The Blue Nile – Live At Free Trade Hall, Manchester – 1990 – BBC Radio 1
Haven’t played any Blue Nile in a very long time. In the 80s they were one of those bands who didn’t subscribe to Post-Punk or New-Wave. Rather, they represented something else – Electronica with a sophisticated edge; several cuts above what was going on at the time.
Getting started in 1981, Blue Nile have scrupulously avoided publicity and have been considered arch-perfectionists, which may explain why they have only released 4 albums since that time.
A word or two about the band via the BBC’s Chris Roberts:
Still a landmark, still high, still somehow intangible: The Blue Nile didn’t sound or function like any normal band.
1984’s A Walk Across the Rooftops remains unique in its fusion of chilly technology and a pitch of confessional, romantic soul that ‘alternative’ types would usually shy away from for fear it wasn’t ‘cool’. It was always (at least) two things at once: in the years since, its peerless power to affect has accrued multiple layers of rueful resonance.
Now remastered (for once, the sound being both brittle and big, that null word has value) and reissued with added rarities (as is its sublime 1989 successor, Hats), its hopeful melancholy transcends its era like an Edward Hopper painting. Synthesisers, the 80s’ new toy, abound, but are used with such naïve grace, over rhythms both simple and circuitous, that they refuse to date.
More importantly, as has been reaffirmed on this year’s stripped-down solo psalm Mid Air, Paul Buchanan’s enraptured voice and words capture the essence of hearts breaking and healing as well as anyone outside Tamla Motown’s heyday.
Even though it’s never been confirmed, Blue Nile disbanded in 2004 shortly after the release of High. They simply stopped performing and recording. Perhaps they are on a hiatus – if so, it’s going on 11 years.
But in any event, if you are familiar with Blue Nile and, like me, haven’t heard anything about them of late, here’s something to mull over for a Wednesday Night/Thursday morning.
Probably not necessary to crank it up.
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