Some random bits and pieces. . .
Dire Straits — Communiqué (1979)
Also found this one on the cheap and figured I should go for it since I just got the first album the other day. I like it, though it does sound like outtakes from the first album, honestly. A bit more of a reliance on standard blues rock cliches, maybe. But, again, as on the first album, it's all filtered through that wonderfully clean (Telecaster?) guitar tone that I just love. Not much to say about this one, but the songs are good — just not as consistently good as the first album. Highlights for me are the building 'Where Do You Think You're Going?', the 'Sultans of Swing' rewrite 'Lady Writer' and the great mellow closer 'Follow Me Home.' Overall, I think this one may actually capture the mood of early Dire Straits even more than the first album, it just doesn't have the higher highlights.
The Sea and Cake — The Moonlight Butterfly (2011)
Review coming shortly. . .
David Sylvian + Holger Czukay — Flux + Mutability (1989)
I've had Plight and Premonition for years and have known about this one for even longer. I always swore up and down that I'd buy it if I saw it. Well, I never saw it. So, I finally just ordered a used one from Amazon. It's actually really good. The first track ('Flux') and its subtitle ('A big, bright, colourful world') are actually very representative of the album and are in very stark contrast to Plight and Premonition. It's a lovely little seventeen minute tune that features an expanded band with David and Holger being joined by Michael Karoli (guitar), Markus Stockhausen (flugelhorn, of course) and Jaki Liebezeit (percussiony stuff). Of the four longform pieces that came out of David and Holger's collaborations, I'd say it's easily the best thing they did. 'Mutability' (subtitle 'A new beginning is in the offing') is a slower and much more sparse affair. It actually reminds me a lot of the ambient stuff on Gone to Earth in that it has a basic chord progression that it follows faithfully, keeping the piece from feeling like it ever rambles or serves no purpose. It's actually very soundtracky, come to think of it. Where Plight and Premonition was scattered and somewhat dark, Flux + Mutability is full of peace and satisfaction. In a very short time, it's become my favorite of the two albums. However, I can see why both are relevant. Good stuff.