Live at Leeds
by Gavin Stok May 20 1996
Party on! The sound of Moodswings you hear on this live album recorded at Leeds on November 11, 1993 sounds so different from their studio album Moodfood that you'd think it was another artist if it wasn't for them using some of their recognisable samples. Gone are the quiet piano pieces (Hairy Piano) and interludes, and in are loud audiences, ear-penetraring beats and percussion, whistles, and everything else inbetween! Live at Leeds shows another side of Moodswings - a side which knows how to get an audience to get into party mode, and it comes down to superb drummers and the use of extra instrumentation such as whistles which does it. The bass lines and rhythms are deep and contagious, interweaving the original sounds from Moodfood, while at the same time having an identity of their own.
The most impressive thing about this being a live album is that the music is so tight - either the band practised for this concert at great lengths, or the artists just all followed the rhythm and direction of the music to perfection. Beats and rhythms change regularly, extra intrumentation comes and goes at just the right time, and one track welds into the other as if a story is unfolding. Only two of the six tracks (Crunch and Live Longer!) stand out as being taken from Moodfood, while some of the others borrow some samples or small bites of the music. The first track, Tabla Motown, is primarily a percussion track, while Back to Basics is fast and heavy revolving around the one sample ("Gotta dance"). Perhaps their most popular track, Spiritual High, features complete with a longer version of Martin Luther King's famous speech, and the audience reaction when it's finished sums up the energy the concert had.
Live at Leeds is one hell of an album - full of energy and creativity and mixed to get that feeling across! If nothing else this album proves that Moodswings know music and know how to perform live. While it may not please fans of Moodfood due to being faster and 'heavier' in nature, it will please anyone into dance, rave, or percussive music.
Despite the liner notes of the CD saying "The 'finale' features music from the forthcoming Moodsings orchestral album to be released Winter '94", it appears that this was Moodswings' last release. I, for one, would have enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to listen to further Moodswings releases.