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Rick Wakeman - No Earthly Connection CD (album) cover

NO EARTHLY CONNECTION

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 159 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A TRUE MASTERPIECE CLASSIC PROG ALBUM!

Taste of fruitful inhibitions of a human. Incapable of future seeing. Beyond his thoughts of music. ["The Warning"]

I was actually in the middle of reviewing some prog CDs from strange bands - that I have never heard before - when a colleague reviewer Greenback posted a review mentioning that this album is VERY underrated. Folks, I fully agree with his opinion. In fact, this is a true masterpiece progressive efforts by Wakeman not only in style but also in his approach to conceptualize this flawless and wonderfully crafted album. By the time I read Greenback's review, I just wanted to halt my review of those strange bands and strengthen his opinion thru my write-up on this No Earthly album, but I decided to defer any further and have some more research and some more spins. I first heard this album since 1976 through my brother Henky with a low quality record cassette transferred directly from an LP. It blew my mind at first listen. It has the same effect on me now as it did then. Even, last night when I drove alone in my car I put the CD of this album with a VERY loud volume while emulating Ashley Holt singing The Prisoner "You shall hang, said the judge ..!!" oh man ..what an excitement!

OK now, let's have a look the album in great details so that I can formulate compelling reasons on why I consider this as a true masterpiece classic prog album. I would start here by quoting Rick Wakeman's perspective so that all of us understand the concepts behind the album.

Rick's Perspective: "I truly believe there is life apart from that on earth and also that there are many other unknown dimensions as well and that's what this album was all about. Unfortunately the press thought I'd gone off my rocker and slagged it off. A&M records held emergency meetings because of poor sales - 4,000,000 plus as it happens!! Wakey's Verdict - Full of recording techniques and production that were way ahead of its time and the album has created more controversy than any other album I have made . It's either loved or hated - Little Known Trivia The sound of the waterfall, (and I'm not telling you where it is on the album), was created by making the band and crew drink copious amounts of wine all day without being allowed to go to the bathroom and then were all marched down to the echo chamber which was actually a cellar in the old French Chateau and where they stood on a long bench and all weed simultaneously into an old metal bath tub. It was recorded with 2 microphones in stereo. For years people have believed it was a sample from a famous waterfall." [source: http://www.rwcc.com]

Music Reincarnate: Part I The Warning (8:19)

This album opener comprises two sections: the first one with five minutes plus duration and the remaining one is less than 3 minutes. As an album opener, the first section opens with a long sustain, multi layer, keyboard sound in a single note followed with a quiet passage that is followed with an excellent choir "Taste of fruitful inhibitions of a human. Incapable of future seeing. Beyond his thoughts of music." This opening part has created a very colossal nuance that brings the music into an uplifting mood with the entrance of drum work of Fernandez followed with orchestra music. Keyboard inserts its sound in between the orchestra and brings the next lyrical part that starts with "Birth of music, birth of child is one. Language of the world, the missing sense.". The song is very rich in textures and melodies especially on the combination of brass / woodwind, keyboards, mellotron and catchy piano. One example of catchy piano is when the lyrical part says "Wait, wait, look at the sun, Music and blinding light, Sound strength destroying sight.". Wonderful compositions! The second section of this track is basically a more upbeat, even with a funky style, that starts with a break followed with a drum roll to start the music and second verse lyrical verse: "Warning man, time for collection ..". It's totally different style of music compared to first section but these two must be enjoyed as one track - so nice.

Music Reincarnate: Part II The Maker (3:34)

It's a very melodic song that begins with guitar fills backed with keyboard that flows into a spacey nuance. The classical piano solo follows with a very melodic notes to bring in Ashley Holt's vocal to enter the music. Piano accompanies the singing with dynamic notes. The crowded voice of people's talks have made this song an interesting one to enjoy. This song is so peaceful especially if you listen to it in the night-time. It ends up with a boiling water sounds.

Music Reincarnate: Part III The Spaceman (4:03)

This song flows seamlessly from Part II with an ambient and simple acoustic guitar fills backed up excellently with single layer keyboard sound that brings the music with the entrance of drumming. The music is a combination of brass instruments, keyboard, bass and drums that abruptly turns into quiet passage to let vocal entering the music. It's a catchy melody. Some transitions contain stunning guitar rhythm followed with dynamic drumming and solid bass lines by Roger Newell. The interlude part with multi layers keyboard work is truly stunning - even though it's short. I like the verse with this lyrical part: "Take us to your leader, To the man who rules the mind." - oh man .. what a catchy segment! The song concludes with a very nice choirs without any music. Excellent compositions!

Music Reincarnate: Part IV The Realisation (4:03)

Through this song, Ashley Holt demonstrates his true capability as one of best prog lead singers whereby he sings low and high points excellently in operatic style. Yeah, it's a kind of rock opera tune I think. The music flows nicely with inventive and solid bass lines by Roger Newell that brings the music into brass instruments section in energetic style. "It's too late to find your music soul Aaaahh ..". Sometimes the vocal turns into choirs smoothly in the middle of the track backed with orchestration produced by brass instruments. Bass lines help the music flows nicely.

Music Reincarnate: Part V The Reaper (4:03)

This ending part of five-part epic concludes all the stories depicted nicely throughout previous tracks. It starts off with melodic guitar work with a spacey keyboard sound and its solo at the back. The guitar turns into a rhythm section while keyboard maintains its original sound until it lets the voice line enters nicely to the music - in ambient mood. What's so interesting is that this song contains musical loops of previous tracks backed up with an ambient combination of keyboard and guitar fills accentuated by solid bass lines. I think this is great part of this ending part. The keyboard solo at the end is really stunning!

The Prisoner (7:01)

Well, this is a song that is different from the other tracks. The composition is so powerful and dynamic. The rhythm is excellent, and the melody is really catchy - performed in an operatic style. It's my best favorite of Rick Wakeman's song. It starts nicely with a melodic keyboard sound and acoustic guitar fills followed with staccato and oh ..man . stunning keyboard solo that later brings the music with a powerful lyrical part:" The shadow of the noose grew long A sun dial of the time .." Oh my God . what a killing and catchy melody here! The music flows dynamically with inventive and solid bass lines, powerful vocal, simple acoustic guitar rhythm, weird but nice choirs, great clavinet sounds and great orchestration. Simply, I love the following section of the track:

One man's life has cost another. You shall not lie in sacred ground. The time has come to meet your Maker. Down on earth, they heard no sound.

..and the music that follows is wonderful: magnificent keyboard and organ sounds. "You shall hang", said the Maker, For your presence on our planes, Is no use for those who wish to rest in peace. Wow! What a great song!

The Lost Cycle (7:02)

It concludes the album with strong combination of keyboard and piano sounds that accompany melodic singing style. I don't need to explore further on this track as this one is at par excellent with the preceding tracks of this album.

Overall, like Rick has mentioned it at his perspective (above), it's a love or hate thing with respect to this album. For me personally, I definitely in the "love" bandwagon and this album has been and will be in my heart forever. Why? Because have no single reason at all to hate this album - it's completely SUPERB and AWESOME! Thanks Rick! For composing such a wonderfully crafted album like this one. Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Yours progressively,

GW

Your evil lives forever, "You shall hang", said the Maker You shall hang, You shall hang. You shall hang!

Gatot | 5/5 |

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