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The Web - I Spider CD (album) cover

I SPIDER

The Web

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.03 | 37 ratings

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Atavachron
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Keyboardist/singer Dave Lawson is among the musicians from, as I see it, a musical culture local to mid Southeast England. More a style than a scene - which I've affectionately coined the 'Surrey sound' - it includes artists from this area such as David Greenslade, as well as those from Greater London like Morgan Fisher and Quatermass. It is Lawson [replacing John L. Watson] who gives Web's third release it's distinction and marvelous prog direction, moving the band quite some distance from their previous West Coast psych/jazz approach. Veteran proggies will immediately recognize Lawson's vibrato-less caterwaul from his Greenslade days and I Spider reveals just how much he contributed to that classic band's sound. It also makes it a set indispensable to anyone with a thing for those one-shot prog happenings that appeared and just as quickly evaporated (Quiet Sun anyone?). As stated by AMG's JoAnn Greene; "Lawson's fabulous organ playing was now the band's fulcrum, filling the album with rich, and especially on the title track, haunting atmospheres, as well as providing a fixed point from which the rest of the band could swoop off in their own directions."

Tony Edwards' big fuzz guitar sound, Tom Harris's saxes and Lennie Wright's vibes introduce the 5-sectioned 'Concerto for Bedsprings', soon taken over by Dave Lawson's eldritch piano lines and complaints of insomnia. It wastes no time moving briskly from easy swing to weird Lounge music, hard jazzrock, Lawson's lonely man blues and near-suicidal lyrics. Turning up the class is the title, a sophisticated ballroom that sparkles with modern jazz in a Shirley Bassey mode (Lawson had studied with British jazz great Stan Tracey). Rocker 'Love You' is atonal but nice, facet-cut angles of wonderful 'Ymphasomniac' with Kenny Beveridge's tympani booms, bongos & assorted percussives and a killer jam-out from all, and the album wraps on another fascinating meeting of swing-jazz with hard progrock for 'Always I Wait'.

Lawson would go on to co-lead David Greenslade's band but this is arguably his finest moment in the Prog firmament. These days he and his state-of-the-art sound design system, purportedly the largest Synclavier and synth setups in Europe, do just fine composing for all number of films, television, orchestrations and productions. If you don't already have a taste for this rather pungent Prog milieu, I Spider simply may not excite you the way it will those who love the kind of frenetic and funky rave-ups offered by Morgan, The Nice, Touch, and Beggars Opera. Two interesting live cuts from Sweden in 1971 are offered as well.

Atavachron | 4/5 |

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