Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop
This Way, originally released in 1984 on Mute (STUMM 18), was Bruce Gilbert's first solo album being realised in that brief period between Dome winding down operations and Wire reforming for first time. A stunning study... more »
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This Way, originally released in 1984 on Mute (STUMM 18), was Bruce Gilbert's first solo album being realised in that brief period between Dome winding down operations and Wire reforming for first time. A stunning study of controlled ambience and subtle minimalism, which is still regarded as an all time favourite to us here at Editions Mego. The bulk of the album is taken up by the mighty Do You Me? I Did / Swamp pieces which were commissioned for piece of the same name by choreographer Michael Clark. A grey tonal poem of amazing bleak beauty building up to the ecstatic crescendo of the third movement. Elsewhere short notes on the possibilities of abstract electronic noise are included in the form of Here Visit and U, Mu, U, which still hold their sense of urgency a quarter of a century after being initially recorded. This is also the first time the complete album is available domestically on CD. Previous CD issues were the This Way to The Shivering Man on Mute (with U Mu U missing), and the Japan only 3 CD box with This Way, Shivering Man and Insiding previously released by Alfa Recordings. This 25th Anniversary reissue is remastered by Russell Haswell and contains a rework by Dave Coppenhall on Angela Conway's original artwork.
"This Way" is obscure, good, and very much available now
J. GARRATT | 01/22/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you own the Bruce Gilbert compilation "This Way to the Shivering Man," then you are already familiar with 92% of what's on here. The only track you are missing is the final one, "U Mu U." And alas, it's the shortest one at 3:13. The first two movements of "Work For Do You Me? I Did" are part of one twenty-minute mp3, whereas they were separate tracks on the aforementioned compilation. Don't know why that is, but I guess Editions Mego have their reasons.
I consider myself a Wire fan, but I love Bruce Gilbert's releases mostly because they are just so attractively weird. Only after I get sucked into the collages do I get past the weirdness and discover why I really like it. "This Way" is no exception. It took me quite a while to become comfortable with the sounds going on here, but it was worth it. If this stuff is challenging to listen to in 2010, what did it sound like in 1984?
A majority of this album is "Work For Do You Me? I Did," a grammatical train wreck to say. I believed it was commissioned for choreography, and what strange choreography is must have been. The first movement is a billowy, haunting motif of angelic voices withstanding random sounds coming from both sides of the headphones/speakers. Sometimes it's soft static. Sometimes it's a wiggly, tremble sound. Towards the end it sounds like a crying child with dead reverb.
The second movement is just as eerie. Unlike Gilbert's most avant-garde sound sc(r)apes, the ambient card gets played like Brian Eno with more guts. After a while, you forget that you are listening to what sounds like a harsh, distorted bell against the soft, synthesized backdrop. The third movement has something I've never heard from Gilbert; a sampled beat. It almost sounds like early hatchings of trip hop (though I admit that I don't know how far back that genre goes). A mellow beginning eventually gives way to tremolo samples and something that almost sounds like a keyboard melody.
"Here Visit" probably has more in common with what "music" Bruce Gilbert would make in the future. It combines some harsh, foreign sound sampled against a droning note or note cluster (I honestly can't tell). But "U Mu U" is probably even more schizophrenic of the two shorter pieces, showcasing a metallic vamp that constantly shifting in and out of time with itself. It's dizzying. I also like the way it stops, as if Gilbert grabbed the brake and pulled it back in less than a second's time.
Well, describing this stuff is rather tough, but I hope it helped anyway. Even if this is a reissue, it's nice to see that a label like Editions Mego is taking an interest in Bruce Gilbert's weirdness. The album has aged quite well and the download price is pretty nice considering what the CD costs you. "This Way" is a very mysterious but rich piece of work. It's worth the excavation."