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Rare Bird - As Your Mind Flies By CD (album) cover


Rare Bird


Crossover Prog

3.98 | 183 ratings

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mystic fred
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Mini-masterpiece!

Rare Bird's fab four Graham Field, Dave Kaffinetti, Steve Gould and Mark Ashton had created their own distinct sound using keyboards, bass and drums but without, unusually for the time, electric guitars. "As Your Mind Flies By" found them at the peak of their creative powers, especially on the mini-masterpiece "Flight", a four part Suite utilising their keyboard wizardry to the full. This Suite covering the whole of side 2 is a true Prog classic, unfortunately after this album the band underwent personnel changes and a change in musical direction also saw they were never to recover their previous creative form in Prog music.

The first track on side one of the LP "What You Want to Know" is a rather poppy song and was projected as a 45rpm single by Charisma ("Hammerhead" was on the 'B' side of the single), a short organ sequence introduces this piece, the song is followed by the sound of the Harpsichord on "Down on the Floor" , the song is short but develops into a rather grand Baroque-style piece. The next song "Hammerhead" is a battle hymn dominated by a heavy rock style riff alternating with the chorus , building into a crescendo and tailing off to the sound of a pensive solo organ. "I'm Thinking" begins like an overture to a mini-opera, a optimistic song about the good times to come after a broken relationship - "wow".

The whole side 2 of the album is taken up with the multi-influenced mini-masterpiece "Flight", the band's crowning glory, a four part Suite; Part 1 "As Your Mind Flies By", Part 2 "Vacuum", Part 3 "New Yorker" and Part 4 "Central Park". The first part takes your mind on a trip across the skies, a dramatic galloping introduction interspersed with classical keyboard phrases acting as an overture to the whole piece, "flowing rivers, craggy mountain sides" "now's the time to free your mind", complete with a choir of backing vocals - an epic journey indeed. The next stage, Part 2 of the journey finds us in a dream-like "Vacuum" - an extremely atmospheric piece using technical and stereo recording techniques to the full, with swirling keyboard effects circling across the speakers - play loud! A complete change in mood finds us in New York for "New Yorker", a staccato keyboard and American west-side vocal builds into a grand Bernstein/Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - style piece segueing into Part 4 when we are in "Central Park" - with "an evil little man with a gun in his hand", "an hour after dark" - he's the "head park shark"...!

A truly fabulous album somewhat underrated in its day but very influential in Prog, the sumptuous keyboard effects, the New York Bernstein-influenced theme predating a more well known work by four years. An essential masterpiece of Progressive music!

mystic fred | 5/5 |


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