No More Travelling Chess

Parallel or 90 Degrees

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No More Travelling Chess Review

by Fran├žois Couture

This project first came together in 1992, at a time when Parallel or 90 Degrees was only a duo, Andy Tillison Diskdrive (keyboards, vocals, programming) and Guy Manning (guitars), working under the moniker Gold Frankincense & Disk Drive. The two musicians started to program and record songs by British singer/songwriter Peter Hammill. They released four of them on cassette, along with two original compositions. In 1999 they recorded yet another Hammill song ("In the Black Room") for the CD reissue. The most interesting aspect of this tribute project resides in the choice of songs. "Modern" and "Arrow" are classics of Hammill and his band Van der Graaf Generator. But it took some courage to attack the 20-minute epic "Flight" or the obscure "Roncevaux," of which the only existing recording is a distorted basement tape, with lyrics that are simply undecipherable. The set list is promising but the result disappoints. These reworkings do not bring a new angle; they are 100% faithful interpretations of the originals, with the exception of programmed rhythm tracks. In order to be able to appreciate the work Tillison and Manning put into this project, one must already be acquainted with the original recordings. No More Travelling Chess is a collector's item; casual fans should stick to Hammill's albums. The two original compositions included are the most Van der Graaf Generator-influenced material these two ever wrote and thus are of interest to Parallel or 90 Degrees diehards.

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