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Crommie; Daniel: Selective Amnesia Vol 2 - The Early Years 1976-1984

Number 7 in the extensive "New Weave Archive Series", Selective Amnesia Vol 2 - The Early Years 1976 - 1984, focuses on the early work of Group Du Jour, Echo System and Saturnalia Trio man Daniel Crommie. Bringing together seventeen recordings Selective Amnesia Vol 2 works backwards from Vol 1, which concentrated on the years between '84 and 2009. So while cherry picking from a shorter period - although twelve years is hardly short - Vol 2 is possibly the more eclectic of the two. "Skylight" and "Sweetheart Waltz" from 1976 introduce us to a stark instrumental acoustic sound that possesses a light airy quality built upon by what would go on to become the trademark flute sound of Crommie. While the next five tracks move us forward two years for would make up the folky vibe of Crommie's first proper studio recordings Skeletons. The fuzzy guitars and plaintive vocal give off a naive charm, while never disguising that these tracks haven't exactly aged well. However through the use of interesting percussion and flute, there's no denying that Crommie was already laying the foundation from which much if his music has been built on since.

By 1982 Crommie had come and gone from the folk-medieval band Continuum which he founded, with that same approach being used for "Mirror Pond", "Puffins", "Pastourelle" and "Love Poems" to good, if unspectacular effect. Fellow ex-Continuum man Gary Haggerty adding mandolin and mandocello to the latter two tracks respectively. "Rivulet" then jumps back to 1981, but it's easy to see why it has been placed after the folk tinged tracks on this collection, with this synthesizer piece having far more in common with what Crommie would go on to produce with Group Du Jour, which he formed with Bo and Paul Parker in 1983. Although through the percussion and ethnic feel it also hints at some of the solo work he'd conjure up at the start of the following decade.

From there the mood changes significantly, bearing basically no relation to what has preceded it, with the monotone synth drone of "Foreshadow" from 1983 undoubtedly ushering in a new musical era for Crommie and the world at large. It is an uncompromising piece that illustrates where this prolific artist would sometimes dare to go again in the future, while "Faith Healer In Wires" from the same session offers a less stark take on a similar idea. That leaves the final three songs, "Red Band, Blue Tribe", "Wounded Angel" and "True Industrial Funk" from a year later to close this compilation out. The first of the three repeats the themes and ideas explored in "Foreshadow", while the final pairing move into the electro-sounds that Group Du Jour would also employ, veering from New Romantic through Kraftwerk precision and Talking Heads like vocals.

Due to the vast array of styles brought together on this album, there's no denying that Selective Amnesia Vol 2 makes for an unusual listening experience when taken in one sitting. The album basically splitting in two distinct halves as you venture through the years with Crommie. For fans of the man's music, it is a must, collecting together recordings barely available before and delivering them into the digital age. However the quality can in truth vary significantly and while there are some aspects which link the music from song to song, there's a strong chance that those enticed by the folky nature of the earliest tracks on show, will be left cold by the electro-synth of later years and vice versa.

All in an interesting, eclectic and challenging collection. A statement which in itself describes the music of Daniel Crommie perfectly.


Track Listing
1. Skylight
2. Sweetheart Waltz
3. November
4. The Fools Moon
5. My Soft, Soft Friend
6. Morningstar Song
7. Song Of The Banshee
8. Mirror Pond
9. Puffins
10. Pastourelle
11. Love Poems
12. Rivulet
13. Foreshadow
14. Faith healer Through Wires
15. Red band, Blue Tribe
16. Wounded Angel
17. True Industrial Funk

Added: April 27th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: New Weave blogspot
Hits: 1435
Language: english

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