Is a song ever truly finished? Can there ever be a definitive form, one that can’t be improved on? Isn’t there something to be gained from revisiting, reimagining, reclothing music which is already close to your heart? These are all the sorts of questions which must concern Michael Ciravolo and in trying to answer them he has created a new album full of alternate versions, remixes and new sonic experiments under the name of Out of The Chaos…
Although the songs will be familiar to anyone who keeps even a cursory eye on his ever fluid project, it is the way that the previous musical limits are stretched, made over, reconstructed which is the neat thing here. Sometimes this might just a gentle reframing of what has gone before, sometimes it’s an opportunity to build a complete sonic anagram, usually it’s a clever balance of the two approaches.
So now, not only do you have a band made up of many musical guests and collaborators taken from the great and good of the rock and alternative community, you have a second wave of outside input and aesthetic addition from those given the task of finding new routes through the original sonic territory. And the results are glorious.
The scope that the album runs through can be seen by the example of Stranger, a Kat Leon vocal collaboration which appears here in four different versions running from haunted understatement to graceful electronica and then from glitchy slow-dance vibes to raw, cavernous, industrial high drama. Who knew that you could get so much mileage out of the same song. Michael Ciravolo for one!
Its a Who’s Who of the great and good of the darker and more rock-orientated end of the music scene. The likes of The Mission’s Simon Hinkler and The Wonder Stuff’s Mark Gemini Thwaite can be found adding tasteful guitar moments, the likes of John Fryer and Tim Palmer ride the desk to explore new possibilities and new potentials and vocals run from Curse MacKey’s epic sonics to Cinthya Hussey’s intimate grace.
I’m surprised that more artists don’t take such an approach. Why rush to find the next melody, the next clever chord progression, when you can revisit your existing back catalogue and ask new collaborators to sow fresh sonic seeds in that already fertile territory? Someone once said that a good song is one that can be played on an acoustic guitar, simple and unadorned. I would also add that a great song is one which seems to be able to be resurrected in many guises and many forms to live again. It all seems very Buddhist!