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Keith Emerson - Changing States CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson


Crossover Prog

3.30 | 26 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Curate's Egg Hatches

Emerson's exposure to the soundtrack industry after ELP's split in 1980 certainly had a discernible influence on his compositional style thereafter. Gone are the excessive musical gymnastics and ribbon controller torture of yore, and are supplanted by a burgeoning maturity and welcome economy of style.

In other words, he was learning that 'less' is sometimes 'more' and knew when to STOP playing or correctly identified the appropriate places to play something very simple.

There really isn't a weak track on this album but it fails to attract greater affection from this listener for the following reasons:

'Shelter from the Rain/Band Keeps Playing' - Are both excellent hard rock songs with some juicy hammond/synth work from Emerson but why on earth did he choose to record same with a room full of spandex clad 'turn it up to eleveners'? The singer Cirimelli belongs to the Glen Hughes school of posturing 'rawk' stallion holler and the bass and guitar could be lifted from any old Alice Cooper album. Shame, as the songwriting is top notch.

'Another Frontier' - Excellent fast moving and busy instrumental fugue with more than a nod in the direction of Bach. I actually prefer the slower bridge section to the end here than the version he arranged for ELP's Black Moon album (where it was called Changing States - just to confuse the hell out of everyone)

'Summertime' - Everyone and their dog has covered this, but NOT the way Emerson and co. do here. Barsimanto and Watts cook up an infectious stop/start beat over which Emo weaves the sort of piano magic we know that even Gershwin would have been proud. A fantastic one take performance (if the sleeve notes are to be believed) that renders, for me anyway, all other versions redundant.

'The Church' - A solo work worthy of ELP's calibre if ever there was one. Composed for the, frankly dull, horror flick directed by Dario Argenti. Emerson produces a Hammond performance here that most of us thought had been consigned irretrievably to the past. Aided and abetted in perfect empathy by great guitar, drums and bass from Peirce, Barsimanto and Watts respectively. Why couldn't these three have been utilized on 'Shelter from the Rain/Band keeps Playing'?

'Montagues and Capulets' - very similar to the adaptation of Prokofieff's piece that appeared on the ELP 'Black Moon album, although renamed Romeo and Juliet for the latter. Fantastic arrangement and this work was always ripe for the Emersonian treatment.

'Ballade/Interlude' - Solo piano pieces that appeared either on soundtrack albums or subsequent ELP/Emerson albums. The maestro shows us a rather neglected lyrical side to his playing for a change.

'Abaddon's Bolero' - the ELP classic gets the full orchestral treatment here and I have to say the results are a tad underwhelming. Whether this is apathy from the orchestra or a muddled arrangement I'm not sure, but the orgasmic climax we experienced on the Trilogy album version suffers from a case of coitus interruptus here.

This is a good album and an excellent testimonial to the late Kevin Gilbert who contributed bass, drums, tuba, guitar and helped in the production.

RIP Kevin.

ExittheLemming | 3/5 |


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