Friday, January 31, 2014

Lol Creme / Kevin Godley – Consequences

   When in 1976 soft rock super group 10cc has split as a consequence of some kind of artistic disagreements, musicians of the band parted into two fractions. One part was the trio continuing working under the name of the band. Second was the duo Kevin Godley and Lol Creme who had focused on progressive art-rock project which result was their first album published the very next year. They were active in years 1977 to 1988 and became known as Godley & Creme. The duo recording seven innovative studio art-rock albums melting rock, pop, cabaret, jazz, country and every possible connection in semi popular, semi progressive vision of specific sense of humor and creative attitude in every aspect of musical production.
   Godley & Creme first project and main reason of breaking with 10cc was triple LP album Consequences released in 1977 in box cassette with booklet inside. Providing detailed information on project development edited in fanzine style with lots of photos and illustrations 20-page insert was written by Paul Gambaccini. Black lacquered box with elegant typography in gold and as Phil McNeil called it “tasteful picture of a cloud formation resembling a monstrous face” from the very beginning strived to display it as one of most ambitious concept albums in the history of rock. This was the main feature critics saw as opposite to unsuccessful musical content.

Lol Creme / Kevin Godley – Consequences (1977)

   Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, multi-instrumentalists experimenting with gizmotronic, the electromechanical bow effect for guitar, recorded all essential tracks of this album. Both artists focused on studio possibilities, building music with multitrack recording and melting instrumental phrases with sound effects and noises at Strawberry Studios in Stockport and The Manor in Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire for 18 months. This was nothing new, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells was already a classical album and many artists since sixties were experimenting with tape – one of first orchestral multiplication was Frank Zappa’s Uncle Meat. In 1976 problem was not “how”, but “what” to do in rock composition.
   Lol Creme and Kevin Godley collaborated with very few artists. As guest stars they hired Mel Collins and Sarah Vaughan. Mel Collins played soprano and tenor saxophones tracks in When Things Go Wrong. Guest appearances gave some new perspective as in Lost Weekend where the elements of gospel style choir are mixing with jazz vocal performance by Sarah Vaughan. Constructing complex narrative and musical structure artists hired Peter Cook who wrote dialogues and gave great gig playing different characters. His half comic performance has cabaret impact but in some parts it looks as it steals the show, making music weaker. Following critics, artists decided to publish two year later one LP compilation album Music from Consequences.
   As in many parts musical textures are perfect continuation of what Creme and Godley were doing as half of 10cc group, the end result ensures that sometimes the better, the worse – the excess of ambition often leads to the disclosure of weaknesses and to the moment when even best intentions have contrary effect. After four decades this album turns out to be worth listening. Not for old jokes, but for gentle musical changes defining the time and narratives, giving feeling of steadiness under every transitory moment. Quoted review by Phil McNeil in New Musical Express wrote at the end: “against my better judgment, I find myself enjoying it” and this shows subversive sense of the whole project. This album is perfectly made and ambitious attempt to go beyond the limitations of soft rock – two and half stars, full two for the album and a half for rising of Godley & Creme in next decade.

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