Radio Massacre International - Rain Falls in Grey
Radio Massacre International is a British trio of Steve Dinsdale (keyboards, electronics, drums), Duncan Goddard (keyboards, electronics, bass) and Gary Houghton (guitar, synthesizers). These three musicians have worked together in various configurations since they were 16 year old students in the 70's and formed R.M.I. in 1993. Their second Cuneiform release (and the band's 27th overall) is something quite different from the band's previous work. Best known for electronic space music for keyboards, electronics and guitars, here Radio Massacre have expanded greatly upon their usual sound and also use conventional rock instrumentation, adding bass and drums, to create a sincere and moving tribute to Syd Barrett, and in doing so, manage to capture some of the psychedelic magic of 1967-1968. This album features a really striking cover by Daevid Allen, which is also a hommage to Syd.
"This album is our way of saying goodbye and thanks to a genuine one-off. His passing had an unexpectedly profound effect, despite the fact that he hadn't been near a guitar in more than 30 years. It forced us to consider what an enormous influence he was, despite his space-ageascendancy and equally rapid burnout. He picked up a zippo lighter, invented glissando guitar and incorporated non-musical sounds into the context of the new psychedelic movement that had hardly had time to leave the conformity of Rhythm & Blues behind. His creation was a particularly English take on what we now call 'rock'...and for those of us engaged in experimental or space rock, the debt is enormous."-Radio Massacre International
Radio Massacre International, in my book, has to be one of the finest electronic acts today. This 2007 release, Rain Falls in Grey, is their second release on Cuneiform, and is quite a bit different from what you expect from these guys. This dedication to Syd Barrett is much more dominated by guitar and drums, but don't worry, Steve Dinsdale and Duncan Goddard still get to use their synths and Mellotron. The music overall has a stronger Pink Floyd feel, especially that of "Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive" (I get reminded of such cuts when listening to this, but of course that's the point when you deal with Syd Barrett). Yes, this is RMI doing their stab at prog rock, and they succeed with flying colors! Prog rock is hardly alien to these guys so it's natural for them. I also love how Gary Houghton employs the glissando guitar technique on this CD. The band also gets help from Martin Archer for saxes and Cyndee Lee Rule for electric violin (neither strangers to prog rock). I nearly forgot to mention, the cover artwork was by Daevid Allen, giving the cover an almost Gong-like feel (not to mention a Pot Head Pixie-like creature on the lower right-hand corner). The opening title track is simply amazing, going through different changes, from rocking passages with that psychedelic touch to passages where Gary gives us that wonderful glissando guitar (which gives the instant Gong comparison), and a great ambient ending. "Bettr'r Day-s" features some nice themes and Mellotron work, then the sequencers kick in (which is the only time they use it on this CD), giving listeners a glimpse of their usual sound. "Shut Up" is a bizarre and relentless piece that leads up to the rocking "Syd". After two more cuts, the band really mellows out big time with "...Far Away", which is a nice ambient piece. It's a great experiment the band did here. Many people might complain that Ozric Tentacles play the same thing over and over (although I'm a big fan of theirs), you wouldn't accuse RMI of the same thing. This is RMI's exploration into space rock, and I very much recommend this to all space rock fans. Of course, if you're new to RMI, this is not your typical RMI CD, but it's a great CD still the same!
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