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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1989 | London Music Stream - Because Music

Less of an intentionally confusing title than might be thought, Reilly for all intents and purposes is Durutti no matter the changes through the years -- Vini Reilly does signal another new phase of the band's work, moving into a full embrace of technological possibilities via an Akai sampler. With Reilly and Mitchell joined by a slew of guests -- Swing Out Sister keyboardist Andy Connell; singers Pol, Rob Gray, and Liu Sola; and even former member John Metcalfe on the epic surge "Finding the Sea" -- Durutti this time around pursued the organic/machine combination to even more successful conclusions than on The Guitar. Reilly's singing has often come in for criticism (unwarranted, really, considering how his soft approach effortlessly suits the general atmosphere of Durutti's work), so the slew of sampled and borrowed snippets from other vocalists and musicians that pepper the album makes for an intriguing change. "Love No More," the album opener, shows how the approach can work, with acoustic guitar to the fore and echoed, truly haunting snippets of what sound like soul and opera singers wafting through the mix. Another full-on highlight is "Otis," with Pol's live singing and Connell's keyboards combining with a brisk synth loop, building Mitchell drums, an astonishing, uplifting Reilly guitar line, and the legendary singer Mr. Redding himself in a combination that needs to be heard. Mitchell's overall work on percussion is less prominent than before but still present, while Reilly's guitar efforts are again simply wonderful, further testing new approaches on both acoustic and electric that call to mind everyone from John Fahey to Bootsy Collins. If that last comparison seems strange, give the loud and funky "People's Pleasure Park" a listen, then marvel at how Sola's lovely singing and Reilly's further guitar runs transform it yet again. The 1996 reissue is one of the most comprehensive of the series, including not merely two more tracks recorded around that time but selections from Sporadic Recordings. Given by Reilly to a friend to release, as Factory otherwise couldn't easily fit it into its own schedule, it's a generally more stripped-down affair. The six numbers here include a variety of winners like the upbeat, appropriately titled "Real Drums -- Real Drummer" and the Pat Nevin/football tribute "Shirt No. 7." © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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LC

Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1981 | London Music Stream - Because Music

After some abortive collaborations, Reilly hooked up with a regular drummer, talented fellow Mancunian Bruce Mitchell, to create LC, Durutti's second full release. Self-produced by Reilly but bearing the unmistakable hints of his earlier work with Martin Hannett, LC, named after a bit of Italian graffiti, extends Reilly's lovely talents ever further, resulting in a new set of evocative, carefully played and performed excursions on electric guitar. Mitchell's crisp but never overly dominant drumming actually starts the record off via "Sketch for Dawn I," added to by a simply captivating low series of notes from Reilly that builds into a softly triumphant melodic surge, repeating a core motif again and again. His piano playing adds a perfect counterpart, while the final touch are his vocals -- low speak-singing that sounds utterly appropriate in context, mixed low and capturing the emotional flavor at play via delivery rather than lyrical content. As great as Return is, this is perhaps even better, signaling a full flowering of Reilly's talents throughout the album. Mitchell proves him time and again to be in perfect sync with Reilly, adding gentle brio and understated variation to the latter's compositions. Nowhere is this more apparent than on "The Missing Boy," the album's unquestioned highlight. Written in memory of Ian Curtis of Joy Division, on it Mitchell adds quick, sudden hits contrasting against the low, tense atmosphere of the song, while fragile piano notes and Reilly's own regret-tinged, yearning vocals complete the picture. For all the implicit melancholy in Durutti's work, there's a surprising amount of life and energy throughout -- "Jaqueline" is perhaps the standout, with a great central melody surrounded by the expected Reilly elaborations and additions in the breaks. As with the rest of Durutti's mid-'90s reissues, the expanded version of LC appears full to the brim with intriguing bonus tracks galore. The first three capture an abortive collaboration with another Manc drummer, funk performer Donald Johnson. A contribution to a holiday album, "One Christmas for Your Thoughts," finds Reilly back with drum machines, while the very first Reilly/Mitchell collaborations, "Danny" and "Enigma," round out this excellent release. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1990 | London Music Stream - Because Music

For all that the previous album was called Vini Reilly, Obey the Time was in fact Durutti's most specifically Reilly-only release yet. Even percussion stalwart Mitchell only appeared on one track this time around, the fine, subtly uplifting punch of "Art and Freight," partially due to where Reilly's head was at this time around. Inspired by the late-'80s acid house revolution in England, with his native Manchester firmly at ground zero, Reilly aimed to combine that with his usual guitar approach to see what would happen. Where in nearly any other hands this would have been a pathetic crossover disaster waiting to happen, the end results are gratifyingly like what his compatriots in New Order did the previous year with Technique, synthesizing up-to-date styles to create something distinctly different. Even a title like "Spanish Reggae," which sounds like something out of world music hell, turns out to be both accurate and not a nightmare, with light flamenco snippets and other electric guitar work from Reilly fed through heavy dub echo over a slow, just menacing enough modern dancehall rhythm. While most of the percussion patterns Reilly creates aren't specifically acid in sound, reflecting more hard-slamming electro and synth-funk from earlier years, there's enough of the cusp-of-the-'90s about everything to show he wasn't dating himself. Keyboard stabs, as on "Fridays," clearly show techno's favoring of stuttering, choppy melodies, while Reilly's own knack for what suits a song best means sometimes it's more gentle acoustica and other times full-on electric shimmer and drive. "Hotel of the Lake, 1990" demonstrates his skills well, with a steady beat and clean, funky guitar and bass work accompanied by whooshing, minimal synth loops and, reappearing throughout the song, a classically Durutti five-note guitar melody with deep echo. Other numbers like the gently dramatic "The Warmest Rain" make Obey the Time another fine Durutti release. The 1998 reissue includes a 1990 dance mix by Together and, in an interesting discographical switcheroo, a moody jungle remix of "My Last Kiss" from 1998's Time Was...Gigantic album called, in a knowing nod to New Order's "The Perfect Kiss," "Kiss of Def." © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1983 | London Music Stream - Because Music

Continuing -- perhaps to a fault -- the sound and style of LC, Another Setting is a quite fine effort from Reilly and Mitchell, which makes up for quality what it lacks in surprising reinvention. Whereas LC was a clear leap forward from an impressive start, Another Setting tries slight variations instead, otherwise sticking to the same combination of Reilly's elegant guitar work; Mitchell's subtle, effective drum lines; and a dollop of distanced singing and keyboard work from Reilly on top of that partnership. Given that this combination is already so distinctly and uniquely the band's, though, it's hard to complain too much when hearing numbers like the gently tense "Bordeaux" and the emotional, oboe-tinged crawl of "Smile in the Crowd," later covered by Depeche Mode's Martin Gore. Opening track "Prayer" is actually one of the best things he's done, a softly rising, meditative piece with soft synth horns mixing with a brief Reilly guitar part just so. "Francesca," meanwhile, demonstrates his skills at combining a central melody with subtle improvisation and development throughout the rest of the track, again double-tracking his pieces to create a hypnotic effect. These and many other moments clearly signal where a fair amount of Cocteau Twins' work would eventually go, not to mention other later avatars of experimental guitar calm like Talk Talk and Piano Magic. Mitchell's standout moments crop up throughout, one of the best being "The Beggar." Giving just enough drumming heft and power to be as anthemic as an early U2 song without sounding ridiculously overwrought at all, it's a grand fusion of Durutti's general restraint and a more straightforward punch. The sometimes easy-to-miss humor in Durutti also remains present, as the title of one Morricone-tinged number puts it, "For a Western." Its 1998 reissue is a humdinger -- besides including the entirety of the quite rare Amigos Em Portugal release, a five-song EP released only in that country, both sides of the "Favourite Descending Intervals"/"To End With" single fill out the disc. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1987 | London Music Stream - Because Music

Following up the band's second live album, A Night in New York, Durutti's composition changed slightly, with both Kellet and Metcalfe off to pursue other ventures, the former ending up in Simply Red. The core Reilly/Mitchell duo settled down in studio to create another striking development in Durutti's story, The Guitar and Other Machines. So named because of Reilly's choice to explore and use newer instruments, specifically a Yamaha Sequencer and a DMX Drum Machine among others, while also trying out new approaches with his guitar playing, first signaled on Circuses and Bread. Opening track "Arpeggiator," one of several cuts originally previewed on A Night in New York, gives a sense as to the result. There's a more straightforwardly soaring lead guitar line; quick, gently perky synth loops; a heavy drum punch; additional strings; and other touches to fill out the busy but strong arrangement. While technology in general was no stranger to the band, these instruments and approaches were, resulting in a generally lusher record than most recorded by Durutti before it, with more rather than fewer instruments being the key motif while still retaining an economy of performance. Both Metcalfe and Kellet appeared on an album highlight, "When the World," recalling the band's mid-'80s highlights while Reilly turns in a surprisingly loud, kick-ass solo, contrasting his acoustic work on the immediately following "U.S.P." Otherwise, a variety of other performers assisted the duo as needed, including producer Stephen Street, who sat in on bass on "English Landscape Tradition," and guest singers Stanton Miranda and Pol (a high point of "When the World" who ironically enough doesn't appear on "Pol in B"). Rob Gray's mouth organ work adds a nicely rootsy feel to "What Is It to Me (Woman)" and "Jongleur Grey," a notable contrast against Durutti's generally futurist approach. Continuing the string of excellent Durutti reissues, its 1996 reappearance included several other studio tracks done around that time, notably the moody and mysterious "LFO Mod," which only appeared on the Valuable Passages compilation in the U.S., and "Dream Topping," featuring a reunion with A Certain Ratio singer Jeremy Kerr. Concluding the reissue are four further tracks from a performance at Peter Gabriel's WOMAD festival, with guest appearances from Chinese opera singer Liu Sola and Swing Out Sister keyboardist Andy Connell, both of whom would feature on the Vini Reilly album. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1984 | London Music Stream - Because Music

Marking a further progression in the overall Durutti sound, Without Mercy both an expanded lineup and sense of what could be done with Reilly's compositions. Consisting of a two-part full-album instrumental piece, Without Mercy integrates the slight hints of classical orchestration and accompaniment from Another Setting more fully via a slew of additional players. Besides the indefatigable Mitchell on percussion and Reilly on guitar, bass, and keyboards, performers on everything from viola to cor anglais and trumpet flesh out Without Mercy's sound to newly striking heights. Reilly's work on piano sets the initial mood for the song, a sound by now as intrinsic to Durutti's approach as his guitar work, capturing both tender beauty and deep melancholy just so. Manaugh Fleming's oboe and Tim Kellet's trumpet start to step in as well as Reilly's guitar, adding in here and there as needed while the track unfolds further to another typically brilliant Reilly guitar solo. From such a striking start, the song continues to unfold over the album's full length. It's very self-consciously romantic (track and album are in fact named for Keats' noted poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci), but the combination of new and old instruments, plus the continuation of the unique Durutti sheen and shine in the recording quality, results in quietly touching heights. Blaine Reininger's viola and violin and Caroline Lavelle's cello add even more classical atmosphere, while the restraint they exercise as well as all the other performers prevent things from becoming a bloated prog-rock monstrosity. Then again, the funky horns and beats about eight minutes into the second part don't hurt either. Even at its busiest, reflection and subdued but not inactive performing are the key, with clear echoes of Erik Satie's work at many points, while Reilly is almost always, either via keyboards or his guitar, front and center. The 1998 reissue matches a slightly earlier CD version with the inclusion of the Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say EP. Also appearing are two separate, very stripped-down pieces recorded around the same time, one of which, the wonderful "All That Love and Maths Can Do," features violist John Metcalfe in his first recorded effort with Durutti. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1985 | London Music Stream - Because Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 4, 2008 | LTM Recordings

This release is comprised of studio recordings of pieces performed as live accompaniment for Treatise on the Steppenwolf, a 2003 theatrical adaptation of Hermann Hesse's 1927 novel, Steppenwolf. The production was staged by Twelve Stars, a Glasgow-based company, whose work often explores the experimental intersections of music and theater. Twelve Stars' interest in the dramatic possibilities of music, like their connection with Vini Reilly, was not coincidental: the project's artistic directors, Gerard McInulty and Carolyn Allen, were members of the Wake, erstwhile Factory labelmates of the Durutti Column. Reilly's soundtrack displays his familiar eclecticism, as unaccompanied ethereal guitar kaleidoscopes ("The Title on the Cover") sit comfortably alongside more percussion-driven material, occasionally infused with electronic dance beats ("A Wolf of the Steppes"). Although Reilly sings on one track (something his late manager, Tony Wilson, always discouraged), the most compelling numbers integrate others' vocals sampled from pop and opera, sometimes blending the two within the same track: "Interlude," "Magic Theatre," and "Divided" are sublime examples. Two live segments are also included. One of these ("Lullaby") incorporates a monologue spoken by Carolyn Allen, giving some insight into the way music and the dramatic text worked together in the original theatrical context. Durutti Column fans will recognize many of these tracks: "Mello" was first heard on 2001's Rebellion; versions of "Stupid Steppenwolf" and "A Beautiful Thought" feature on Someone Else's Party (2003) as "Woman" and "Drinking Time," respectively (the latter also appearing on 1998's Time Was Gigantic...When We Were Kids as "Drinking Song"); and "Harry Dreams the Dream" was reincarnated as "Lullaby 4 Nina" on Tempus Fugit (2004). Given this crossover with Reilly's other releases and given that this music was intended as one component of a broader artistic spectacle, Treatise on the Steppenwolf isn't a stand-alone Durutti Column album. However, that's not to deny the quality of the material presented here. © Wilson Neate /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 2, 2008 | LTM Recordings

Part of LTM's early-2008 reissue series of a slew of Durutti Column releases that had originally appeared on Crepuscule, Live in Bruxelles was the sole "new" release, though as the title indicates it's actually an archival tape seeing official light for the first time. Taken from a radio soundboard recording done for broadcast, the set is a mix of tracks from The Return of the Durutti Column, the then-unreleased LC, and various singles and one-offs, including the highly obscure, somewhat unsettling physicality-of-romance portrait "Stains (Useless Body)." Compared to the almost preternaturally clean atmospheres of the studio recordings at the time, Live in Bruxelles is rougher around the edges, not just simply because of the recording quality (fair but not pristine) and the mix, which often foregrounds Bruce Mitchell's drums. It's hearing those drums that gives the disc part of its impact, though -- having just recently begun to work with Vini Reilly, you get a sense that he's still testing out the feeling of the partnership to the full, and moments like the breakdown toward the end of "Sketch for Dawn" and the various mini-solos throughout "Jacqueline" show both what a remarkable drummer he is and how well he slotted in with Reilly's own muse. Reilly himself shines as expected; while his singing is much more direct and sharp given the mix, as can especially be heard on a stellar take on "The Missing Boy," as ever it's still a voice notable more for absence rather than presence, translating most of his feelings into his trademark fluid guitar runs and deceptively calm melodies. (There's one notable exception to this via some crazy soloing on "Self Portrait," which almost comes out of nowhere.) An enjoyable bonus appears at the end with the inclusion of an interview done just after the performance, where Reilly thoughtfully answers various, if sometimes muffled, questions about his work, including some thoughts on the balance between experimentalism and accessibility he found himself aiming for (which in many ways remains true through the present day), as well as a calmly stated but fierce denunciation of the venue's PA system he's just performed with. © Ned Raggett /TiVo