BRUCE GILBERT – This Way

OK, so Bruce Gilbert is a pretty illustrious name – Dome, Wire, etc. Too bad that, after the partial delusion generated in yours truly by the more recent Oblivio Agitatum (same label), I still can’t validate the raison d’être of such a consideration by listening to This Way, an album originally released in 1984 and defined “a stunning study of controlled ambience and subtle minimalism” by the press release. Pardon me? Apart from the graceful female vocal loop informing the first track, the bulk of this record is mechanically repetitive in rather annoying fashion for these ears, without relevant artistic logic if not for very short flashes. Perhaps, associated to the choreographies to which some of it constitutes the soundtrack, it could make sense (and it’s a big “perhaps”). But in terms of sheer musical value this is just scarcely significant drapery, interspersed with badly aged samples and typified by virtually inexistent compositional insight. And we’re not sure that our judgment would have much different 26 years ago. Highlighting an artist at any cost only because of right connections is something I’ve always detested, and this – in conjunction with the aforementioned CD – looks like an archetypal case of hype prevailing on effective substance. (Editions Mego)

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