Album review
 
Inpress Magazine (AUS) , 22 May 2002
 
Today Wonder (remastered and expanded) [album info]
Hot 1032-R CD
 

Fundamentally, popular music can be split into two types: that which is listened to in a crowd and that which is best enjoyed alone.

In the same way that, say, trance is mind-numbingly dull outside of its heady, sweaty night time club environment, there's little point in allowing Ed Kuepper's music to make its way beyond a set of good quality headphones.

In fact, this newly remastered and expanded edition of Today Wonder, one of Kuepper's most-loved solo albums, reveals an extra layer of warmth and clarity that alone makes its re-release welcome. The title track, in particular, features newfound depth and a cleaner-sounding mix. Eternally Yours, a favourite first time around in 1990, still stands up twelve years later and is testimony to the timeless nature of Kuepper's best songwriting.

Often stark and terrifying, dark and raw, Today Wonder has grown old gracefully. It rumbles and bubbles with a tension that belies its acoustic profile.

The extraordinary contribution of drummer and percussionist, Mark Dawson, must not pass without note. The additional live tracks demonstrate what an able performer Dawson is, but it is his imaginative use of percussive elements on the studio versions of these songs that adds so much texture to Kuepper's vision. Dawson shares the same ability as The Church's Time Powels to create a rich and interesting percussive backdrop that is as far away from the straightforward hats/snare/kick ensemble as you're likely to get. Like Powels, he is able to realize the full potential of the drum kit as a musical instrument and not just a mere timekeeper. It is clear that without his contribution these songs would not have been done justice.

One questions the value of the additional live recordings given that the original versions were recorded live to two track over the course of a couple of days. Certainly, Everything I've Got Belongs To You in its live incarnation seems to posses an extra level of pathos, but only trainspotters and completists will be interested in the remaining live versions. However, the new liner notes, written by Ed himself, make for interesting reading and help explain the circumstances surrounding the original recordings.

Commendably, Hot Records has seen fit to RRP this new edition of Today Wonder at AUS $20, ensuring that fans who already own the original won't be too pissed off with having to shell out for it again. For first timers looking for a way into Ed Kuepper, it's a pretty simple equation really. Acquire.

 
 

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