Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. - Like A Duck To Water

This album is a trip back in time to the days when MIDI was just a weird dream and the demagnetizing of tape heads had to be done every half hour or so because the direct waveforms were asymmetric enough to kill their ability to record high frequencies.

A time when live really did mean live, and playing more than one note at a time meant having to have at least two synthesizers within easy reach.

Although I'm about as up on the electronic music scene, and its history, as anyone could easily expect to be these days, there are still big grey areas back there that I am oblivious to, and Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. was, up until very recently, one of those big grey areas.

Comprising of Steve Drews, David Borden and Judy Borsher the trio were a group of musicians who played in and around upstate New York in the 1970's, spending much of their time on University campuses and hanging out with the likes of Robert Moog, John Cage and other now godlike figures from electronic music's early years.

Musically, as you can imagine, there are a lot of repeating monophonic arpeggiated sequences involved throughout their music, with hand played parts moving in and around the loops, similar to the way that Tangerine Dream used to set up their now trademark opuses, but without the obligatory grandiose entrance of a drum track to tie it all together ready for metamorphisis into the following track. Instead Mother Mallard will get deeper into the loop, working around it in ever widening and alternately ever decreasing circles, never losing control but taking things to their limit nonetheless.

Theme from After The Fall, meanwhile, is based on a theme played on their polyphonic mainstay, an RMI electric piano, while modal elements are introduced over time.

This is a track Brian Eno may as well have listened to before embarking on his Apollo project, even though it was recorded almost ten years earlier and unfortunately never released, in fact I think you will find that most of this album seems oddly familiar even though I very much doubt you've ever heard any of it before.

Rating: 862,677 (out of a possible 1,000,000)