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Simon Bonney has announced the release of Past, Present, Future, a new compilation album out May 3 on Mute. Past, Present, Future includes songs from his last two albums Forever (1992) and Everyman (1994) as well as six previously unreleased tracks, including his cover of Scott Walker’s “Duchess”.
Speaking to Billboard, he explains “It’s a very dynamic period in the world; a lot of people are feeling that they’re struggling to see how the future will unfold for them and whether or not they’ll have a place in the future. And that’s what a lot of these songs are about.” At the age of 16, Simon Bonney formed Crime and the City Solution in an abandoned building in Sydney, Australia. The band embodied the post punk ethos of nihilism and alienation. In 1984 after a move to London, Simon formed a new incarnation of the band with Bad Seed Mick Harvey, Rowland S Howard (The Birthday Party), Harry Howard (These Immortal Souls) and Epic Soundtracks (Swell Maps). After four beautifully chaotic records, the band broke up, and Simon and Mick relocated to West Berlin. Here, Simon would form the longest lasting line-up, the Berlin Crime and the City Solution.
In 1992, with Crime and the City Solution on hiatus, Simon moved to the United States on an impulse, stayed for a decade and released two records; the much loved and very personal Forever and the socio-political Everyman, a record that has grown in relevance as rapid change and social dislocation has increased. His path led him into outback Australia, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh – a life rich in extremes of color and conflict, of trauma, of humanity and inhumanity, of power and powerlessness. It was not always easy to witness and eventually, he had seen too much and it was time to stop. It was time to re-embrace something simple and personal – his music.
He pulled tapes from shoeboxes and listened to the old albums as well as tracks recorded for an unreleased album, Eyes of Blue, recorded in Detroit with a band featuring Matt Smith (Outrageous Cherry, the Volbeats), Troy Gregory (the Dirtbombs, Electric Six, Killing Joke) and a guest appearance by Chuck Prophet. Bonney found that, far from sounding nostalgic, they sounded fresh and every bit as relevant – if not more relevant – than when he had recorded them.