Monday 18 December 2017

Review: Mesh – 'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig'


'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig'

Bristol based electronic act Mesh have enjoyed an enviable career that has seen them build both an impressive discography and live reputation. Their latest album is a sonic vindication of over a quarter of a century's worth of great electronic music with a stunning live album captured at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany in October 2015. Together with a 65 piece orchestra as part of the Gothic Meets Classic festival, the band saw their classic tracks given new arrangements by classical producer and pianist Conrad Oleak with stunning results.

The album includes five songs from the live set; 'Just Leave Us Alone', 'Only Better', 'Save Everyone', 'You Couldn't See This Coming', and 'Taken For Granted' given a symphonic makeover that is both cinematic and melancholic, capturing the essence of the originals and elevating to new levels. What is most notable other than the strength of the original compositions and how they hold up to the new arrangements is the majestic vocal performance turned in by Mark Hockings who once again shows of the full range of his talent.

The album also includes three additional songs recorded in the studio; ’There Must Be A Way’, ‘Can You Mend Hearts’, 'Before The World Ends’, which utilise a smaller ensemble with piano. While a little more intimate and stripped-back in their construction from the live recordings they nevertheless retain the cinematic quality and heightened melancholy of the live set.

The production is crisp and beautiful. The live recording is incredibly high quality with the acoustic sound of the room and the crowd noise being the reminder it is a live performance. But this isn't lost when the album transitions into the new tracks, save for the lack of crowd noise at the end of the songs you'd be forgiven for thinking it was recorded as part of the original performance.

This is a stunning example of electronic/rock music being lovingly transposed into the classical genre. The Gothic Meets Classic festival has already yielded some unexpected albums. But Mesh's 'Live At Neues Gewandhaus Leipzig' feels like one of the first to fully reach it's full potential. While this might not have the greatest appeal beyond the band's most hardcore fans, it is nevertheless a stunning album in its own right.  

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