What does it sound like?:
This set collects Nick Mason’s three (it says here) “solo” albums – which is quite misleading, as the first one is a rather brilliant Robert Wyatt album, and the other two are unplayable duo efforts, one of ’em never released before.
“Fictitious Sports” from 1981 was recorded in America during downtime from “The Wall”, and it features songs written by jazz pianist Carla Bley, performed by her band with Robert Wyatt on vocals, Chris Spedding on guitar, and Mr. Mason on drums. This is fantastic stuff – everyone involved is obviously delighted to be part of this. It sounds like the poppier bits of “Escalator Over The Hills” mixed with the Canterbury sound and a truly great brass section. And it’s always great to hear Robert Wyatt singing lines like “I like tickling ivories and fingering stones, when my mercury goes up I play with my bone…” (I’m A Mineralist).
The two albums with Rick Fenn (who’s always referred to as “from 10cc”, although in my house 10cc are Godley/Creme/Gouldman/Stewart) are from another universe entirely – bland elevator music, everything glossed over with 80s synthesizer sounds and coated in echo and reverb. Each track sounds like a long introduction to something interesting which never comes: where are Ry Cooder or Mark Knopfler when they’re needed?
What does it all *mean*?
This set (which is very nice to look at) probably means a lot to Nick Mason, but as a consumer product it doesn’t make sense. It’s like reissuing “Abbey Road” in a box with “Two Virgins” and the “Family Way” soundtrack. But of course we all have to buy it for “Fictitious Sports”.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
…”Tomorrow’s People” from the McDonald & Giles album – slightly left-field pop songs with a brass section.