CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX
I've said it before and I'll say it again - live albums are a strange beast. Strange in the sense of their purpose which, all too often, provides a convenient and quick-fix of a cashing-in stop-gap for bands between studio releases. However, there are a handful of live offerings out there which have a different motive where a particular show might be deemed 'special' for whatever reason (perhaps the last to feature a departed long-time band member, for example) and the idea of immortalising its audio on record for posterity (instead of prosperity) becomes a very good idea. Here is one such show of the genuinely progressive musical innovators and unclassifiably enigmatic Crippled Black Phoenix. 'Live Poznan' was recorded in Poland towards the end of 2011 (8th November to be precise) and CBP mainman Justin Greaves provides a viable explanation for its existence: "There are few places that CBP play where we have a great connection to the fans and the town/city, Poznan is most definitely one of those places. The first CBP show there was a trip into the unknown, but straight away we felt a good atmosphere, there then followed one of our all time classic shows in a very cosy (sweaty) venue. After a couple of return gigs, we got asked if it was OK to record and film the next one, of course we were excited to do it. The audio recording turned out really well, it seems to have captured the vibe of the night, with mistakes and all!"
So, there we go, a special place for the band and a recording that carries with it the band's seal of approval for atmospheric authenticity, and without any pretentious post-production overdubs (thus retaining its authenticity). Previously available as a triple-vinyl set, but with limited availability, here it is for the first time on CD as a double album in all its raw glory. And it sounds fantastically authentic. Too much post-show editing and dabbling in search of 'perfection' is all too often counter-productive in that it can ruin the live essence of a live recording. Here we have a raw, organic, unpolished, and unedited recording which, I would argue, is perfection in itself. After all, this is what show attendees would've heard that night. Chapel Studio's Ewan Davies has been credited with the audio mix so I'm guessing that's the only change from what would've been heard through the PA that night. It's also nice that a little crowd noise has been included in the mix throughout (background nattering can even be heard during some of the songs' quieter passages - perhaps, due to the intimacy of the venue, onstage mics picked this up anyway), to add that extra touch of authenticity. Some might deem this as marring the effect but, for me, it's part of the overall effect. This is the real deal - a genuine live record from a genuine band. 'Live Poznan' is an essential live release from the most unique of bands.
Cool Green Recordings
Review by Mark Holmes
58 mins & 56 mins
19th August 2013
DISC ONE: 1) Intro/Troublemaker; 2) Fantastic Justice; 3) Of a Lifetime; 4) Song for the Loved; 5) The Brain/Poznan; 6) Goodnight Europe; 7) The Heart of Every Country
DISC TWO: 1) Release the Clowns; 2) 444; 3) We Forgotten Who We Are; 4) Rise Up and Fight; 5) Bella Ciao; 6) Born for Nothing/Paranoid Arm of Narcoleptic Empire
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Too much post-show editing and dabbling in search of 'perfection' is all too often counter-productive in that it can ruin the live essence of a live recording. Here we have a raw, organic, unpolished, and unedited recording which, I would argue, is perfection in itself."