Hugo Race & The True Spirit

Taoist Priests

Release Date: 02/01/2006 · Format: CD · Catalog-No: GR 644

In the last 3 years Hugo Race has released a stream of albums: the urban dreamscapes of the True Spirit’s "Goldstreet Sessions": the elegant trip-pop of Sepiatone's "Dark Summer": the ambient soundtrack-style noise psychedelia of Transfargo’s "Mil Transit": the Italian montage of "Merola Matrix": the raw cosmic blues of the Spirit’s "Ambuscado": and the live garage rock of the Spirit’s "Live in Monaco".

Hugo explains in an interview during the Australian Ambuscado Tour, Brisbane, December 2005:

“For me, those six albums have been a journey of exploration through my creative psyche where I've let tangents unfold and the music that’s in me emerge without judgement or self-consciousness. In a way, all this has been leading up to the new studio album from myself and the True Spirit, “TAOIST PRIEST”. It’s pretty much a songwriting album with the emphasis on the lyrics and voices, but we’ve combined this classical approach with the kind of soundtrack-style abstraction we focussed on for the “Ambuscado” record. In a way, all the sounds and moods of the previous six albums have been fused into one total vision that is a kind of multi-layered self-portrait. I had to deconstruct everything to find out what I'm about and how far this band can go with it. Here I'm dealing with my own demons and also with the demons unleashed in our epoch. The album has a beautiful lush sound that aims to seduce, which is good because as a concept, “Taoist Priests” is all about what it means living and loving in a world poised on the edge of self-destruction, and this political background to it is even more present than on “Goldstreet Sessions”.

Its difficult to write anything today without including the devastating changes this planet is going through because everything we know and do is conditioned by a global awareness. So Taoist Priests explores this concept without mincing words because we all have to stare down the enemy within. And its about rock music, feeling how good that stuff is when you really mean what you play on a gut level. Theres too many records today with no soul and just a lot of heavy marketing. What I wanted to do with Taoist Priests was write an album that’s totally about content, about having something to say then setting it in a context of music that not only entertains but challenges and disturbs, and does all that with a lot of love. Because none of us have infinite time left, and to me the music is tremendously important as communication and as a bond between us. We called this project the True Spirit because I believe in the spiritual power of music as a way to uplift and empower, not only as a form of light entertainment. We’ll be touring in Europe on and off from March until June with the core True Spirit line-up of Chris Hughes, Michelangelo Russo, Marta Collica and Giovani Ferrario. Looking forward to it.“

A prolific and visionary artist, originally from Melbourne, singer/guitarist, producer, performer and songwriter Hugo Race was introduced to the international stage as a teenage founding member and powerful transient element of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds (1983) - (he appears on six cds of the Seed’s catalogue ). He left that band to found the Wreckery (1985), who went on to become one of Australia’s seminal garage-blues cult bands of the ‘80s, releasing with the White, Rampant and Citadel labels.

In 1988 Normal Records, Germany, released the final Wreckery album, Laying Down Law. In early 1989 Hugo moved base to Berlin and Normal released his debut solo album, Rue Morgue Blues. For the following ten years Hugo released a series of albums with his musical collective True Spirit, a period recounted in the Long Time Ago Double-CD retrospective, released in 2001 by Glitterhouse Records, Germany, with whom Race has been working since 1995.

Both alone with a guitar or with his True Spirit, Hugo has toured Europe repeatedly, performing on a vast trajectory from the UK to Greece and was literally one of the first western “underground” acts performing inside the ex- Eastern Bloc European territories after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He has followed a personal musical vision in a series of mutating line-ups that have fused the boundaries between the "primal" (roots) blues and raw electronica - described by London Sounds as "night music of the soul", and by Melody Maker as "industrial-trance-blues".

However, critics and fans of Hugo and his True Spirit have always been forced to go beyond these limited definitions to describe the nature of his music: rock, psychedelia, industrial, experimental or simply eclectic. In reality, each new chapter in the story has only added to the confusion regarding how to catalogue Hugo and True Spirit, the result being that Hugo is perceived as a cult figure, unpredictable, brilliant and inspired – with a music that is real, honest and perfectly realised.

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1. Taoist Priest
2. Ready To Go
3. I Know You
4. On The Bright Side
5. Into The Void
6. Beyond Babylon
7. Unknown 04
8. Cold Mother
9. Don't Mess Around
10. Walker
11. Daytura
12. Pray On

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