sat 22/11/2014

Reissue CDs Weekly: Family, Latin Noir, Arve Henriksen, Widowmaker | New music reviews, news & interviews

Reissue CDs Weekly: Family, Latin Noir, Arve Henriksen, Widowmaker

Leicester’s freakiest musical sons in a box, moodiness from sun-baked climes, esoteric Norwegian jazz and lost Seventies rockers

Arve Henriksen SolidificationArve Henriksen: Solidification

This super-smart box set of the esoteric Norwegian jazzer is, unlike the Family collection, non-linear and obviously not intended to tell a full story. It’s opaqueness leaves the mystery intact. It’s also the only way to get Henriksen’s new album Chron. The fresh recording is accompanied by his first three solo albums Sakuteiki, Chiaroscuro and Strjon. Bonus tracks have been added. Each album is included on vinyl and also digitally across two DVDs in hi-res FLAC format, master-quality 24/44 or 24/96 WAV files and as 16/44 files. While the writing in the book is insightful, the vinyl is the most satisfying format. The music is minimal, often Japanese-inflected, mostly instrumental (Henriksen sings on Chiaroscuro) and about sensitive atmospheres. Its touches of electronica are non-intrusive. It all sharply contrasts with his work in the improvising Supersilent and with the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble. After assimilating Solidification, it makes sense that he has recorded for ECM and also collaborated with David Sylvian. For reasons of cost, this is pobably not the best entry point into Henriksen’s oeuvre. Nonetheless, it's a major statement of his significance.

WidowmakerWidowmaker: Widowmaker

This obscure rock album from 1976 was issued by a band that failed to click. A supergroup of sorts, Widowmaker were fronted by singer Steve Ellis, formerly of Sixties popsters The Love Affair and featured guitarists Luther Grosvenor (ex-Mott The Hoople) and Huw Lloyd Langton (exHawkwind). Family’s Roger Chapman was originally under consideration as lead vocalist. Widowmaker had the breaks: support slots with The Who, a contract with Don Arden’s Jet Records and a US tour supporting label mates ELO. The album – supplemented here by a few live tracks – unfolds like a multi-band compilation. Led Zeppelin here, Free there, and some Bad Company, Humble Pie and Lynyrd Skynyrd too. The efficient music is supplemented by template lyrics about being on the road, dreams and ladies. “Pin a Rose on Me” could have been a stadium singalong. But the success of the bands they emulated never rubbed off on Widowmaker. Punk was around the corner and they folded after a second album in 1977.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch Family mime “Old Songs New Songs” from Music in a Doll’s House on French TV in 1968

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