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Twelfth Night - Skan Demo/First Tape Album CD (album) cover

SKAN DEMO/FIRST TAPE ALBUM

Twelfth Night

 

Neo-Prog

4.00 | 6 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars If ever there was an underground progressive rock band who should have really made the big time then surely it must be Twelfth Night. Through many different factors, not all of them of their own making, they released just four full-length studio albums during their career, along with a couple of live albums plus some long-deleted and not available cassettes. However, due to the increased interest in the prog scene in general, and TN in particular there have been quite a few compilations and live archive releases released under the watchful eye of Bran Devoil, and there has even been a reunions and some gigs! But, what I am playing now is another of the Archive releases, and one of incredible importance to fans as it contains the very first demo from the band, the legendary 'SKAN' recordings when the band were just a trio, plus two songs from, the 'First Tape' album which was released later the same year (1979) when Rick had joined on keyboards.

Listening to these songs makes one realize just what incredible musicians these guys were, and also what a huge influence they must have been on Ozric Tentacles as "Fur Helene II" could easily have come from those guys. The songs themselves, albeit recorded in a studio, were actually 'live' with little in the way of overdubs and were normally first or second take. Andy is an incredible guitarist, while Clive was never content just to provide solid backing and also wanted to be in on the melody which left Brian at the back trying to hold everything together and ensuring that they all kept on track. The sound is really good, especially considering this was an unsigned band recording some 35 years ago, and certainly doesn't sound dated. But, this is an album that while not exactly the one I would recommend as an introduction to the band (their best studio album is 'Fact and Fiction', live is 'Live and Let Live') it is something that even those who don't know the band will enjoy as the swirling complex musical motifs move in the air to create something that is incredibly beguiling, compelling and entrancing.

But, if you are a fan of the band then you will recognise sections of songs that later on became parts of others, and having two versions of "Sequences" is always a good thing. I have to confess that each time I hear the early instrumental versions I still 'hear' Geoff singing over the top. To take such a monumental instrumental number (one version here is nearly eighteen minutes long) and add lyrics to it in a way that makes it seem that it was always meant to be hard that way is an incredible achievement.

I have been a fan of the band for years, but had not heard these versions until now and it is wonderful to have them widely available once again. www.twelfthnight.info

kev rowland | 4/5 |

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