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Saturday, 22 January 2022

Things Inside

Will Sergeant has spent over four decades as Echo And The Bunnymen's guitarist and has at times found space/ refuge outside the group to record more experimental solo material. I've written about his Poltergeist group before, swirling instrumental, psychedelic rock. I only recently discovered his Bandcamp page which is a treasure trove of material from his 1982 album Themes For GRIND album to more recent solo work. 

In 2012 Will released an album called Things Inside, ten instrumental tracks that find him playing a variety of musical instruments- a lot of acoustic guitar parts with circling finger picking riffs and lines but also toy piano, bells, autoharp and chimes- and producing some lovely hypnotic, contemplative pieces of music, some distance from his Bunnymen guitar sounds and riffs. This one is Eastern Bells complete with some hazy, out of focus landscapes and beaches in the video. Former Bunnyman bandmate Les Pattinson is in there somewhere too. You can find and buy it at Bandcamp

From his posts on Twitter it seems Will lives somewhere north of Liverpool where rural Lancashire meets the Fylde coast. In 2013 he released a new album as Glide, two very long pieces of music that seem to capture that part of the country very well, the slightly bleak, windswept coastline and flatlands. Assemblage One and Two are both around twenty minutes long, synths and drones with some lovely bubbling sounds and melody lines coming in and out. ideal music for headphones while out walking. Find it here

Will's first album as GRIND came out in 1982, a very experimental electronic album, eleven tracks, all untitled in 1982 but later renamed as numbers and now titled Scene I through to Scene XI (adding to the sense this album is the soundtrack to a film that never got made). Themes For GRIND is very much the product of time spent listening to the West German groups of the 1970s, Cluster and Faust, as well as Brian Eno. Atmospheric ambient and very good indeed. It had a limited edition vinyl re- issue last year which I missed out on but you can get the digital at Bandcamp

In 2000 a GRIND 12" was released with track No. 2 and No. 5 from the 1982 album coupled with two new remixes. One was by The Mindwinder (Joe McKechnie). The other was courtesy of Two Lone Swordsmen. Weatherall and Tenniswood remix Will's ambient soundscape in a style which would have easily found a home on their Tiny Reminders album from the same year, minimal abstract machine funk/ techno- static, an insistent drumbeat some whirling, spooked out synths, a juddering bass and a snatch of a ghostly choir. 

Theme For GRIND No. 2 (Reground by The Two Lone Swordsmen)


Nick L said...

Very interesting stuff. I've long felt that Will gets a bit overlooked in the pantheon of great guitarists of the last 40 years, but for me he's right up there with the best. Innovative, distinctive and thrilling but always sticking to what the song needs. His book is really good too, with a new volume in the works apparently.

Swiss Adam said...

His book is really good, I enjoyed it a lot, especially the last line. He writes really well, and the chapters about Eric's are as good as any about the punk scene, really bringing it to life.

Echorich said...

I really love Eastern Bells and I think Will's work away from The Bunnymen is really impressive. He is much more than a Post Punk axeman.

Khayem said...

Eastern Bells is a lovely piece and Echorich sums up my feelings about Will's music both in and out of the Bunnymen. Between this 2012 song, the Two Lone Swordsmen remix in 2000 and the original GRIND in 1982, I could help thinking of 1990 and in particular the Echo & The Bunnymen remix of The KLF's What Time Is Love? Although credited to the whole band (minus Mac, solo at the time), I always figured that Will's contribution was far greater than, say, Noel Burke's.

Playing six degrees of separation with Andrew Weatherall is just far too easy sometimes, and I'm very glad that the post about Will was a good excuse to air and oft-overlooked TLS classic. I've got the 12" on the shelf but haven't ripped it and it's been far too long since I last listened to it. Great, isn't it?