I remember the closing point of my review of the Remains boxset hinted at this, despite it only being April at the time – “I’ll be surprised if my brain is as blown away by another release this year”
It’s certainly true that for months earlier this year I was sucked head first into this staggering 5 LP boxset. In that review, I was totally surprised by just how strong the previously unreleased material was, highlighting a band simply incapable of a wrong move.
I still remember the day I first listened to Medieval Machine. I was walking in the Spring sunshine to a meeting and I actually burst out laughing at the sheer other-worldly nature of it.
Serge Gainsbourg’s Lunatic Asylum channels back through time as the jaw-harp/electronics track establishes itself. This new sound is absolutely dazzling. Traces of Miles Davis’s Black Satin hug at the metronome groove. And the vocals slowly swell like some interstellar barber-shop quartet. Eleven minutes of exhilarating music that exists outside any genre I know.
And it’s still as sonically unique. On my list, their whole shape shifting trip as Pärson Sound, International Harvester, Harvester and Träd, Gräs Och Stenar, was already sky high. But this track is another of one of those you ponder, what if this had been released at the time? A tantalising parallel sphere of influence for sure.
Sadly, more often than not, the lure of “previously unheard material” has meant sub-par junk. But the 3 discs of previously hidden gems crowned by Medieval Machine, Blowing in the Wind and Hoarse Horse are every bit as unique and worthwhile as anything the band released at the time. Pivotal doesn’t come close.
If I had a tiny criticism, it would simply be this first class music is for now only available as an expensive vinyl boxset – in my opinion, a digital release is very much required – the world needs to hear this!
Remains is currently only available on vinyl via Silence Records
Read the extended review of “Remains” by International Harvester here