For several years, Radio Massacre International have stood at the forefront the electronic music field, producing albums that blended the old retro Berlin sound with contemporary EM. Now, the band have changed their style, their genre, even their instruments. Changes like that are rarely fortuitous, but this time is distinctly different--the exception that proves the rule. Embracing progrock with the skillful grip of a longtime master, RMI are flourishing in new directions with dazzling tuneage.
RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL: Rain Falls in Grey (CD on Cuneiform Records)
This release from 2007 offers 60 minutes of electronic progrock.
Radio Massacre International is: Steve Dinsdale (on keyboards, drums, percussion glockenspiel, looper, and vocals), Gary Houghton (on guitars, glissando guitar, synthesizer, looper, and vocals), and Duncan Goddard (on keyboards, bass, mellotron, and P3 sequencer). They are joined on this record by: Martin Archer (on sopranino, saxophones, bass clarinet, and bass recorder) and Cyndee Lee Rule (on electric violin).
The music on this release is an inspired tribute to the late Syd Barrett, whose influence coaxed psychedelic music to mature in numerous directions.
Although electronics remain prominent in RMI’s sonic repertoire, the main instruments here are guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, with heavy contribution by horns.
It has always been RMI’s style to start a song with a gradual ascension from seeming chaos, electronic textures seething and coalescing into engaging cohesion. This time, that intro miasma is achieved with horns and piercing guitar notes, leading to a warped melody that hints at Pink Floyd origins but never really goes so far as to duplicate. The tune is mutated, tweaked and evolved into a fresh sonic entity--one of astounding charm and slick resonance.
The guitar shows divine diversity, producing astral passages of dreamy glissando, then switching to dole out hard riffs with effortless ease. Glistening chords cavort with delightful allure, meshing perfectly with the other instruments to achieve whole new melodies.
The drums crash and rollick with fervent passion, describing compelling locomotion and delivering enticingly complex rhythms that help drive these dreamy songs to a seemingly endless series of ecstatic crescendos.
The bass rumbles with such subtlety that its influence is more discernible than its actual notes.
The keyboards accomplish a nostalgic sound with droney sweeps and nimble-fingered calisthenics generating melodies that shimmer with honeyed appeal. This old school character exists in constant parallel with modern key applications, fusing the two stylistic moods to generate euphoric passages of incredible proportion.
The horns lend a jazzy flair to the music, each appearance flavoring the flow with strident enthusiasm.
Let’s not overlook the contributions of violin to this tuneage, for those airs serve to bestow an eerie edge to the fluid mix.
Shorn of all the background implications, these compositions shine with a mesmerizing luster. They are the handiwork of divine intervention, channeled through mortal fingers to enlighten the masses. The tunes combine the celestial ambience of contemporary EM with the seething power of progressive music, creating a union of severe worth and lasting durability.
This release sports amazing cover art by Daevid Allen (from Gong).
RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL: Blacker (CD on Northern Echo Recordings)
This release from 2007 offers 58 minutes of spacey music.
It has always been RMI’s fashion to release an auxiliary CD for each “official” release, offering material that compliments the main album. “Blacker” is the companion to “Rain Falls in Grey.”
Here, the progrock sensibilities are present, but more immersed in a EM style that renders each tune into a liquid excursion into soothing psychedelic tuneage. The instrumentation is the same (minus horns and violin), but the consequent songs display a dreamier, flowing sound.
The guitar remains tantamount, delivering a bevy of tastily searing riffs and euphoric glissando undulations. Fierce outbursts become roiling clouds that ooze through the music like glittering serpents.
The bass adopts a more prominent presence here, bringing the rumble to the forefront instead of lurking within the depths of the mix.
The keyboards build glamorous passages that creep upon you before you even notice that the tuneage has slid from primal harmonics into melodies of solid charisma. Electronics are constantly providing an undercurrent of wondrous embellishment.
Categorical drums appear less frequently on this record. The music relies more on cyclic pulsations for a rhythmic presence, injecting softer punctuation into the heavenly flow.
These compositions exhibit a predilection for evolving stunning melodies from stretches of anticipatory abstraction. The results are beatific and rapturous. The songs are in a state of constant flux, moving from one notion to the next, seamlessly bridging together different melodies into a sonic quilt that will keep you agape with enchantment.
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