Note: This is a 3 track album, the full tracks will appear as a bonus upon purchase.
Well, miracles do happen. Nearly 20 years after its first release on cassette, here is Glyn Lloyd-Jones’s amazing album ‘Ri’ digitally remastered from the original studio tapes. This album, together with ‘Icesteps’, have been somewhat of a personal Holy Grail since I first heard them all those years ago. The music is *so* sensational, so dynamic, so melodic, that the cassette medium simply did it no justice at all. For me these albums remained the most important cassettes which had yet to see the digital light of day. After well over 15 years of hoping, optimism had all but faded. Yet a “last chance” email finally found its way to Glyn (who now lives in Italy) and incredibly he revealed he had remastered the albums, after much hard work because of “sticky tape” syndrome, a few years ago. Thanks to the new “download era”, the years of waiting in hope turned into a couple of weeks of rapid progress to present the albums here in all their glory.
The outcome will delight those who have the cassettes already, and astonish synth-music fans who have never heard them. Glyn’s ability to meld sensational, soaring melodics with the most sublime counter-point sequencing is totally inspiring.
‘Ri’ was recorded in 1988 and opens with the title track. Subtle sequences lay a delicate backdrop to engaging motifs. At the two minute mark a high register sequence defines a more complex substructure and the main theme is fleshed out on multiple synth lines. It’s a delight to hear the sequencing given occasional room to flourish in isolation, and equally delightful to hear it cajoled by infectious, weaving pads and lead lines. At the mid-point there’s a delicate atmospheric interlude, then the sequencing re-emerges afresh and the melodies weave an engaging spell. Superb.
‘Nokon Bay’ opens with a pipey synth which is soon joined by several complementary layers which paint another beautiful theme. Percussion and sequencing ebb and flow, hinting at glories to come but not quite unleashing full power. Then at the 3 minute mark all the elements are released to full effect. What a crescendo and what an awesome section of music. So much going on, so many complementary themes and sequences, yet as a listener you can choose to examine each in isolation or enjoy the majestic interlocking pieces as a whole. Either way, it all works so magnificently. The track becomes more restrained at the mid-point then starts to rebuild but this time in a completely different direction. More sequencing, more melodies, more brilliance.
The 24 minute ‘Lucid Dream’ completes the album. The sequencing builds in careful fashion, the motifs gather momentum as they develop layer-upon layer. It really is wonderful meld of focal points, then the track really explodes at the 8 minute mark. The soaring melody is jaw-dropping, and continues to the track’s mid point where an atmospheric section takes over. But, whereas many interludes are presented for light/shade purposes, this interlude is adorned with such an infectious melody that it actually becomes a focal point, indeed it possibly becomes the highlight of the album. It’s hairs on the back of the neck time for this section which breezes through 7 minutes until the track again morphs into new territory. Sequencing, power, infectious majesty: it’s all here. The soaring lead line is so uplifting, and a nod in the direction of the album to follow. Such a sensational track, it’s almost unbelievable!
In terms of the remastering the main improvements I hear over the cassettes are consistent clear highs, much more powerful lows, and less hiss. But the main thing to say is that the dynamics finally do justice to what I consider to be one of the finest synth albums to come out of the late 80’s / early 90’s UK synth “scene” – indeed I consider this to be one of the finest melodic synth albums ever made. Truly outstanding. (GG)