24 February 2014

The Durutti Column - Chronicle XL

The Durutti Column - Chronicle LX XL - early packagingChronicle, by The Durutti Column, is to be officially released on Kooky as part of Record Store Day 2014, which will take place on 19 April 2014.

This will be a very limited special and expanded version to acknowledge the artist's sixtieth year of his life; thus Chronicle LX XL.

The Original Commission

The partly autobiographical album was first commissioned for a performance in April 2011 at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. During this period, Vini and Poppy (his girlfriend of 9 years) parted company and it was a heartbroken Vini that went on to complete the production. Despite the breakup, Poppy had agreed to perform on piano that evening for two of the songs that she had written with Vini accompanying on guitar. Over the following three years, the artist has battled serious illness and has not played a full show since. It was – and still is – a very difficult time physically, mentally and emotionally for Vini Reilly. The compositions reflect a particular stage in Vini's recent life.

At the Bridgewater Hall show, a pre-release limited edition CD was available for that evening only, with a note by Vini explaining the background to the new work. Chronicle began as an autobiographical project, marking particular moments in Vini's past. Although elements of this surfaced in the original Chronicle, events in his life while recording the album brought a new twist to the project.

Chronicle 1 and LX: Chronicle 2 – The Music and more explanation

Bruce Mitchell:

"So there are two versions of Chronicle. We did a special edition for the gig at the Bridgewater Hall, where people could get the album as part of a premium ticket deal. In 2011, we premiered the music there, with all Vini's photographs up on the screen. That was the last gig really. The following day, Phil Cleaver from Kooky said he'd got back home to find his emails full of requests from the audience to buy one. So they all sold out, immediately. But soon afterwards Vin became really ill."

"It was a big, expensive recording, Chronicle. And Vin, despite being ill, did this further version, taking all aspects of musical life. So there's Chronicle 1 and Chronicle 2. What I wanted Vini to do as a composer was something similar to Elgar's Enigma Variations. A piece of music about certain people in a life. I wanted him to do this and link the music to photographs he'd taken over the years. Vin's a great photographer."

However, Reilly remains the Durutti Column's indisputable leader, and had the last say. Bruce continues: "I didn't quite get what I wanted, because in the end, Vini wanted the album to be about his life at this point in time. We couldn't finish it for a while because Vin was in such a bad way. But now it's there. And we've got some very interesting, very powerful music on this. Vini doesn't think show business. To him, it's all about a musical imperative."

Chronicle LX XL – The Package

In a package that continues the Durutti Column's tradition of innovation, the album will be released as part of the Record Store Day rota for April '14; something we are all so pleased about. It will only be available in special packaging containing personal images from the artist's camera and photographic collection.

Continuing the autobiographical theme, the packaging will acknowledge previous releases through parts of its design.

A foil blocked burgundy textured clamshell box will contain:

- A full colour saddle stitched booklet with an introduction by Bruce Mitchell and a collage of photographs from Vini's own personal collection.

- A printed sandpaper insert

- A map (randomly selected one of six) redrawn in 'Obey the Time purple and yellow' showing a place of importance to the artist

- A grey card certificate in a custom envelope

- Two compact discs in pochettes.

- Each box set will have a map grey card certificate.

There are no plans to release this in any other format at present and this will be strictly limited to 1000 copies only worldwide.

Following the successful vinyl reissue of A Paean to Wilson last year, Chronicle LX XL promises to sell out quickly.

Pricing details to be confirmed.

Eugene Skeef & Rae Howell - Heavy Forest Air

Eugene Skeef and Rae Howell - Heavy Forest AirEugene Skeef and Rae Howell
Heavy Forest Air
CD: UK 05.12.13 (Kooky Records, kookydisc 36)

'Heavy Forest Air' a live spontaneous musical collaboration between Eugene Skeef and Rae Howell (Sunwrae) available on Kooky compact disc and digital download.

Recorded live by Jared Miller at The Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, it was an impulsive venture in a hall filled with percussion instruments that began as an experiment following an intensive three-month winter music residency.

The three tracks are suitably bound by Eugene's stylish labyrinth of rhythms on all things percussive and Rae's minimalistic prowess on marimba and vibraphone.

Heavy Forest Air is a mellifluent sound world, unclassifiable, yet superbly ceremonious. Eugene serendipitously changes between udu, congas, gongs, water bowls and many other drums, providing solid, yet continuously surprising rhythmic backbones to Rae's creations on melodic percussion. 


Heavy Forest Air - 24.11
Ocean of Emptiness - 18.49
Restless Woodland - 3.50

Heavy Forest Air is available to buy via Cargo.

23 February 2014

Eugene Skeef And Rae Howell - Heavy Forest Air - Review

Eugene Skeef & Rae Howell: Heavy Forest AirEvening folks !

All About Jazz published the following review about the womderful new album by Eugene Skeef and Rae Howell. You will be able to find it in our shop very soon.

Eugene Skeef & Rae Howell: Heavy Forest Air (2014)


The key words of the sparse liner notes are "created live," as Heavy Forest Air documents improvisations between percussionist/multi-faceted artist Eugene Skeef and vibraphonist/multi-instrumentalist Rae Howell, in the Rolston Recital Hall of the famous Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. There were no charts and no overdubs—just two musicians responding to the evolving stimuli of the moment. The three pieces—two long improvisations and one short one—feature Australian Howell on vibraphone and marimba, and South African Skeef on a range of skin and metal percussion. Thankfully, sound engineer Jared Miller hit the record button to capture these spontaneous improvisations because it's evident from the fluidity and nuance of the dialog that the two musicians are well and truly in the zone.

The title track is a twenty four minute-marriage between Howell's interlocking lines—first on marimba then on vibraphone—and Skeef's rhythmic and percussive variations. A repeating series of sixteen descending notes combined with a circular pattern commence the duo improvisation, with Skeef responding—on what sounds like the ancient Indian clay-pot, the ghatam—with a vibrant pulse. Skeef's rhythms ebb and flow as Howell's lines oscillate in tempo and intensity in a fascinating evolution that's alternatively metronomic and flowing, ethereal and subtly dynamic.

Switching to vibraphone, Howell runs bows along the edges of the keys, to which Skeef responds with an isolated gong, gentle water ripples and a deep whale-like groan, presumably caused by rubbing the skin of a large standing drum. From ghostly, other-worldly soundscapes, Howell's play gradually assumes greater lyricism and there's a return to the earlier rhythmic momentum, with Skeef this time on congas. The dialog slowly dissipates and fades altogether.

The second improvisation, "Ocean Of Emptiness" logs in at just under nineteen minutes and although there's no great divergence in approach from the first piece, its greater melodic core gives it the impression of a through-composed work. Percussion and marimba remain in step until around the five-minute mark when Howell's notes slow down to a crawl as Skeef's ghatam gathers pace; the juxtaposition is brief but striking. Percussion then rests for a minute as Howell strikes up contrasting, mantra-like motifs.

When Skeef rejoins, his charging Arabic rhythms contrast with Howell's minimalist vibraphone pulse. Drums fade, ushering in another dreamy vibraphone passage punctuated by the sounds of water and gentle gongs. The sure patter of frame drum injects greater urgency, though Howell maintains her less-is-more course, albeit an overtly melodic one. Howell then drops one line, gently releasing three-note cycles followed by six-note cycles that, buoyed by percussion, impart a vaguely Latin vibe. Howell returns to the three-note pattern, the sustained notes shimmering as drums recede and the whale-cry reverberates deeply once more. Vibraphones and a small gong chime single notes in call and response, running down slowly like a broken clock.

At under four minutes, the structurally simple "Restless Woodland" seems like a summation of what has come before—a short coda that's as delicate as a lullaby. The orchestral elegance of these epic flowing narratives and the striking contours of rhythm and mood would suit an arrangement for the multiple voices of Howell's longstanding Sunwrae Ensemble.

It's easy to forget that Skeef and Howell's collaboration is an improvisation, so assured is the interplay. Once heard, however, this beguiling music sears itself in the memory.

Track Listing: Heavy Forest Air; Ocean of Emptiness; Restless Woodland.

Personnel: Eugene Skeef: percussion; Rae Howell: vibraphone & marimba.

Kookydisc 60 - Chronicle

More news to follow soon