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Pop - Released June 19, 1999 | Rhino

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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
LC

Pop - Released June 19, 1999 | Rhino

Distinctions Album du mois Magic
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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

Pop - Released June 19, 1999 | Rhino

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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

Pop - Released June 19, 1999 | Rhino

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Pop - Released June 19, 1999 | Rhino

Download not available