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Nucleus - Ian Carr with Nucleus: Labyrinth CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.60 | 57 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I will admit I am a NUCLEUS fanboy but I don't think this album gets the respect it deserves."Labyrinth" was commissioned by the "Park Lane Group" with funding coming from the Arts Council. "Labyrinth" is a concept album inspired by the mythical Minotaur. Ian Carr went to great lengths to make this a success, even to the extent that certain instruments represented specific things in this concept. I must admit i'm not big into concept albums so I simply sit back and enjoy the music here which is fantastic to say the least. Lots of horns here (2 trumpets, 2 flugelhorns, 3 saxes, 2 clarinets) with electric piano, bass, synths, percussion and drums.Twelve musicians total including Trevor Tomkins on percussion and Roy Babbington on bass. The female vocalist (Norma Winstone) is terrific, especially the way she is mostly used throughout , that is using her voice as an instrument instead of singing.

"Orgins" opens with atmosphere as sounds come and go. Bass clarinet and vocal melodies come in. Blasts of horns after 2 minutes and vocal expressions. Drums dominate late. "Bull- Dance" opens with bass as percussion and drums join in. Horns are next. This is great ! They're grooving now. Bass clarinet before 3 minutes. A calm with trumpet 5 minutes in. The beat is back and it's building before 7 minutes with more grooving. "Ariadne" is almost spacey to open then piano leads for almost 3 minutes. It then turns jazzy with female vocals (the only time she really sings lyrics). I remember the first time I heard this, I stopped with raised eyebrows and thought : "This is different". It works though. Flute joins in followed by clarinet.

"Arena Pt.1" is a short experimental piece with piano and horns. "Arena Pt.2" builds with vocal melodies, piano and horns standing out as drums pound. Bass comes in. Great sound here. Powerful music that settles late. "Exultation" opens with the horns, percussion and bass standing out early. Check out the improvised vocal melodies that join in. Love the keyboards and bass before 2 1/2 minutes when the horns stop. It's a drum / percussion show after 5 minutes. "Naxos" features solos from clarinet, sax and flugelhorn. It opens with bass and a slow beat with bass clarinet before the sax and flugehorn arrive. Vocal melodies before 2 minutes. Very cool. An incredible way to end this album.

In the liner notes it mentions how proud Ian was of this work back then, proud enough to send a copy to Gil Evans in the hope this great arranger would work with British musicians, something that would come to pass a number of years later.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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