Dead Radio Station 2018 / Cleopatra 2022
Setting killing jokes aside, English drummer plummets into his personal nightmare and looks at his fear from unsafe distance.
“There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face”: these words from the Bard might be the slogan for Big Paul Ferguson’s first solo effort that’s given a fresh perspective now, a few years down the line from its original issue which was available only at KILLING JOKE stalls during their 2018 American tour. Not that the then-half-century-old artist perceived “Remote Viewing” as a proper release, leaving such honor for 2021’s "Virtual Control" and, thus, creating a new context for the expanded version of the erstwhile EP to make the record just as relevant.
It doesn’t seem to start too auspicious, Paul’s tribal beat and belching bass supporting his deceptively self-loathing diatribe of “Hungry Ghosts” where the phrase “devouring a broken drum” emphasizes the number’s sonic dryness, before heavy riffs are flown in to expand dynamics and rage – and push the pulsing, scintillating “Reboot” to the to the glacial dancefloor for a bout of death disco. There’s a mightier groove propelling “The Great Motivator” to the brink of subconscious, MGT and especially DJ Mont’s remixes enhancing the piece’s gloomy recital by weaving electronica into the picture and leading Mark Gemini Thwaite’s guitar in and out of sight, until the spoken lines on the throbbing, albeit frozen, “Terrible Warriors” and the swaggering, if warm, “X-Box” render their effervescently polyrhythmic raves widescreen.
The same cinematic light will shine from “I Am War” which rocks hard yet elegantly, whereas the reimaginings of the cut – the music-box-like, dub-dirge “Rubber” one and the taut, techno-tinged “Industry” variant – offered by Ferguson’s colleague Youth add another dimension to its sarcastic self-aggrandizement. It contrasts the darkly looming ‘n’ booming raga of “Will To Survive” and the slow, sweet glimmer of “Zarzal” whose stumbling balladry is sublime. This may not be apparent on the album’s initial spin, but repeated play should bring out the platter’s flawed beauty – as enchanting as flaming anger.