Andy Tillison Diskdrive, DURCH (forthcoming, 2016). Pre-order available now.
Tracks: Machte es Durch; The Pursuit of Oil; and From the Steppes of Central Asia
Whenever I see or hear the name Andy Tillison, two thoughts immediately spring to mind. 1) Class. 2) Mischievousness. A contradiction? Not really. Most of the greatest artists in history have possessed various measures of each.
Tillison is a great artist.
For those of who have been fortunate enough (wise enough?–naw, too strong, even if accurate) to pre-order Tillison’s forthcoming solo album, DURCH, we already know what glory and amazement is in store for us, even if in attenuated form. The pre-order allows us to listen to the raw tracks.
Raw? If Andy Tillison had said, “Here, they are, just as I want them,” I would not have doubted him.
These three tracks are simply glorious. Track one, “Machte es durch” strikes me as a sequel to some of Soft Machine’s best work, though Tillison credits Camel for the inspiration.
Track two, “The Pursuit of Oil,” is atmospheric to the extreme, the soundtrack to a horror movie set within a a decrepit house for at least their first nine minutes or so. The piece screams moodiness. It, too, is glorious. Around the nine-minute mark, Tillison gets righteous, and we hear his voice for the first time, decrying the abuses committed against the eco system but doing so in a way that helps explain our current cultural mindset toward resource use. My words don’t do this piece justice. Tillison is nothing if not about justice in his very personhood, and this is the kind of piece that welcomes the imagination to explore the deeper ethical issues of our day without screaming at us to reform. In other words, in his music and lyrics, Tillison gives us art, not propaganda.
Finally, “From the Steppes of Central Asia,” the remaking of a piece originally written by Alexander Borodin, a chemist and composer. Despite the title–which invokes, at least to my mind, more of what I’d heard in track two–the piece is incredibly upbeat and jazzy in an experimental, fusion way.
Well, what more can I say?
I love Tillison as a man and as a artist and as a class act and as a mischievous character. If you’ve preordered, you’ve already experienced the immense joys I have from this master of all things prog, rock, and jazz. If you’ve not preordered, do so now. No, not then. NOW!
As most of you already know, Tillison suffered some very serious health problems last year, but his lovely equal, Sally Collyer (our prog person of the year) and the NHS kept him in great shape. In his own personal note accompanying the link to the new tracks, he wrote:
“As you may know, I had a full on heart attack last year and essentially the life I now have is all a bit of a bonus track on the album of existence.”
Whenever I write about Tillison, I have to end with a line stolen (and paraphrased) from Mark Hollis and Talk Talk. Rage on, Mr. Diskdrive, rage on.