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Gryphon - Midnight Mushrumps CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.69 | 204 ratings

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4 stars A highly respected band among prog rock fans,GRYPHON were the brainchild of multi- instrumentalists Richard Harvey and Brian Gulland,who shared the same passion for medieval,folk and Renaissance-period music.Initially starting as a trio with the addition of Harvey's friend Graeme Taylor on guitars,the band explored the sound of ancient music with the use of pre-20th century instruments.In 1972 GRYPHON became a quartet with David Oberle on drums/percussion and signed with Transatlantic Records,not coincidentally I would say,as this was the label promoting Pentangle.1973 sees the release of their self-titled debut,a pure Folk album with non-rock elements.However a year later the band should discover new sounds with ''Midnight Mushrumps'',featuring new member Philip Nestor on bass.

From the opening cut,the grand 19-min. sidelong eponymous epic,you can take GRYPHON nothing less than seriously.Though the track is fully folk-oriented,the musicianship is trully demanding and intricate.The acoustic side of GRYPHON is now mixed with the organs,pianos and harpsicord of Harvey and the light bass lines of Nestor,offering beautifully arranged acoustic Folk Rock music deep into medieval tunes with Baroque leanings,heavily based on ancient flutes,basoons,crumhorns and strong percussion,where something happens all the time.This is one of the best Folk suites I have ever heard,which doesn't need any rock instrument to be categorized as progressive.

''The Ploughboy's Dream'' reminds me heavily of JETHRO TULL,a song-based track with nice vocal lines and some pleasant tunes.On ''The Last Flash of Gaberdine Tailor'' the instrumental face of GRYPHON returns and continues from where the suite stopped.Highly challenging Folk music with lots of acoutic material,wind instrumentation and really nice interplays.''Gulland Rock'' is obviously a Brian Gulland-centered piece,where the musician delivers some dark organ parts before the calm acoustic/flute-driven end.Though ''Dubbel Dutch'' has nothing new to offer,it keeps the high quality of the whole album,being in the same vein of the previous track.Heavy timpani and laughing will open for ''Ethelion'',before bassons and flutes take over,while a dreamy melody under flutes,percussion,keys and bass will carry the listener until the beautiful end of this journey.

It's quite scarce that an almost pure Folk Rock album thrills me that much.But I can't help returning to this album from time to time.''Midnight mushrumps'' is perfectly balanced between crystalline Medieval music and adventuruous folk interplays with a catchy edge and,thus, my rating will stick on 4 solid stars.A great Folk/Medieval-based experience for all fans of serious music.

apps79 | 4/5 |


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