Blaine L. Reininger

Live in Brussels 82-86

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Blaine L. Reininger had a fairly rough time of it getting solo shows together after the move to Brussels -- the incident that the song and album Broken Fingers refers to happened after one of them -- but the two shows that provided the tracks for Live in Brussels found him perhaps at his live solo peak. The help of his soon-to-be-dismissed backing band didn't hurt, making this both an unintentional farewell and a distinct calling card for all involved. Though a short album is originally released and reworked slightly in studio after the fact, Live in Brussels hits the ground running with a winner, the brawling "Volo Vivace" (Reininger's hyperactive violin is flat-out marvelous) and after that makes its' sometimes bemusing way. "Night Air" walks a slightly uneasy balance between a too pristine recreation and a fiery instrumental break, while the introduction to "Uptown" in particular comes across as a personal tribute to Tom Waits that veers between the sharp and the silly, but on the whole the performances are mighty fine, with Alain Goutier's work on keyboards of special note. Reininger's occasional drawling interjections make for a nice personal touch as well -- check his introduction to "The Birthday Song" for a prime example. LTM's 2004 reissue once again does the expected killer job -- right from the start, as the otherwise unreleased instrumental "Intro" shows. A lovely meditation focused on a central keyboard melody and Reininger's part-drone violin work, it could almost be his own contribution to Brian Eno's On Land. Four other songs from the shows appear as bonuses. There's one further addition, a take on "Mystery and Confusion" from a French show a year later.

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