Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Harmonic 313, Troubleman, NY Connection, Roberto Edwardo Turner, Reload, Link, Mystic Institute, Harmonic 33, Use of Weapons, Chaos & Julia Set, Series 7, Pulusha, Vertigo, Africa HiTech, 28 East Boyz, Shaft

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Steve Sole
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Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by Steve Sole » Thu 12 May, 2011 3:43 am

pretty much sums up how I feel about Mark Pritchard.

http://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/review/1113/

Reload: "A Collection of Short Stories"
Infonet INF 4 CD, released 1993.

1) Teq
2) Peschi
3) Ahn
4) Rota Link
5) 1642 try 621
6) Ev-i-loy
7) Akzinor
8) Mosh
9) Ehn
10) Psychophylaxis
11) Le Soliel et la Mer
12) The Enlightenment
13) Event Horizon

One does not normally associate 'head' music with techno. This, however, is one of those rare and astounding exceptions, and truly a lost classic of the form.

Reload is the psuedonym of Global Communications' Mark Pritchard, although it should be noted that on many tracks here, he was joined by the other half of that duo, Tom Middleton. So technically, this is mainly a Global Communications album. But the real assessment is that this isn't exactly an album, anyway.

Why? Because along with the CD itself, there's a booklet of actual...yep...short stories, intended as accompaniment to the CD. Or is it the other way round? I'll quote from Dominic Fripp, the author of the stories:

"In this volume, each musical composition represents a story, in the same sense that each is based on a set of characters, situations, and experiences from fact and fiction, which provoke and evoke an emotional response. Far from being music, each piece is a portrait and a legacy."

Got that? Yeah...this is not dancefloor fodder, people. Rather, this is one possibility of where techno COULD HAVE gone, had the commercial necessities of the clubs and raves and so on not seized total control of the genre. There was a subcategory of this called "IDM" or "Intelligent Dance Music" for a while; "A Collection of Short Stories" definitely fits there, but even goes beyond that concept in scope. It actually fits best into the category of 'soundtracks', but whatever this is a soundtrack to presumably does not exist outside of the minds that created it or the mind of whoever may be listening to it.

There's a lot of different currents and textures afoot in here. Everything from straight-up dancefloor to Berlin kosmische-isms to ambient weirdness to pure spacemusic to industrial soundscaping to futuristic techno-electro-jazz come to the fore in turns. And in a few cases, several tracks graft together to form a suite-like construct that resembles nothing so much as a literal soundtrack to some short film or film scene. And samples bubble up here and there...sometimes recognizable, such as the "...something wonderful..." bit from "2010" found in "The Enlightenment/Event Horizon" (as I mentioned, these are two that 'run together'), and others as little obscure snips, sometimes ominously-placed, as in the bits in the whole "Rota Link/1642 try 621/Ev-i-loy" sequence.

It's not an easy album to describe due to the ebb and flow. While some tracks are seemingly pretty straightforward, like "Ahn" with its Detroit-inflected techno leanings, that same track also contains some very fragile and pretty things to it that you'd not consider 'techno'. And that sort of switcheroo is a constant throughout...you think you know what you're listening to, but...well, no, not necessarily. Musically, there's definite skill abounding on this. And the sources being drawn from are so diverse that, even when you DO hear something that you potentially recognize where the idea may have come from, those influences are so skillfully-worked that you can't come to any other conclusion than the one that says that there's real musical mastery here.

But is it 'head music'? Oh, hell yes. The 'imagination exercise' of combining the music and the very strange, sci-fi-styled writings of Dominic Fripp's stories puts this squarely in the 'mind-trip' ballpark, if the music left any doubt. And it's definitely 'unsung'; as I noted in a review I did of this album for Amazon.com some years back, Reload's effort here is very much something of a 'high-water-mark' for the whole techno scene, and one that was definitely lost to view in amongst the commercialized crapola that was to come in the following years. It's a direction...one might even call it something very related in mindset to prog...that COULD have been followed and really SHOULD have been followed but which sadly wasn't. So now it languishes as something for the cognoscenti, those who can see beyond the 'rare' tag it often gets from the collector's market to the core of real music and its attempt at serious high-concept art within. Damn shame; I would take ONE MORE "A Collection of Short Stories" over 1,000,000 Chemical Bros. or Prodigy or F(r)atboy Slim albums any day of the week!

If you're someone who's come to the conclusion that techno was and still is something totally dismissable, try and find a copy of this. It will majorly feck up your preconceptions...but at the same time, don't rush out and expect to find much more in techno like this, because there's scant-damn-little that ever got in the same zone in ideas or quality. It's fairly close to a unique experience...sadly.
be a force for peace

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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by thewalker » Fri 13 May, 2011 12:08 am

"There is something down there! Something not us..."
Image

Steve Sole
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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by Steve Sole » Fri 13 May, 2011 3:59 am

I just think it's a really good review.
Kind of sums up my thoughts exactly on that record.
It's amasing that after all these years you can still feel totally blown away by a piece of work that's so far ahead of it's time, it's seriously unbelievable!

That album has music on there that if it came out now or in ten years, people would still have their jaws dropping at how utterly incredible it sounds.

It really does open new doors to how techno and future music can be made.

Not many records are, but this one is, seriously, the shit!
be a force for peace

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pyewakt
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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by pyewakt » Fri 13 May, 2011 9:22 am

My vinyl copy never came with the stories, and consequently I have never read them. Does anyone have a convenient link to the stories so I can give them a read??

Review is spot-on though - 'Collection' remains peerless.

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blastik
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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by blastik » Fri 13 May, 2011 10:08 pm

That's weird that your vinyl copy didn't come with the stories. Did you buy the album new or used? Mine came with the stories booklet, but I bought it new. The stories are quite good and stand alone as excellent pieces of literature. The author definitely has a passion and knowledge of science and space. I just looked around the internet and couldn't find them anywhere. Of course, the cd's all sell for 50 dollars and up, so buying one cheap to read the stories isn't an option. Hopefully it gets remastered and re-released some day!

That is a cool review. I like how the writer compares it to a soundtrack to a film that has never been made. The album definitely has the artistic strokes of a soundtrack, but you'd have to have a pretty unique film to live up to the music. Mark must have been about 20 years old when he made this album, right? Truly exceptional.

Steve Sole
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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by Steve Sole » Sat 14 May, 2011 3:12 am

Blastik,

Where did you get your's new from?
I got mine on CD when it came out but I've been looking for a vinyl copy that's brand new ever since!
be a force for peace

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blastik
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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by blastik » Sat 14 May, 2011 5:32 am

Hey Steve
I bought it back in 1993. I didn't mean I bought it recently new...

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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by Steve Sole » Sat 14 May, 2011 7:04 am

yeah, I thought so!

I haven't seen new copies of this on vinyl for ages...
I have seen it though on Amazon still sealed http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... dition=new but it's not the original release on Infonet.

Would love this brand new on vinyl!

Pyewakt,

I'll have a look and see if I brought mine over with me, and if I did, I'll scan the booklet for you.
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blastik
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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by blastik » Sat 14 May, 2011 7:15 am

UK vinyl is rarely sealed, though. And none of that Infonet vinyl was ever sealed, at least the records I bought never were. I wonder if this seller on Amazon sealed it themselves to make it look new...

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pyewakt
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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by pyewakt » Mon 16 May, 2011 4:26 pm

I got my vinyl second hand, although was already well familiar with it. But yes - either it had fallen out or the previous owner kept it. Either way, never read the stories.

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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by chuckcogan » Tue 17 May, 2011 3:41 pm

havnt really listened that much to this album since i bought it in 93 to be honest....
so im gonna go ahead and have a proper listen now :D
peace & respect
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Re: Reload: A Collection Of Short Stories

Post by darlo » Tue 17 May, 2011 9:04 pm

http://www.discogs.com/sell/list?master_id=17159&ev=mb

Try here they have CD versions and LP versions at varying cost from reasonable to downright extortion.

IMHO
Le Soleil Et La Mer
The Enlightenment
Event Horizon

are the feckin biz 8)

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