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Nucleus - Elastic Rock CD (album) cover

ELASTIC ROCK

Nucleus

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 71 ratings

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Zac M
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars How this band escape the archives for this many years is beyond me. This album is IMO a milestone in British jazz fusion. I was highly impressed after first listening to this album, after finding out that some of the members of NUCLEUS went off to form the new lineup(s) of SOFT MACHINE as the years went on. Both Karl Jenkins and Ian Carr are compositional masterminds. They also are excellent players and deserve much more attention than they get. Now on to a review of the album.

John Marshall's frantic drumming kicks off the fanfare to the album. This piece, "1916," really sets off the album nicely. Next, comes the excellent title track with a solid bass line and drumming with winds playing the melody. Chris Spedding's bluesy guitar solo is a standout in this composition. After this comes "Striation," a Clyne and Spedding collaboration, and "Taranaki," that are both much calmer and smoother than the previous tracks. "Taranaki" also features great trumpet and tenor parts.

"Twisted Track" comes next and is probably my favorite track on the whole album; it packs in so much emotion. The piece starts out very soothingly and gradually builds with various solos an duets by members of the group. By the end of it, everyone is joining in, and the piece ends just as it started. "Crude Blues Part 1" features an excellent oboe part by the multi-talented Jenkins. "Part 2" is similar to the title track and has great wind parts once again. Also, Jenkins gets another oboe solo in this one. He really shows off his playing skills.

"1916 (The Battle of Boogaloo)" features a steady bass line and great saxophone/trumpet (brass) call and response parts. It is probably one of the most famous tracks on the album, deservingly so. "Stonescape" continues on where "Boogaloo" left off; it is a solid piece, featuring an excellent solo by Carr. "Stonescape" has a smooth muted brass sound jazz listeners will most probably enjoy. The track "Earth Mother" brings back earlier recurring themes from the album, including another Jenkin's oboe solo. Next comes the ever-familiar drum solo (just listen to Soft Machine from "Fifth" or "Softs" if you don't know what I'm talking about) by John Marshall in "Speaking for Myself Personally, in My Own Opinion I Think." The album closes off with "Persephones Jive," a track that ends the album frantically, just as it began.

This album is highly recommended to fans of British fusion, especially latter-day Soft Machine fans who are interested in seeing what some of the members were doing before they joined SOFT MACHINE. This album would make a great addition to anyone's collection. Also, as Hughes Chantraine pointed out, this album does have excellent cover art by Roger Dean. It is a great starting point for anyone interested in getting in to NUCLEUS or the genre itself. 4.5 stars.

Zac M | 4/5 |

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