Robert Calvert - "Hype: Songs of Tom Mahler" (Voiceprint VP261CD)
Robert Calvert - "Revenge" (Blueprint BP320CD)
From Aural Innovations #35 (January 2007)
Hype has been out of print on CD for quite a long time. I think the last pressing was in the 90's on Cleopatra records, if I am not mistaken. Robert wrote a novel called Hype which described the story of Tom Mahler, who was shot to fame by unscrupulous moguls of the music industry. Several Hawkwind members and associated people (Simon House, Nik Turner, and Michael Moorcock) appear on the record. It contains a few songs that Robert played in his live sets like Evil Rock and Lord of the Hornets. This CD version also includes 3 bonus tracks. Over my Head (the CDs opening track) as a rough demo, Hanging out on the Sea Front (different lyrics) and Flight 105, an instrumental version. If you are a fan of Calvert's solo stuff and you missed out on this one, then this is worth checking out!
The four tracks on Revenge were originally recorded as backing tracks and instrumentals by Pete Pavil in 1981. Pete met Bob via Simon House when Bob was looking for a cello player for his album Hype. He played these tracks for Calvert and he liked them and decided to write some lyrics for them. He returned a few days later and had lyrics and melodies complete. They did the vocals one afternoon and then nothing happened with this music for 10 years. It was released on 200 cassette tapes on Adrian Shaw's Cyborg Record label but that was it. So what did they record?? The music is all recorded by Simon House (violin), Pete (Piano, Guitars, drum machine) and Bob on vocals. Revenge is a nice track with a quite laid back vocal by Calvert. It has the sound like it was recorded in someone's bedroom but that is ok... Revenge is sweet. Next up is Fascism/Futurism and this has a very interesting multi-track guitar over which Calvert does his spoken word lyrics. The lyrics are taken from the Futurist Manifesto of 1909. Bugatti features just guitar, drum machine and vocals. A strange violin solo seems to have snuck its way into the mix that suddenly gets cut off at the end. Isadora starts off quite Beatles like and then it takes on its own flavour. There is a very strange repeated chant track that lasts 10 minutes on the end of the CD. No information about the origin of this but it could easily be Calvert, he was a strange guy, didn't you know?
For more information you can visit the Voiceprint web site at: http://www.voiceprint.co.uk.
Reviewed by Scott Heller