Friday, August 22, 2014

Genesis R'Kive: Been There, Heard That

The big news yesterday on the intertubes was an announcement on the Genesis Facebook page asking us to: "stay tuned for some exciting Genesis news here tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s our new logo."

OK, so the new "logo", which is really a new record cover, is visually interesting in that the letters of the band's name are used to make a face appear in the shadows. Speculation abounded on what this great news would be: a new studio record? (could be), a new tour? (less likely), a series of shows with the classic line-up? (dream on!).

This morning when the news finally came to light, that the "exciting news" was the release of a 3-CD compilation titled R-Kive, the disappointment was palpable, and so was the sarcasm. What are we to make of this?

First off, the good news:
Spanning an incredible 42 years, R-Kive is a new 3-CD, 37-track set that documents the band’s history in the most comprehensive way yet. Compiled by the band themselves via a process of collaboration and elimination, R-Kive takes an in-depth, chronological journey through the catalogue and - for the first time ever for a Genesis collection - includes three personally chosen selections from the solo careers of Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, and Mike Rutherford / Mike + The Mechanics.

So, the songs were chosen by the band members themselves, which explains some interesting choices. Each member chose three songs from their solo career to add to this compilation. Peter Gabriel selected Solsbury Hill, Biko,... and Signal to Noise from Up, but not Sledgehammer. Phil Collins, who's had a lot of singles,  chose the obligatory In the Air Tonight, Easy Lover, and... Wake-Up Call from Testify, not his most successful album. As for Mike Rutherford, he eschewed his own solo work, especially the excellent Smallcreep's Day for songs from Mike + The Mechanics: Silent Running, The Living Years, and Over My Shoulder. Do you see a pattern?

Next up Tony Banks chose For a While from A Curious Feeling, Red Day on Blue Street from Still and Siren from Six. And last but not least, Steve Hackett, who is the only member who is still going strong both releasing new music and touring, chose A Tower Struck Down, for Voyage of the Acolyte, Every Day from Spectral Mornings, and Nomads from Out of the Tunnel's Mouth.

What these choices all have in common is that they all follow the same pattern: 1st song from 1st album, 2nd song from middle period or second hit, and 3rd song from last studio album of original material to come out.

In a sense it is their first career-spanning compilation ever, and is a perfect complement to the anticipated TV documentary that will be seen early next year.


But it is completely useless to most fans, who already have all the albums including the other compilations (the die-hard fans), or have the important albums (most fans). The big let-down is that no new material (live or otherwise) is included. I know a lot of people, myself included, who would have bought it just to get Compression, the B-Side to Mike Rutherford's Working In Line single, on CD.

At least the press release had this good news:
The release of R-Kive will be followed by the accompanying reunion documentary Genesis: Together and Apart which will be broadcast by the BBC in early October. An accompanying DVD, Sum of the Parts will also be issued by Eagle Rock on November 17th (November 18th in North America).

Now THAT's the news I wanted to hear. But we'll have to wait for more about the Sum of the Parts DVD.

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