Daviton 1981 / Mental Experience 2017
Blissful delirium as a soundtrack for fear – and hope for a new holocaust to never happen.
In 1981, Cold War was on the mind of many a worried Westerner, including George A. Speckert who, as an American expat in Germany, felt the possibility of nuclear attack rather acutely – so much so that, parallel to his career in academia, the composer decided to enter the world of popular music. Of course, given its grave, futuristic subject, “Requiem For A World After” – which would be the proper title of his only work recorded for an LP release, because there was never a band behind this music – gravitated towards prog rock, getting to the wuthering heights of PINK FLOYD or TANGERINE DREAM, while veering away from their sonic exploration. The “-tion” suffix in the titles of all six album pieces may also suggest Krautrock slant to it, yet groove is largely absent in those tracks whose rhythms are dictated by Doomsday Clock counting down minutes to midnight.
That’s how it goes for “Destruction” where Speckert’s electronic buzz is but a canvas for Massimo Grandi’s cosmic guitar to paint over, in broad strokes, an abstract, if arresting, analogue of “Guernica” without resorting to the sense of abject dread. Still, it dissolves in the epic “Devastation” which is covered in thick synthetic layers of nebulous vibe and which, devoid of form, marries birds’ tweets to spaced-out signals. All these elements interweave, in a romantically organic way, in “Realisation” that, via a shadow of riff, will open a door into “Relevation” for cautious optimism to crawl in and triumph over tentative adversity. At this point, the dance patterns of “Construction” – think building site becoming a playground – meet muscular rocking, and the interstellar bagpipes anchor “Creation” down to earth to pass such a hopeful act to celestial organ.
The result, for all its gloom, is exhilarating: an ode to humanity’s suicidal tendencies turning into paean to human spirit – a record that should have been brought back form the brink of extinction long ago.