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BILLY CURRIE Sixty Minutes With Voiceprint VP6010CD (2007)

Billy Currie

Given his history with Visage (Billy co-wrote 'Fade To Grey'), Ultravox and Gary Numan, it is sometimes forgotten that keyboard and viola player Billy Currie spent a large part of his career at the experimental cutting edge of the post Punk era. So if you can cast aside your prejudices regarding the synth driven syrupy ballads of Ultravox, the ludicrous posturing of Gary Numan and the dance scene connections as evidenced here by both 'Kissing The Same' and 'Stately' you may be surprised to find an interesting keyboard playing violinist and composer at work

With the exception of 1988's Transportation', much of the (better) material here comes from the last five years of Billy's career. The first half of this interesting compilation album which includes contributions from guitarist Steve Howe, notably on the thematic excursion of 'Traveller', is burdened by lashing of synthesizer that now sounds wholly dated.

Beyond that, much of the material begs the question what does Billy's compositional work bring to the instrument that sets him apart from his synth playing contemporaries of the time such as Kraftwerk, Can, Jean Michel Jarre, and even Ruper Hine? Perhaps the answer lies in the simpler outings such as 'Apocrypha', and the claustrophobic 'Swimming in Air', on which the evocative synth swoops almost conjure up the image of pushing air molecules.

In many ways 'Sixty Minutes with Billy Currie' is a slow burner and if you can get over the repetitious droning and metallic string sounding synth sweeps, and concentrate on the more piano led sonorous pieces such as 'Stand Up & Walk', complete with deft use of echo reverb and violin, you will be suitably rewarded. Billy saves the best until last with the remarkably effective one minute twenty five seconds of 'Requiem', a beautiful piece from a thoughtful composer who finally eschews the machines and shows us his true forte.


Review by Pete Feenstra

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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