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Featuring an elite 17 piece string section recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Ingenious Devices contains new, remixed versions of a trilogy of revered Big Big Train epic tracks, East Coast Racer, Brooklands and Voyager.
Lending the project a powerful sense of conceptual continuity, all the pieces revolve around how mankind has used its ingenuity to extend its reach by the development and deployment of technology.
Apart from the late David Longdon’s lead vocals - compiled from the original sessions - East Coast Racer is a completely new studio version recorded by the 2019 line-up of the band (and including a stunning climactic guitar solo by Dave Gregory). Brooklands features newly recorded drums, bass and bass pedals, while Voyager includes additional guitar and violin.
The album also includes a 2022 live version of Atlantic Cable (introducing Alberto Bravin on vocals) and a linking orchestral piece.
Gregory Spawton explains: “I was always happy with the original recorded version of East Coast Racer, but adding the strings at Abbey Road gave the song a further lift and the new recording also features Dave Gregory’s guitar solo on the closing section, a solo which has only previously featured on live performances of the song. I am pleased we now have the definitive studio version on Ingenious Devices. The timing of this release also deliberately ties in with the 85th anniversary of the Mallard’s speed record which inspired the lyric.
“By contrast, I was never entirely satisfied with Brooklands and felt it got a bit overlooked on the Folklore album,” Spawton continues. “That is perhaps why we’ve not played the song live yet. The Abbey Road strings have significantly enhanced Brooklands and I’m delighted with the outcome. The changes to Voyager are more subtle but still elevate the song beyond the version on our Grand Tour album.”
Additionally Ingenious Devices includes a previously unreleased orchestral piece called The Book of Ingenious Devices, which links East Coast Racer and Brooklands, as well as a live version of Atlantic Cable, which was recorded on the band’s tour in September 2022.
Alberto Bravin comments: “Atlantic Cable was recorded at our second show of the tour last year. It’s not an easy song to play at all and we were both amazed and relieved that we pulled it off so well. I experienced a real baptism of fire playing that show in front of over 1,000 passionate BBT fans, but their response to the song and the rest of our live set that night was truly motivating.”
Nick D’Virgilio says: “Ingenious Devices is a great way of uniting four of Big Big Train’s epic songs about technology. The album also celebrates the wonderful vocals of our late, great friend David Longdon on East Coast Racer, Brooklands and Voyager and looks forward to the future with Alberto putting in such a great performance on Atlantic Cable.”
1. East Coast Racer
2. The Book of Ingenious Devices
5. Atlantic Cable (recorded live in September 2022)