To say I was surprised when this arrived recently was something of an understatement. Although Mick and I have been in contact quite a bit over recent years as he delves back into the Music & Elsewhere back catalogue and his own MMATT, all that has been digital. But here we have a physical CD, with an incredibly informative booklet detailing the recording process for the original ‘Creavolution’, which was released on CD in 1996. Apparently the original sessions were recorded down to three TDK DAT tapes which were discovered to be still playable in late 2017, so they were transferred to PreSonus Studio One V3 professional software. They were then remastered at the same studios where the album was recorded, Brain Dead Studios, by the same producer, Marc Bell.
I defy anyone to listen to this a couple of times and then not find themselves going around the house singing the chorus to “The Starship Psychotron”, it is just bloody annoyingly catchy. The whole album has a warmth and big studio sound missing in many ways from the original, and all these years down the road it is wonderful to be listening to it again. It is nice to be able to listen to the music without the awareness of all the issues that went with the original release. There were many problems with the initial CD pressing, which was only resolved after Mick went to court, and it was only after this was resolved that they could get it re-pressed by another company and it was released some seven months after it should have been.
To Mick it is more than just a reissue. “For me, this is far more than just a remaster of a 22 year old album, this is catharsis. ‘Creavolution’ may well have been the most successful MMATT album and best-selling M&E release ever, but it was always something of a hollow victory for me, overshadowed as it was, at least in my mind, by the bitter legal battle with the original manufacturer, that both surrounded and tainted its release. When you’re involved in a civil case like that, at County Court level, it’s very hard to keep a sense of perspective, it can easily become very all-consuming, especially when there are no legal professionals to handle everything for you. It had a profoundly damaging effect on my personal life, the aftermath of which Sam and I only just came through in one piece; it was the beginning of seven long years on anti-depressants, which may well alleviate some of the worst symptoms of unending melancholy, but it also fucks with your motivation, drive and ability to concentrate. By the time I came off the damned things, Music & Elsewhere was on its last legs. It would also be 20 years before I recorded another note, and that was just two tracks for MMATT’s 30th anniversary in 2016. Even by that point, I’d already been talking about ‘one last MMATT album’ for at least three years. It just kept not happening. Somehow, I think I needed closure on this one first. 23 years after we finished recording the album, I can finally enjoy it for what it is; “The best damn space rock ‘n roll, dance party, sci fi concept album I’ve ever heard!!!” (Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations)”.Alternative, underground, catchy, poppy, sequencers, keyboards, drum machine (which sounds perfect here, in its proper environment), rock and roll, time travel, fun. Yes, FUN. I love playing this as it allows me to enjoy music without concentrating too hard. Visit Mick’s site at http://www.mickmagic.net/to get the free digital download, or buy the CD. It may not be what you normally listen to, but you will be grateful you did so. 8/10