Somewhere between pop music and classical music lies the work of The Durutti Column. As good a place to start, as any, is the album Vini Reilly, titled after The Durutti Column guitar player and resident genius Vini Reilly. I’ve heard great things about the album LC, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere yet. Vini Reilly is simply one of the best guitar players of our time. Unlike many guitar virtuosos, Reilly’s music is emotional first. These are true compositions that, like many classical composers, are only as technical as need be, in order to convey the main emotion that a piece needs. He could play circles around most mortals, but one never feels like that is the point. This is beautiful stuff where the guitar almost becomes an element, something liquid and molten, that translates dreams into sounds.
Along with Bruce Mitchell on drums, and a host of other musicians, Reilly utilizes the technologies of our time to create imaginative soundscapes. One song might feature real singing and acoustic drums and in the very next it might be a vocal sample and a drum machine. The song that I have posted above, from 1989 is called Otis and features samples of the singer Otis Redding along with live singing.
Vini Reilly has recently had a series of strokes, which have thrown into doubt his ability to record more, but as recently as 2010 he was still putting out incredible pieces of work. One of my favorite albums is 2006’s Keep Breathing. The song Big Hole gives me the chills in its quiet defiance. Another newer album, 2007 Idiot Savants features a piece of music that Reilly created for his mentor, Tony Wilson, received chemotherapy. That piece is called Interlueken 2 – For Anthony, and it uses sampled opera vocals to simply stunning effect.
This is music that I like to put on while I’m writing or reading. However, it is too emotionally passionate to be deemed mere background music. It will enhance whatever task you have set out before you.
I discovered The Durutti Column like many people did after seeing the movie 24 Hour Party People. At the end of the movie, when some of the main characters are getting high, god comes down, and tells them that it is, “good music to chill out to.” It is that and so much more. It can change the temperature in any room it is played in. It somehow makes the dreams that make up life more tangible. The world is better for having this incredible music in it. Let some of it into your world. Start with Vini Reilly, but don’t be surprised if it is only the first album of theirs to enter your catalogue.