What are the first things that come into your mind when you think about the words “electronic music”? Is it the period in which this genre of music had it’s heyday? What about the emerging technology used to make some of that music? More than likely, you think about the bands and artists that had their biggest success performing that music. Wikipedia claims that the true definition of electronic music is “music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production”, and one of its’ biggest (and probably its’ most popular) sub-genres is called Berlin School. Named because those who first created this kind of music all lived around Berlin, Germany, the Berlin school of electronic music has its’ birth with Tangerine Dream’s 1974 album, ‘Phaedra’. Many artists today such as Bernd Kistenmacher, The Omega Syndicate, Redshift, Gert Emmens and Free System Projekt are still finding new ways to express themselves within the Berlin school framework. However, it is Radio Massacre International that is leading the way in showcasing the very best of what the Berlin school has to offer.
Originally called “DAS”, the band (which consists of Steve Dinsdale on Keyboards and Drums, Duncan Goddard on Keyboards and Bass, and Gary Houghton on Guitar and Synths) has released over 45 albums since their 1995 debut album, ‘Frozen North’. Having just released seven(!) new titles (including their first DVD) that week, the band had no intentions on releasing anything further this calendar year. Releasing ‘The Clouds Of Titan’ in September of 2013 was not something the band had planned, but the situation surrounding the recording and those who attended was something that Steve, Duncan and Gary simply could not ignore.
‘The Clouds Of Titan’ was recorded on May 16th of 2013 for broadcast on the Gagliarchives Radio Show, which is headquartered in Brigantine Beach, New Jersey. The location of the live recording was at the home of someone close to the RMI family, Cyndee Lee Rule, and her husband, Jeff Nutkowitz, just outside of Philadelphia. Cyndee has played with the band many times in the US, but this specific performance was more about her husband, Jeff, who was battling pancreatic cancer. As Jeff would be unable to see the band perform a few days later at the Gatherings Concert Series in downtown Philadelphia, Tom Gagliardi (the host of the Gagliarchives) arranged to record the band as a “living room session” inside Jeff and Cyndee’s home.
Performing two improvised songs over the span of two hours, the band peformed for Cyndee and Jeff, as well as a small, select group of people. Among them were Stars’s End host Chuck Van Zyl and the aforementioned Tom Gagliardi, who coined the titles of the songs the band performed that evening. Nutkowitz was a huge fan of Radio Massacre International, and this performance was as special to him as it was for Duncan, Gary and Steve. With Jeff’s passing in early July, the band reached out to Cyndee and proposed a release of the material, with the profits going to one of Nutkowitz’s favorite charities.
‘The Clouds Of Titan’ is everything you’ve come to expect from Radio Massacre International, from Duncan’s expert modular and synthesizer programming and keyboard playing to Steve on not only keyboards, but also an electronic hand drum he picked up only hours earlier. The key to RMI, however, is Houghton’s guitar work. Gary knows his place in RMI is to work hand in hand with Duncan and Steve, and his tasteful guitar playing only enhances the synthesizer play and sequences that Steve and Duncan set up. ‘The Clouds Of Titan’ is more about who it’s been released for than it is about the music. That being said, the music still shows that RMI is at the top of their game.
For more information on Radio Massacre International, please visit the following websites:
The official Radio Massacre International website
Radio Massacre International on Wikipedia
Radio Massacre International on Prog Archives