Random Hold — The View from Here
(Voiceprint VP239CD, 1980/2001, 2CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-09-01For those of you who missed their brief history, Random Hold was a band that featured David Rhodes (longtime Peter Gabriel band mate) on guitar, Bill MacCormick (Quiet Sun, Matching Mole, and so on) on bass, Peter Phipps (much session work including Gary Glitter and XTC) on drums, and David Ferguson (who has worked with Peter Hammill and others) on keyboards. Peter Hammill produced a number of recordings for them, including all of the studio tracks on this compilation. The band’s recorded output is a bit confusing, with the same songs showing up on multiple releases. Voiceprint has collected all the songs from the self-titled debut EP and the Etceteraville album (both 1979) and the 1980 album called The View from Here, plus two others. The style is a cross between Eno’s early non-ambient albums or Phil Manzanera’s 801 and the kind of artsy stripped-down rock of early Talking Heads. The music tends to be on the simple side, relying on minor keys, dissonance, and a somewhat mechanical delivery, in combination with angst-ridden vocals, to set the dark mood. Included are all the band’s best tunes, like “Meat,” “Montgomery Clift,” and “Silver Spoons.” As an additional addition, nine live tracks are included from a show in Philadelphia in 1980 when the band was opening for Peter Gabriel. The playing on the live recordings is energetic and a little ragged, and the sound quality is not quite up to the clarity of the studio tracks, but worth hearing for contrast.
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more