his guitar playing is aggressive, fierce, edgy, belying his years or health. Of course this is a quartet and the other musicians are excellent throughout, but it's Allen's presence which takes this to a magical level.

This is a superb collection of songs and instrumentals and is a fine, final testament to the wonderful, individual genius that was Daevid Allen.