What is ‘Retour’? It is a mainstream rock record from 1991 that was never released. In other words: an anachronism and a paradox. The 40-minute 2-sided rock LP is long gone. I don’t live in the past and could care less about what that means for pop music. But ‘Retour’ is a work conceived for that defunct format: it is made to be listened to from beginning to end, it has that ‘two-act’ format that served pop music so well for years: two sides with different feels that only make sense heard together, complete with side-openers and side-closers. Great art thrives on limitations – the novel and the 90 minute feature film are parallels.
In any case, ‘Retour’ has turned out exactly as I wanted. I think it’s a great album. More often than not, when asked why somebody made a record or started a band, they will reply ‘I did it to make the album I want to listen to but could never find.’ So that’s why I did it. I hadn’t heard these songs for twenty years or so, they might as well be the work of a stranger. So I can say, without being an obnoxious egoist – there are enough of those in this field already – that this record is a lost masterpiece from a great era of recorded music.
David Bowman NBH
Audio Restoration and Mastering by Mell Dettmer, Studio Soli, Seattle 2016.