The Nice - Ars Longa Vita Brevis CD (album) cover


The Nice


Symphonic Prog

3.25 | 90 ratings

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3 stars Ars Longa Vita Brevis is the second full-length studio album by UK psychadelic/ progressive rock act The Nice. The Nice is often considered as one of the most important proto-prog acts of the sixties because of how they blended psychadelic rock with classical influenced piano, organ and harpsichord playing by Keith Emerson who would later become a member of prolific progressive rock act Emerson, Lake and Palmer. While the debut album by The Nice called The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack (1967) is truly a groundbreaking album the classical influences are much more pronounced on Ars Longa Vita Brevis and fans of Emerson, Lake and Palmer are adviced to take a listen to this album. Thereīs been a lineup change since the debut album as guitarist David O'List left the band during the recordings leaving The Nice as a three-piece without a guitarist. A real shame as David O'List brought much to their sound IMO.

The first three songs on the album are in psychadelic rock style ( with vocals) and they remind me a bit of the sound Pink Floyd had on their debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967). The songs are pretty good without reaching excellent IMO. The last half of the album is much more classical influenced ( with full orchestra parts) and progressive though. Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite is an 8:57 minute long interpretation of a part of the Karelia Suite by classical finnish composer Sibelius. The last song is an 18:20 minute long again classical influenced and mostly instrumental ( there are vocals) piece of music and should be considered the centerpiece of the album. Keith Emerson shows the full arsenal on this one. Pretty impressive for the time.

The production and the musicianship are excellent. While Keith Emerson clearly outshines both drummer Brian Davidson and bassist/ vocalist Lee Jackson their performances are very good too. The production is much better than on the weakly produced debut and it means that Ars Longa Vita Brevis welcomes you in and doesnīt push you away like the debutīs sound quality seems to do at times.

Ars Longa Vita Brevis is another rather groundbreaking album by The Nice but personally my enthusiam is a bit lukewarm about the compositions. The album is more interesting than itīs good IMO but I will give a 3 star rating.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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