Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mark Burgess + Yves Altana — Paradyning live in Frankfurt '96

A little curiosity can take you a long way, my friends. . .

After finding this little gem late one Saturday night, I soon stumbled upon this, filled out the form and thought nothing more of it. When I heard back, it would be a lie if I said that I didn't get a little hint of butterflies. I've long thought that the Paradyning album was an underrated chapter in the Mark Burgess saga. It's almost like a more focused version of the Sons of God project, as it features a lot of the same lineup, but everything is whittled down to its bare essentials. Jon Lever on drums and you get a couple downright Mark Burgess classics that have remained in his live repertoire ever since.

So, this album is just candy coating on an already super sweet semi-hidden treat.

The set opens with two rip roaring rocking out moments on 'Sin' and 'Silver' that definitely look forward to the more aggressive material Mark and Yves would tackle on the Invincible album a couple years later. It really makes me go back to the proper Paradyning album, as I guess I never really noticed before that the album definitely does rock out in a few spots — the production is a bit restrained, so I guess it was an easy thing to miss.

While not everything from the proper album is played here ('Adrian Be' and 'Stop Talking' are not performed), three Chameleons songs are played with pure expertise (a blistering 'Home is Where the Heart Is', a subdued —but passionate— 'It is Any Wonder?' and a unique, building version of 'Tears' as a hidden bonus track) and, quite awesomely, an ace run-through of the Sun and the Moon's 'This Passionate Breed' round out the set. It's fantastically recorded straight from the board and sequenced in a cohesive order.

The highlight for me is definitely 'Inhaling' —it's one of my favorite songs Mark has ever done anyway, but they just captured it amazingly here. An intensity and emotional aspect, that some folk may have missed on the studio version, is present here and any doubts that it's one of Mark's best tunes should probably subside by the second chorus.

And, you know, it should speak pretty loudly about how good this thing is when you take a step back and really look at what it is: just a live album. This was just a gig for Mark and Yves. They found some local musicians, practiced the songs for a day or two and played a show. That it's now a serendipitous document of a pivotal moment in the career of an unlikely musical partnership between two people so closely linked just goes to show you that, more than anything else, Mark Burgess is a musician who will give his all no matter what. And that this was just another stop on the road for these two —and yet, simultaneously, a worthy listening endeavor on its own that has that undeniably personable warmth that seems like everything with Mark's name on it possesses— is just plain awesome.

A longtime proponent of the straight from the artist purchase, I highly recommend it.

You can buy this album from Yves Altana here.


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