Escapade - Remembrance Of Things Unknown

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Mother West
Catalog Number: MWR 0045
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:01:00

Escapade's Remembrance Of Things Unknown is a collection of unreleased tracks, one live and the rest rehearsal room recordings. Hadley Kahn, drummer with the band, wrote to tell me about the recording conditions, saying, in part, "None of the tracks were professionally recorded [...but] recorded with one stereo microphone. Consequently, the sound quality is a bit rougher than the rest of our releases, made even more so by the fact that tracks recorded this way can't be mixed, so if the balance in the room is a bit uneven (synth too low, for example), this can't be adjusted later. Over time, however, I felt that we had accumulated a number of interesting pieces of music from the "non-recording sessions" and decided to extract & compile them. Being all-improvisational, certainly there was no point in attempting to re-create anything under proper recording conditions!"

He needn't have worried, as it's the raw feel that gives these percussion heavy tracks their character. And when I say percussion heavy, I mean it. Kahns drums are right there, setting the pace and driving things forward. I dare say, it's infectious, as I really had to keep myself from air-drumming (and I'll admit I wasn't entirely successful). Although Kahn's symbol crashes and throbbing drums are the most prominent, it isn't all Kahn.

John Ortega and (or) Joey Murphy provide the raw bass pulse in "Maelstrom Machine." And it is, a maelstrom, as sounds harsh swirl around you, a living breathing entity prepared hurtle you somewhere. It's dark and dangerous. Part of this is down to Paul Casanova's acidic and "dirty" guitar lines. I can't really describe "When Whenever Comes," except to say it's as King Crimson has gone over the edge into insanity, bring you along for the ride, grinning all the way. Casanova's playful plucking soon becomes a wild epileptic seizure of frenetic but brief bursts of beautiful and harsh noise.. Even when the violent eddies of sound subside, you get the feeling it's only a momentary calm.

The album features no fewer than 4 bassists: Joey Murphy (as mentioned), Russell Giffen, David G., and Charles DeLozier (to whose memory the album is dedicated). This aside from Ortega's processed bass and bass pedals. Rounding out the line up is Paul Hilzinger on various keyboards and synths (and drums on one track).

Listening to parts of "Flat Fair," I thought of Djam Karet and Suspended Memories (Steve Roach, Suso Saiz and Jorge Reyes), mainly stylistically, mainly down to the fourth world feel of the percussion - very metallic sounding, and extremely rhythmic. Bass tones undulate beneath, while keys breath in and out of the mix.

"Squelch" is a very tight, very dense track, with a repeated phrase that sounds like the guitar phrase in Robert Plant's "Your Ma Said..." (Manic Nirvana), this along with odd bleeps, burps, twings and twangs. Interesting to say the least. But if you remember that spacey, psychedelic intro to Zep's "In The Evening" (speaking of Plant), combine that with a dash of "Riders On The Storm," a pulsing, strobing bass line, wah-wahing guitar crying out like a lonely wolf on a chilly night in the desert and you'll have an idea, sort of, of the first two minutes of "Crawlspace," the live track recorded at the Rhinecliff Hotel in New York in 1998. This fades leaving only lumbering, industrial sounding percussion, yet warm like brass or copper. It's like something out of a dystopic sci-fi film - oh, didn't I say that about Due To A Faulty Premonition? This is what I would have imagined Tarkus to sound like. Perhaps if Tarkus had been Crimson not ELP, it would have. This builds, the bass grinding out a low, slow, but almost funky line. And yes, Kahn's stellar percussion is right there.

The album closes with the 19 minute plus "A Useful Obsession," another intriguing track. The album is in a limited edition of 500, released by Mother West. So you'd better hurry if you want your copy.

Maelstrom Machine (8:55) / When Whenever Comes (10:30) / Flat Fair (8:05) / Squelch (4:54) / Crawlspace (6:22) / A Useful Obsession (19:35)

Paul Casanova - guitar
John Ortega - processed bass, bass pedals, electronics, electric autoharp, Roland Octapads, Roland D 550 Synth, assorted effects
Paul Hilzinger - Korg synthesizer, electric piano, feedback generator, samples, music stand, piano top, Roland synthesizer, analog synth; drums (5)
Joey Murphy - bass (1, 6) guitar (4), percussion (5)
Russell Giffen - bass (2, 3)
David G. - bass (4)
Charles DeLozier - bass (5)
Hadley Kahn - drums, music stand, piano top, microphone, analog synth; and tom toms (5)

Searching For The Elusive Rainbow (1996)
Inner Translucence (1997)
Obscured Dialogues (1997) (ltd. edition)
Citrus Cloud Cover (1998)
Due To A Faulty Premonition (1999)
Remembrance Of Things Unknown (2000)
Rule #3 (2002) A Thousand Shades Of Grey (2003) (split w/Acid Mothers Temple)
If/Or (2004) (rec. live in '96, CDR)
But Distractions Abound (2005)

Genre: Electronic

Origin US

Added: October 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1363
Language: english


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