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The Enid - Six Pieces CD (album) cover

SIX PIECES

The Enid

 

Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 72 ratings

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progpositivity
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Although, ostensibly, each of the six band members were provided the opportunity to offer up a composition, Robert Godfrey's orchestration and exposition are present on each of the album's six songs.

Each track of this album is worthy of careful consideration and contemplation. I'll go in depth to describe track one, in the hope that you will be encouraged to "chart your own course" of exploration through the remaining 5 tracks of this masterpiece!

Punch and Judy Man:

The first song of the album begins with a captivatingly energetic combination of percussive keyboards sounds (flute and some type of xylophone. glockenspiel or vibraphone sound). A little over 20 seconds into this introduction section, we are greeted by powerful drum and electric guitar punctuations. At around the 40 second mark, we come across our first fully stated theme. Let's call it the "PUNCH" theme. Counting out musical sections is tricky, but I hear this as alternating from a 9/8 measure to a 13/8 measure.

Proceedings soon escalate into a swirling frenetic section with the first 8 notes of the PUNCH theme cascading over the top of all the craziness. The first few notes of the Punch theme recur above the action before leaving for other musical territory. This is the kind of counterpoint I've come to expect from The Enid. Simply superb!

Things continue in a nicely developmental manner until, at around the 1:18 mark, the originally stated PUNCH theme returns verbatim in all of its alternating 9/8 & 13/8 glory.

The JUDY theme begins at around 1:45. Our introduction to JUDY is quiet and gradual, through whisperingly quiet piano and keyboard (flute). The music builds in both volume and intensity as the JUDY theme is presented in magnificently beautiful and rich tones.

Although the JUDY theme clearly includes new melodic elements, a key passage of it is comprised of a sequence of tones lifted sequentially from the PUNCH theme. At this point, the astute listener realizes that, despite all their emotionally stylistic differences, PUNCH and JUDY share musical content. This is particularly appropriate, for had this piece of music been intended to simply contrast the dispositions of two diametrically opposed individuals, it would have most certainly been named "Punch and Judy". Instead, its name is "Punch and Judy Man" because it describes the emotional ups and downs of a singular person, a "Punch and Judy" man.

JUDY's developmental section culminates in a passage of elegant quietude at around the 3:15 mark, which (we should know by now) effectively sets the stage for a grand reentry of loud drums and guitar at around 3:35. Everything grows faster, louder, more frenetic until, at around the 5 minute mark of the song, the PUNCH theme returns, enigmatically with 10/8 (instead of 9/8) and 14/8 (instead of 13/8) sections. The next time through, however, it reverts back to its 9/8 & 13/8 incarnation.

More frenetic fun ensues to the point of creating an almost absurdly carnivalesque, keystone cops atmosphere.

Yet another sudden shift at around 5:45 marks the beginning of a slow and mightily majestic passage not unlike the ending sequence of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Remarkable!

Close to the 7 minute mark? You guessed it! One final shift back to frenetic energy. The song will end as it began. With a PUNCH!

From the beautifully orchestrated explorations of colors and melodies surrounding the popular melody of Scarborough Fayre (Track 2 "Once she was?") to the soaring electric guitar of "Sanctus" and the emotional grand finale of "The Dreamer", this album is remarkable. If the fifth track, "Hall of Mirrors", seems to enigmatically wander a bit, perhaps it is only because it is successful in evoking the very feelings it seeks to musically convey. The Enid, once again remind us that they are the singular standard by which all orchestral symphonic progressive rock is to be measured. As always, electronic keyboards rule the day. But guitar, bass guitar and drums are still very important elements of the band's unique "sound".

progpositivity | 5/5 |

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