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Gilgamesh - Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.37 | 106 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars A Chomp at Canterbury

Historians speculate that Gilgamesh may have been a Sumerian king who reigned circa 2700 BC and entered the realm of legend by virtue of erecting a huge city wall to protect his subjects from external threats. I like to think that the citizens of Nippur would have been eternally grateful to their prescient monarch for being fortified against invading armies, pestilence, Jehovah's Witnesses, insurance salesmen and wandering gangs of Canterbury minstrels with long hair, synthesizers, a fondness for pipe tobacco and interminable jazzy noodling.

(Bring out yer deaf)

Were Progressive Rock to be brought to account for some of the earshot wounds inflicted on a listening public, the cells would surely be bulging under the intake of those criminals from the soft white underbelly of Fusion. For every upstanding and law abiding Gong, National Health, Billy Cobham, Mahavishnu, Fermata and Colosseum there are legions of their sinister darker brethren still at large and wanted for a litany of war crimes against aesthetic sensibility e.g. Chick Corea, Return to Forever, Pat Metheney, the Crusaders, Al Di Meola, Santana and Herbie Hancock (the latter's 80's rap sheet would even bring a blush to Snoop's canine cheeks)

It goes without saying that you cannot bluff your way through a genre as demanding as the fusion critter as the only entry qualifications I can detect are a shed-load of chops and a thimble full of memorable hooks. Which brings us to the 2nd album by Gilgamesh from 1978 (or if you prefer m'lud, Exhibit A) The nod to the delightful Laurel and Hardy as evidenced by the title is particularly ironic, as there is scarcely a prat-fall, chuckle or fine tune to be had throughout the entire po-faced and grievously earnest 39 minutes. I have to say this must be some of the blandest and most anodyne music I have heard in a long, long while and makes the likes of Kenso and Passport seem positively visceral and borderline industrial in comparison. It's entirely one paced and seamlessly uniform from start to finish e.g. practically every track doggedly conforms to the same design: a couple of minutes of tastefully understated noodling at circa 85 bpm followed by a unison passage disguised as a completely tangential theme (of sorts) before the lads continue on their unwavering and unhurried way. The playing is faultless but why does tasteful often result in the paradox of no discernible flavour? Give me tasteless any day of the week, I might even remember that, as I cannot for the life of me recall a single melodic fragment from this entire piece of 'off-white' wallpaper muzak.

Some of the textures are attractive with Alan Gowen's airy Fender Rhodes, Hugh Hopper's sumptuous bass and a beautifully recorded kit sound from Trevor Tomkins, but Phil Lee's faux jazz guitar tone is bereft of even a smidgen of personality or warmth. Similarly, the synth sounds employed by Gowen are strictly Camembert Electric.

By way of mitigation, it is probably Lee who provides the best track on the album, in the guise of his delicate solo acoustic guitar vehicle Waiting. Underwater Song does feature a dazzlingly inventive drum intro from Tomkins but his cohorts reward this fleeting gap in the clouds with yet another gentle rinsing of Canterbury drizzle. Foel'd Again is redolent of some of the eastern european folk modes employed in the music of Bartok and Janacek but at under two minutes it never gets the chance to be anything other than merely tantalising.

Although I love Hatfield and the North, early Soft(er) Machine, Khan and Kevin Ayers, I really couldn't recommend Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into to anyone apart from a far right of centre, hard-line, hard-nosed Fusion/Canterbury completist. (or an insomniac)

ExittheLemming | 2/5 |


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