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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ANDY PICKFORD: Works 1 (1996-2013)

Updated: Jul 28, 2019

“Works 1 is a nice album of electronic rock tinged with this futuristic vision so characteristic to the music of Andy Pickford”

1 Terraformer 7:16 2 Mesmereyes 5:48 3 Summer Past 5:16 4 Adios Amigo 5:41 5 Get Dyson 6:58 6 Darklands 7:14 7 Still Waters 5:40 8 The Furnace 7:15 9 Arc of Infinity (Bonus Track) 10:15 Andy Pickford Music

(DDL 60:50) (E-Rock) (V.F.)

For those who don't already know it, Andy Pickford republishes his catalog on the Bandcamp site. So, from the album Replicant, in 1993, to Lughnasad in 2002, by excluding the collaboration with Ian Boddy on the album Symbiont, the 10 solos albums from Mr. Pickford are available again for those who have missed the era this rather particular character and whom was a pioneer of this fiery E-rock that is the one of the England School. Remixed and remasterised with current tastes, certain albums benefit even of bonus tracks which were left aside at these periods. Like here with the bombastic Arc of Infinity. And like several fans of EM who were far from the borders artists such as Pickford, Wright, Boddy, Dyson and lot of others, I discovered the English movement late in life. Via Napster at the beginning of 2000 to be more precise. Most of the albums of that grand époque were then all sold out and out of stock. Thus, I appreciate these remasters, because indeed I missed some great albums. And if you are the type of aficionados of great E-rock, I would add like WORKS 1 which was recorded live at the famous EMMA Festival in 1994. It was the year of the launch of Terraformer, the 3rd solo album of AP if we include Linear Functions, a work launched on 4 tracks cassette in 1983. Terraformer switches on the moods with an introduction forged on rushes of furious layers which encircle a hoarse voice from a vocoder, a very present element in the Pickford universe. A first structure of harmonious rhythm gets loose from this surrealist opening. Beatings of percussions invite each other while more luminous synth layers weave an approach which inhales the universe of Tangerine Dream's soundtrack. Working each second of his music, Andy Pickford adds other elements, as much of ambiances than percussive, which will give the momentum needed for the rhythmic take-off of Terraformer a little before the 3 minutes' point. The rhythm is very lively with good percussions and foggy filters which serve as a bed to a nice and catchy electronic melody which has nothing to envy to the good moments of Mark Shreeve and to the very harmonious E-rock of Tangerine Dream. Rhythm and melody go hand in hand in the world of AP. Mesmereyes follows with a very synth-pop rhythm with vocals. The arrangements make very Tears for Fears and Simple Mind. Summer Past is a beautiful ballad with an approach of solitary cowboy on the dunes of Mars. The movement is slow and proposes a panoply of tones coming from instruments lost in the possibilities of the keyboards and synths. Moreover, this balance between the notes of acoustic guitar and of this delicate synth reverie are honey for the ears. "Adios Amigo" does very TD of the Jive years. The rhythm is rather lively with a jerky approach, a shy stroboscopic genre, and is slowly cherished by good synth solos, which sometimes sound like an electric guitar, and by harmonies of acoustic guitar. There is a great melody fragile of tenderness which swirls with a glass tone on this rhythm charmingly limping. Adios Amigo should be the first musical itch of WORKS 1. A big shriveled voice which belches from a rusty loudspeaker presents Get Dyson. After a few seconds of these mysterious atmospheres, the structure develops through a synth in mode; Mark Shreeve's melodic charms. The rhythm is as punchy as the synth which throws very lively and harmonious thin lines.  Percussions come to add a light gap to the form of this good electronic rock where Pickford throws solos of a dreamy guitar in a futuristic decor. Here, like everywhere in the 50 minutes of this concert, special effects of sound adorn the scenery nevertheless very rich in WORKS 1. I like that and to date I'm having a very good time to discover the world of AP. A universe that I discovered very late with the quadrilogy of Harmonics in the Silence to Pareidolia. And it's not Darklands which is going to make me changed my mind! It's a big and lively rock with a great sequencing pattern which spits its balls of lead on the carpet of a conveyor. The scenery is dense with a wall of synth layers to the wasted colors and effects of voices which already furnish a structure which finds the way to breathes here and there. It's a huge track! After so much rhythmic punch, our ears will find rest with another ballad approach where the synth cries on the harmonious stream of a keyboard. Still Waters is a nice romantic track which does very film music. The Furnace ends this concert with aggressiveness, as much in the rhythm as in the tone which sounds very metallic. The synths trumpet on a structure of rhythm annihilated by a surplus of energy from those keyboards. Arc of Infinity is the bonus track in WORKS 1. Andy Pickford adores this title and for a good reason! It's a heavy and very lively track which swirls as much as hammers in a very Dance and Trance style. The percussions and the sequences abound and are very closely weaved. They machine-gun a structure surrounded by an avalanche of effects with a certain melodic approach which loses all of its sense in so much sound violence. Without knowing the Terraformer album, we are far from the ambiences of WORKS 1 which are more convenient to a good E-rock, sometimes heavy, which is the perfect pattern to weave beautiful melodies. But that doesn't change anything to this Arc of Infinity which has all it needs to ruin the wax of a dance floor. I'm ready for Works 2! Sylvain Lupari (January 6th, 2018) ***½**

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