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Sunlight to Blue... Blue to Blackness

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Album Review

That the Durutti Column are still releasing albums three decades after their original formation is remarkable, given sole constant Vini Reilly's well-known personal difficulties. Sunlight to Blue...Blue to Blackness is Reilly's first release since the death of his mentor and biggest champion, Factory Records founder Tony Wilson, and almost as if in tribute, it's in many ways a return to the sound of the Durutti Column's early Factory releases. Vocals, keyboards, and drum machines make only sporadic appearances, with Reilly's typically elegant, impressionistic guitar taking center stage throughout. Indeed, on the opening track, "Glimpse," snatches of tunes from 1979's The Return of the Durutti Column waft through Reilly's nylon-string solo, and "Never Known Version" updates a tune from 1981's LC with a thoroughly modern hip-hop-influenced rhythm track that shouldn't work nearly as well as it does. Not that this is a surprise, since that phrase is a workable précis of the Durutti Column's entire career. Other highlights include the eight-minute reverie "Head Glue" and the somber piece for piano and sustain pedals "Ananda," both of which feature Reilly's newest foil, pianist and singer Poppy Morgan.

Biography

Formed: 1978 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Durutti Column was primarily the vehicle of Vini Reilly, a guitarist born in Manchester, England, in 1953. As a child, Reilly first took up the piano, drawing inspiration from greats like Art Tatum and Fats Waller, before learning to play guitar at the age of ten. Despite an early affection for folk and jazz, Reilly ultimately became swept up by the punk movement, and in 1977 he joined the group Ed Banger & the Nosebleeds. In 1978, Factory Records founder Tony Wilson invited Reilly to join...
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