Music Reviews

Artist: Bruce Gilbert
Title: This Way
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego (@)
Rated: *****
It’s quite normal music chronicles as well as reviewers and even audiences could sometimes be quite unfair to a number of forerunners and the art-punk UK band Wire could be rightfully considered one of the missing link in order to explain the stylistic passage between primordial forms of punk-rock towards the so-called post rock scene as well as some musical formula, which are over-abused nowadays, and their musical foresight could be arguably explained by the one of its single members. Maybe your ears have already had the possibility to know Colin Newman solo-projects - I still remember some of his most interesting looping and sampling workouts, issued on his own label Swim -, but one of the most innovative pioneer of that glorious formation has been without any doubts the guitarist Bruce Clifford Gilbert, whose experimental attitude and musical tastes deeply influenced Wire’s sound. 25 years after its first issue on Mute Records, Peter Rehberg’s Editions Mego decides to reissue the first documentary of Gilbert’s explorations as well as his first solo album, hieratically entitled This Way, with a remarkable improvement as U, Mu, U - an astonishing piece of musique concrete which looks like the simulation of a chuggy steam engine train - was not included in the tracklist of the previous edition and a well-done mastering by Russell Haswell. The raw description of the above-mentioned closing track should let you argue that This Way is not properly a collection of rock guitar lessons - don’t be neither surprised nor scared about that! -, the main core of the album being a sort of gray ambient/industrial anthem composed in 1984 under the commission of the renowned Scottish choreographer Michael Clark for a ballet production called “Do You Me? I Did”.

The intersections with dancing art could let you think about a sort of sequence of music and pauses, but luckily This Way is something really distant from that: the first part of the suite opens with an entrancing siren chant entwined with an heavenly drone quite close to the spotless and moody ones by Klaus Schultze interrupted occasionally by disquieting sounds and unexpected blasts of guitar and other analogue instruments, gradually evolving in an immersive industrial crescendo and frames from Swamp - showing off the coreographical skills by Mister Gilbert as it’s not so difficult to imagine a space getting gradually invaded by water…an immersive sound experience even though it’s rich of ageful sounds! -. Even if Bruce has said he’s never been interested in pure technique, I could not say there’re any “luddites” masked intent as This Way runs side by side with the stage and that’s the general impression you could have since the first listening till the final machinery rush. It surely lacks of complex dynamics, but it’s quite impossible Gilbert’s “dramatic” mise-en-form was forward-looking and not only intended for old codgers…it was 1984!

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