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What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

WHO THE HELL IS MR AVERELL?


Gridlock advertWell, who the hell is Mr Averell? One one level that is an easy question to answer; he is René van Commenée - a Dutch percussionist, composer and artist. Another way of looking at it is that Mr Averell is a band. The man himself says:

"As a musician I work mainly as a percussionist, electronic music performer and sound designer. I am a member of the trio The Art of Doing Nothing with Pipe Organ master Willem Tanke and MIDI-wind-controller/flutist Martijn Alsters. With Alsters I formed a duo for live-surround concerts and installations also. Separate from this I create visual sound art installations. I always like to use my voice though. I was a singer in several Dutch rock bands in the seventies and eighties, and like to write, record and perform more song-based music as I call it. But if you do so many diverse things I think you have to make clear to your audience what it is they can expect when buying your work or attending your concerts/performances. Therefore I chose to give my song-based projects a separate name, Mr Averell; a band in which I am the main writer and performer."

But on the other hand... I have no idea. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr Averell is the avatar of an ancient race, living out eternity in a little tea shop somewhere, eating cream buns and living out his musical fantasies through the medium of a bunch of talented musician-types including Mike Garson (David Bowie), David Jackson, Hugh Banton and Judge Smith (Van der Graaf Generator), John Ellis (Peter Gabriel, Peter Hammill, The Stranglers), Lene Lovich, along with Stuart Gordon (Peter Hammill, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack), Dyane Donck (Daisy Bell), Martijn Alsters, Willem Tanke, Ninca Leece, Tammo Heikens and Lisa Weiss..

The album - apparently their second - is a masterpiece of sonic invention. It is one of the best things that I have heard all year. It is also very silly. It ranges from avant-noise to tunes that sound like they came from the soundtrack of The Magic Roundabout. There are sensitive and chilling ballads and imposing waves of brassy soundscape. There is a story, but what the hell that story is I have no idea. The nearest reference point I can give is Tom Wait's sublime retelling of Alice in Wonderland, but in point of fact the two records sound nothing like each other. I merely suspect that they inhabit the same universe. I may be wrong. I often am.

But I am intrigued. I have booked an interview with him this weekend, and I am also approaching some of the other folk on the album to try and find out what on earth this is all about? And I want to find out who the hell is Mr Averell?

CHECK HIM OUT AT GONZO
Gridlock
CD - �9.99

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