For many committed music enthusiasts the name Maida Vale is synonymous with John Peel, Andy Kershaw, Janice Long, Zane Lowe and Friday Rock Show sessions and any other number of exclusive sessions recorded for Radio 1 shows. Studio MV1, one of seven spaces within the complex, is one of the largest recording studios currently operational in the UK. It has been used as a venue for recording numerous classical and popular music concerts and dramas, and from 1958 to 1998 it was the home of the legendary BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
In July 2012 Baroness entered the intimate studio 4 to record four tracks from their latest release “Yellow and Green”, and these interpretations are being made available as a limited 12” vinyl and digital release. Baroness has never been a band to retread old ground when it comes to releasing recorded material. It could be said that they have now replaced their hostile, sludgy sound with one of introspection.
Whatever the perspective, the session here opens with ‘Take My Bones Away’ which, to anyone familiar with the “Yellow and Green” version, is a gloriously vigorous riff and hook laden bombardment of the senses. No less riff and hook loaded is ‘March to the Sea’ whose majestic vocal and lead lines are subtly suggestive of the song title itself. More or less psychedelic in nature, ‘The Line Between’ carries the momentum instigated by the two previous tracks into a buoyant blend of thunderous percussion, high-spirited riffs, and grandiose vocals with elements that would not sound out of place on the live Pink Floyd “Ummagumma” material. ‘Cocainium’ builds elegantly into its final riff formation, and although no less prevailing overall, takes time to build into a closing upsurge.
It may not be immediately apparent who this particular release is aimed at, whether it is a historical article or collectors item for the ardent fan or an appetizer for the casual listener. It may also be looked upon as a way of hearing what the band are creating live, all be it in a studio setting. Either way, it is a monumental EP release, documenting contemporary Baroness, and featuring typically striking cover artwork from John Baizley. At the same time it allows the listener an introduction to this significant complex of recording studios, and hopefully will encourage further exploration into its rich cultural history.