What a great title for an album mirroring the state of the world, one of constant turmoil!
As Perge (aka Matthew Stringer & Graham Getty) initially started out to create electronic rock in the classic 70s/80s TD-style live bootleg concerts after the Tangerine Tree project was cancelled, Matthew Stringer always liked to listen to their music and paint a classic concert in the listener’s mind’s eye with all the noises and other stuff that occur at a live show with the audience reacting to events that happen either visually or within the music. Once all the music was laid out as an album as part of the downmix stage, Mr. Stringer mixed in all the noises that bring continuity to the album to make it sound like a show. Perge did this with most of their albums and they’re usually the ones that got the most response. Matthew thinks that electronic music by its very nature takes all kinds of sounds and uses them to create music, so whether it’s traffic or birds sampling people is just another one of those sources that can be used to create an atmosphere.
A look at the background of “Mutually Assured Destruction” reveals it’s a combination of the trials of lockdown and how it affected Matthew Stringer mentally. The seven ‘bonus’ tracks in the high-definition download version of the album are all stand-alone pieces Mr. Stringer recorded during the two years of Covid.
The main album started out following a Tangerine Dream concert earlier this year where Matthew met a guy in the audience and got talking about music. It appeared he was into progressive rock and confessed that his most favourite TD album was “Cyclone”. Matthew had not heard anyone say that before but it was always something he thought would be fun to look into. “Madrigal Meridian” on that recording is a strange piece, however, it actually spurred an idea in Matthew’s head to make something that was a nod to it. That eventually became “Midpoint Marigold” that Matthew sent over to Graham. The latter though hasn’t been involved with Perge since the duo made “Catharsis” (2017), as he said he’d made everything he’d wanted to. This was a little upsetting as Mr Stringer thought they’d made some great music until then and his sequences were always inspiring for his keyboard playing. However this time it was different as Graham sent over some sequences he’d recently recorded, “Epicentre”, “Pivot” and “Rotate”. Matthew took the first one and remixed it into a full track and sent it over again; Graham replied he loved it and was enthusiastic about doing something together again. “Rotate” was the next one that got remixed, however, Graham didn’t seem to like this one as he’d had something different in his head about what it would be. Work then started on “Pivot” which Matthew thought was strong and sounded very much like a Perge-song.
This created the idea in Mr Stringer’s head of how to get Graham to come back to the band. For this purpose, he created the atmospheric album opener “M.A.D.” which has the obscure wilderness of sound and ‘Graham’ saying that he did not want to come back, but the various noises and subtle sequences tempt him to give it a go, ‘right I’m in’ is the introduction to “Orientation”.
It starts out as the obligatory nod to early ’80s TD with a hint of ‘Undulation’, the track they would open their ‘81 tour with, but that never saw an official release. The track gains more structure, Matthew wanted to use this as a metaphor for Graham getting his mojo back. This takes us into the lovely sequencer-driven sound world of “Epicentre”, which is actually the first track Matthew and Graham had worked together on in five years. While work on the music continued news came through that Vangelis had died, something that quite upset Matthew as the Greek master had been his hero for a very long time. It made him record a piano improvisation with some CS-80 synth over the top as a small nod of respect to him: “Ascent”. Finally, this takes us to the piece that started the project, the peppy 18-minute “Midpoint Marigold”. The download version of “Mutually Assured Destruction” then continues with seven nice ‘bonus’ tracks (all by Matthew Stringer).
So whilst this one might mostly be a solo album once more, according to Matthew it’s the first to feel like a joint project in a long time and helps him and Graham feel like life is (hopefully) returning to normal…
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Perge artist page
Sonic Immersion © 2022