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It isn’t exactly accurate to describe Martin Rev as some forgotten genius of innovative electronica. A great many music listeners know of / have heard / remember his collaboration with vocalist Alan Vega as Suicide, a band whose then groundbreaking approach to musicianship and songwriting alienated as many fans as it attracted at the end of the 1970s.
First released in 1980 and now reissued on the Superior Viaduct label, Rev’s self-titled first solo album is something more than just a third Suicide album minus Alan Vega. It’s a work of electronic composition, it’s experimental in a structured manner as Rev continues to find ways with which to optimise the limitations of his studio equipment, and in its remastered form it’s a powerful reminder of exactly how much innovation Rev was working with. Tracks such as “Baby Oh Baby” and “Mari” continue the ideas that propelled Suicide’s most successful moments, late night blues ballads deconstructed into contorted blasts of electronic sound, while longer tracks, specifically “Temptation” show Rev developing his music beyond the chart friendly concepts that hadn’t, in his own instance, really achieved what others may have wished. It’s also interesting to hear Rev’s continuing attempts to boost the results he can get from his rhythm boxes using a variety of production effects.
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|JG Thirlwell’s Manorexia will be embarking on a series of European dates this Spring.
On this tour, JG Thirlwell [compositions / laptop] will be joined by Angharad Davies [violin], Tim Parkinson [piano], Nozomi Cohen [viola], Rachel Steadman [violin], Adam Morris [percussion] and Jessica Cox [cello], with Katy Cox filling in on cello on just the Munich date.”..his compositional interests… betray a samplists ear for appropriation and mutation of materials. Nino Rota and Bernard Hermann are strongly evoked on “Armadillo Stance” and “Canaries In The Mineshaft”, while elsewhere there are references to minimalism, particularly the more energised work of John Adams [such as the Carl Stalling inspired Chamber Symphony]. What saves this music from being mere pastiche is the force of Thirlwell’s imagination and obvious delight in discovering ways that these disparate styles can function together…..easing up on the breakneck attack that characterises the bulk of his music Thirlwell reveals himself to be an effective, often inspired composer.”
- Keith Moline, The Wire
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