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Gilgamesh - Arriving Twice CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.86 | 73 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Gilgamesh is one of the more inaccessible group in the Canterbury genre, and of their two historic albums, I can say without any shame I am not a fan of those two. So when I found this one at the library, I was not expecting some rather adventurously obtuse jazz-rock bordering on the free jazz and RIO, but this was actually quite a surprise. This posthumous album is made of tracks ranging from 73 to 75, and believe me, these are not bottom-of-the-drawer tracks. As a matter of fact, I appreciate this album much more than the two studio albums.

The thing that strikes most is that the music is much more melodic and accessible, bordering on a very pleasant jazz-rock somewhere between early 70's Miles Davis, Isotope and Mahavishnu Orchestra. One of the real highlights is the almost 18-min "suite" (more like a lengthy but tight improvisation) called You're Disguised, which is simply breathtaking at times. Guitarist Phil Lee is really the star in this track and gives keysman Alan Gowen are real challenge to keep up with him. From the second session in late 74, Extract is another highlight, but clearly a hint that this was part of another bigger track. Throughout the three sessions, it is funny to see Gilgamesh never had a fully installed bassist, as the rest of three members remained put. From the third session late 75, the four tracks are scorchers (except for the very expandable but thankfully short title track, and it is interesting to hear that Gowan's synth-playing has evolved due to progress while his electric piano stayed constant.

One of the strange things about the content of this Cd is that although coming from three different sessions, those tracks manage to make a pretty good album on its own with no tracks standing out like a sore thumb. If I have to compare this compilation to the two studio albums, I would say that this Cd is much closer to the second album, Another Fine Mess with its cold fusion rather than the debut, which is much closer to some free jazz.

Less "groundbreaking" than the two historic albums , but certainly a spotless release by the superb Cuneiform label. Again, fairly different than the other two albums, this album is not really suited as a proper intro to the band because it is unrepresentative of their albums.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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