Union Wireless - All her life - 2000


This is an interesting surprise that we could easily include inside the field of the jazzier progressive and kraut. This could be a brief summary of what this London band, Union Wireless, contribute to the music of our times.


"All her life" is presented in a beautiful digipack format inside its simplicity and austerity of information. It is the only album I know of this band that has previously released two Eps, a mini album and an album, and that it is formed by Ben Morris, Gonzalo Viña, Steve Gillard, Pete Flood, Chris Smith, Hugo Baldaccino, Ian Burdge and Clare Smith. The group recorded during 98/99 this beautiful musical work that the Spanish record label Elefant Records, better known for its incursions in "indie" music, had the good taste (the pleasure is our) of publishing during 2000 in our country at a moderate price.

Union Wireless conjugates, in a very attractive and quite original way, the krautrock of Can or Faust in their calmer moments, the elegant Canterbury sound of Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt in solitary, or National Health, the jazz-fusion of Weather Report, the space sound of the first Pink Floyd, and some noise-pop a la My Bloody Valentine or Sonic Youth.

The nine songs of this album (of the exact length that does not get boring, the usual 40 minutes of the old records) flows smoothly, in ochre soft tones, in a calm and subtle way, between sweet and pleasant piano notes and a good percussion base, and entering lightly in our ears with the singer's well intoned voice, located in very similar registrations to those of Robert Wyatt. Multitude of other instruments make act of presence in the album, including violas, sax, clarinet, marimbas, guitars, keyboards… warm summer passages are mingled with rough, experimental and autumnal moments that never become sour or bitter, conforming a beautiful medley of sounds.

In the album we find a total of nine pieces, amongst which we could highlight: the excellent "All her life" (beautiful instrumental in a jazz register), "Afterglow" continued with "A carnival" (the first one a brief introduction followed by a beautiful vocal piece of clearly Canterburian atmospheres, with beautiful spacey developments of keyboards and percussion), and "Circulation" (spectacular instrumental of a nature closer to contemporary classical music that closes the album).

The two jewels of the album are thus "Walking or running" (the composition takes advantage of a repetitive rhythmic base born in Can –Tagomago- to which a whispering voice a la Robert Wyatt is added) and "Just one minute" (a wonderful ballad vocal piece in a soft jazz style of emotive composition, and again with a beautiful voice with Wyatt tones).


This review is dedicated to my friend Juan Sánchez that I am sure will find a pleasant musical surprise in this album, that he will love. In definitive, a beautiful album, ideal for all lovers of kraut and the Canterbury sound, and that represents a very interesting discovery of a group we will watch carefully from now on.

author - date - rating - label

José Nafría - January 2001 -   - Elefant Records