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The Durutti Column \ Without Mercy [FBN 84 / CD]

Factory Benelux presents expanded 4xCD and 2xLP disc editions of Without Mercy, the fourth album by Manchester ensemble The Durutti Column, originally released in 1984 and widely regarded as Vini Reilly's most ambitious album.

In 1983 Durutti Column mentor/manager Tony Wilson asked Vini Reilly to abandon fleeting guitar miniatures in favour of a longform modern classical piece. The result was an ambitious 20 minute instrumental suite, Without Mercy, performed by core Durutti duo Vini Reilly and Bruce Mitchell along with Blaine L. Reininger and John Metcalfe (violas), Caroline Lavelle (cello), Tim Kellett (trumpet) and Maunagh Fleming (cor anglais).

Explains Vini: "Tony had just come in for a conversation one day and said, 'Look, you keep making these albums that you want to make, and I'm quite happy with you doing that, but just give me this one album and do it my way.' He wanted it to have a narrative determined by a Keats poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, which he said was the poet's version of a pop song: boy meets girl, falls in love with girl, loses girl, blah blah blah. It was a very, very Tony way of looking at it. He had aspirations that I should be taken seriously."

Produced by Reilly and Wilson at Strawberry Studio and Britannia Row, Without Mercy was originally split into 19 separate stanzas, some of which have now been restored using digital cue points on the CD. Bonus tracks include the original recordings of Duet, Estoril a Noite and Favourite Descending Intervals (all re-worked for inclusion on Without Mercy), as well as companion EP Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say, collaborations with John Metcalfe, Steven Brown and Benjamin Lew, and two previously unreleased live sets across Discs 3 and 4, recorded at London School of Economics in December 1984 and Oslo in December 1986.

The remastered 4xCD set is housed in a clamshell box, with inner wallets and liner notes by Reilly, Wilson, Mitchell, Reininger and Metcalfe. The cover painting is L'Etang de Trivaux by Henri Matisse (1916/17).

A double gatefold vinyl edition is also available with free digital copy (MP3) of the vinyl tracks. The outer sleeve is printed on 500 mic grey cairn board, with letterpress typography and tipped sheets front and back. The insert (with liner notes) is printed on a 350gsm white frost card, and the whole package housed in a re-sealable polybag.

A limited edition of 100 copies of the vinyl will also be available with a postcard signed by Vini and Bruce. These copies are only available from FBN mailorder.

4xCD tracklist:

Disc 1 (CD)

1. Without Mercy (Stanzas I-III)
2. Without Mercy (Stanzas IV-VII)
3. Without Mercy (Stanza VIII)
4. Without Mercy (Stanzas IX-XII)
5. Without Mercy 2
6. All That Love and Maths Can Do
7. Snowflakes
8. Profondeurs des Eaux des Laques
9. The Sea Wall
10. Duet
11. Estoril a Noite
12. Favourite Descending Intervals

Disc 2 (CD)

1. Goodbye
2. The Room
3. A Little Mercy
4. Silence
5. E.E.
6. Hello(w)
7. Paresseuse Aussi
8. Mercy Theme (Live in Tokyo 1985)
9. A Little Mercy (Live in Tokyo 1985)
10. Estoril a Noite (Live in Rotterdam 1983)
11. Favourite Descending Intervals (Live in Manchester 2011)

Disc 3 (Live in London 1984 CD)

1. Sketch for Summer
2. Jacqueline
3. Mercy Theme
4. A Little Mercy
5. Pauline
6. Mercy Dance
7. E.E.
8. The Room
9. Silence
10. Ornithology
11. Prayer
12. The Beggar
13. The Missing Boy
14. Friends in Belgium

Disc 4 (Live in Oslo 1986 CD)

1. Mercy Theme
2. A Little Mercy
3. Pauline
4. Mercy Dance
5. E.E.
6. Silence
7. The Room
8. Dream of a Child
9. Tomorrow
10. Blind Elevator Girl

2xLP + MP3 tracklist:

Disc 1

A1. Without Mercy I
B1. Without Mercy II

Disc 2

C1. All That Love and Maths Can Do
C2. Duet
C3. Estoril a Noite
C4. Favourite Descending Intervals
C5. A Little Mercy
D1. Mercy Theme (Live in London 1984)
D2. A Little Mercy (Live in London 1984)
D3. Mercy Dance (Live in London 1984)

Available as a 4xCD box, gatefold double vinyl and MP3 (vinyl tracklist). To order please select correct button and shipping option and click on Add To Cart button below cover image, or else contact FBN by email for other payment methods. FOR RELEASE IN SEPTEMBER 2018.

Without Mercy [FBN 84]
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"This is a move into modern classicism. Beautiful without being cloying, the ghost of Erik Satie looming large over the proceedings, the piece develops in texture and pace in a quietly impressive manner. Worth getting for side one alone - four stars" (Sounds, 1984)

"Marking a further progression in the overall Durutti sound, Without Mercy offers both an expanded lineup and sense of what could be done with Reilly's compositions. Consisting of a two-part full-album instrumental piece, Without Mercy integrates the slight hints of classical orchestration and accompaniment from Another Setting more fully via a slew of additional players. Besides the indefatigable Mitchell on percussion and Reilly on guitar, bass, and keyboards, performers on everything from viola to cor anglais and trumpet flesh out Without Mercy's sound to newly striking heights. Reilly's work on piano sets the initial mood for the song, a sound by now as intrinsic to Durutti's approach as his guitar work, capturing both tender beauty and deep melancholy just so. Manaugh Fleming's oboe and Tim Kellet's trumpet start to step in as well as Reilly's guitar, adding in here and there as needed while the track unfolds further to another typically brilliant Reilly guitar solo. From such a striking start, the song continues to unfold over the album's full length. It's very self-consciously romantic, but the combination of new and old instruments, plus the continuation of the unique Durutti sheen and shine in the recording quality, results in quietly touching heights. Blaine Reininger's viola and violin and Caroline Lavelle's cello add even more classical atmosphere, while the restraint they exercise as well as all the other performers prevent things from becoming a bloated prog-rock monstrosity. Then again, the funky horns and beats about eight minutes into the second part don't hurt either. Even at its busiest, reflection and subdued but not inactive performing are the key, with clear echoes of Erik Satie's work at many points, while Reilly is almost always, either via keyboards or his guitar, front and centre. The CD reissue includes the Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say EP. Also appearing are two separate, very stripped-down pieces recorded around the same time, one of which, the wonderful All That Love and Maths Can Do, features violist John Metcalfe in his first recorded effort with Durutti" (All Music Guide, 1998)

Without Mercy [FBN 84]