Bill Bissett: vocals, lyrics & texts
Gerry Collins: guitar & keyboard bass/composer
Peter Denny: vibraphone, bass marimba & tube drums/composer
Murray Favro: guitar & pre-recorded sounds
Derek Black: keyboard overdubs on Waterwheels & Goddess
Owen Curnoe: drums on Waterwheels, Moonsong & Gypsy Dreamers
Chris Meloche: computer generated sounds on Fireworks
Recorded at EMAC Sound, London, Canada
Engineer: Robert Nation
Producer: Gerry Collins
We're not called The Luddites - it's Luddites, that's important." says Bill Bissett. And it is. And they are.
This is the first Luddites' record. The London quartet issued a fine tape in 1987 and the tape has proved perfect for use at home or especially in the car where a Luddite listen could turn the road and everything around it into a movie the way car radio can.
This record moves everything up a notch.
It's safe to say lyricist/vocalist bill bissett (b. Halifax, 1939); guitarist Gerry Collins (b. Ottawa, 1955); vibraphonist Peter Denny (b. Montreal, "but I'm really from Toronto," 1934); and guitarist Murray Favro (b. Huntsville, 1940) have never sounded better. Listen to Reflex Blue. Listen to Waterwheels. Listen to the aural fireworks at the start of Fireworks.
And listen especially to Moon Song, Beachtide and Goddess - available in earlier versions on the 1987 tape - to see how far Luddites have gone, are going.
Getting the individual Luddites to explain a little of these magical surges and silences IS not easy, but it's worth remembering the band is truly a four-part puzzle about four years in the making.
Away from Luddites, bill is prolific as a poet, performer and painter - and confesses to giving up his Thursday nights, previously spent glopping up Knot's Landing on television, to rehearse and refine with his bandmates.
Gerry, the mix-master on this album and manager of the Forest City Gallery by day; has been one of London's best guitarists for years now. His former bands included the worthy post-punk and much-missed Mettle - and he has often played with tenor saxman Chris Robinson, in whose company he frequently encountered Peter Denny.
Peter, a member of the UWO psychology department, admits to being the one Luddite likely to connect the group with postmodern music, Philip Glass and minimalism in general. Peter, who also cites Benny Goodman as a formative influence on his playing is heard on bass marimba as well as vibraphone here.
Murray, a sculptor, splits his musical time between Luddites and London's longestrunning Monday night ensemble, the Nihilist Spasm Band. The difference, he says, is that in the NSB things "blend together because they're so complex;" while Luddites tend to sound like one instrument "with really not any solos:"
Murray, some of whose most celebrated works have been of guitars, is playing an anonymous instrument here. "It's just a cheap guitar, it had some modifications before I even got it...l turned it around left-handed:"
With Murray's left-handed drone and licks, with bill out front, with Gerry sweet and driving in the mix, and Peter deliberate and pulse-like, you can call Luddites anything you want.
New music- Dance music (yes, it is!). Trance music. Soul music. Hip music. Hop music, Forest City music.
Call it more Luddite than Lombardo ... but still the sweetest sound this side of Highway 7.
Call it almost anything. It'll all fit.
Just don't call it new age music by a group of older souls.
Let there be no ageism about Luddite ages, insists bill. No ageism at all.
"Actually," ho reflects, "we're a lot younger than some of the people on MuchMusic"
True enough. This is much music indeed.
Much, much music.