|Artist: Radio Massacre International|
Album: Solid States
Label: Northern Echo
On 9 November 2002, Steve Dinsdale of Radio Massacre International got to say something that every Brit band dreams of... "Hello America". Thus marked the beginning of RMI's 2002 bi-costal USA concert tour which took them to ProgWest 2002 and the ALIENAIR radio show in southern California and then on across the continent to the northeastern USA and The Gatherings Concert Series and STAR'S END Ambient Radio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Solid States is the audio document of this ambitious expedition, drawn from several hours worth of concert recordings and compiled into a double CD set. "West" (77'20") is the first volume in this collection and opens with a live composite version of "Wrecks" (19'12"), originally found on RMI's "Frozen North". After a moody opening of ethereal guitar textures, melotron pads and building sequencer cyclings, this piece reaches critical mass mid-way as the bass synth tones roll in and Gary Houghton's guitar takes off, dueling with Dinsdale's soaring synth leads. The remaining pieces from the west range from classic RMI deep space improvisations and atmospherics on up to a warped-out set placing Houghton's unrestrained guitar bravado alongside Dinsdale's explosive forays into conventional rock drumming. "East" (78'50") includes three tracks recorded live in the church sanctuary used by The Gatherings Concert Series as well as "Nov(embers)" (32'02"), edited down from the original two and a half hour STAR'S END set (2:00am to 4:30am). The pacing befits the material and this piece uncoils in a wandering and languid fashion. While Dinsdale and Houghton are often noted for their virtuosic work with RMI, it is Duncan Goddard (more often than not, his back to the audience) who is the hub of this great ticking, grinding musical machine. Enigmatic in his stance, Goddard casts a long shadow. He is the architect and engineer behind RMI's music, spontaneously composing the multi-layered sequencer patterns and rhythms as proficiently as fixing a malfunctioning theremin or adjusting an errant looping delay; all on-the-fly, often in the shadowy contrast of the concert stage. At once, separate from and absorbed by the music, Goddard exists somewhere between the audience and the performers - within that brief moment - known to listeners and musicians alike - lasting but an instant yet stretching into infinity.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 24 October 2003