Musical Children of Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream Improvise Electronic Dreams.
You can hear an audio version of this blog with RMI’s music
The English band called Radio Massacre international has been around for a long time. How long? Steve Dinsdale says the trio made their first recordings on cassette, taping hours of jam sessions. In fact, when we visited them in London in 2006, dozens of them sat in a pile in Duncan Godard‘s living room.
Steve Dinsdale: It was really like a noise making session rather than anything constructive, but it was just like how much noise could we make with cassette decks and really basic keyboards. And that, that, I was actually listening to one of these things that we’ve done, and the name literally just sort of popped in, into to my head, you know, and I thought oh we’ll call this, we’ll call it Radio Massacre International.
Radio Massacre International is Steve Dinsdale on keyboards and drums, Duncan Godard on keyboards and bass and Gary Houghton on guitar. They’re often compared to Tangerine Dream, but they’re more likely to cite space rock bands like Hawkwind, Gong and especially Pink Floyd. Their 2007 album, Rain Falls in Grey, is a tribute to the late Pink Floyd founder, Syd Barrett. It started as just another RMI jam.
Steve Dinsdale: The opening track on Rain Falls in Grey, that was an improvisation. That actually happened spontaneously days after Syd actually passed away. You know, we didn’t actually know what we were doing but to me it sounded like it was a tribute and I actually played the drums from “Astronomy Domine” when the drums come in because I felt that’s what we were actually doing.
Radio Massacre International plays electronic music the old fashioned way, with their fingers. You’ll find no computers on an RMI stage. Instead they use a mixture of vintage synthesizers, mellotrons and digital keyboards to erect their sound. They’ll also often turn off the keyboards and become a psychedelic power trio with guitar, bass and drums. Either way, the only thing agreed upon beforehand is the key signature and beats per minute, maybe.
Duncan Godard: Improvising is just, it’s more fun, I think, and a better way to express yourself than playing the same tune over and over again.
Steve Dinsdale: So, we stick to the same ethos of improvisation but anything goes. So, every time we set up, we were able to create something new. So, we say our album is sort of diary entries, really, sort of ongoing diary entries for the band.
You can hear the improvisational ways of Radio Massacre International on their new double CD called Time and Motion on Cuneiform records. The band will play live on Echoes this coming Monday, April 26. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.
You can check out Radio Massacre International’s few dozen CDs on their website.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))