Genesis - The Silent Sun / That's Me CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.74 | 23 ratings

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4 stars THE SILENT SUN and THAT'S ME were written in 1967.

This year was a crucial turning point in the sixties. Before 1967 rock was simpler, naive, accessible, radio and dance oriented.... but in 1967 (thanks to the Beatles/George Martin's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) rock began to incorporate other 'sounds' like, for instance, music from India, jazz, folk, etc.... but primarily: classical music. Different styles were absorbed and thrown into an imaginary blender: the end result was a new type of rock that became known as psychedelic rock.

British psychedelia toyed with orchestras, sometimes using very big ones to create very little sounds. The new generation of groups messed with noises, sound effects, voices, reversed tapes, long improvised guitar solos, reversed guitar solos, free form music, reverberation, delays and a multitude of other stereo effects. The recording studio became an instrument itself. The sound of the electric guitars was distorted with feedback and with the (then) recently created fuzz boxes. Before 1967 the instruments used by the British invasion bands were guitars, bass and drums. After 1967 the use of unusual instrumentation became the norm: sitar, tabla (plus other Indian instruments), electric organ, violin, violoncello, flute, harpsichord, oboe, harp, strings, brass, etc.... Musicians were fuelled by LSD, so their music had to sound like a drug experience too.

Suddenly classical music (once the cheesy sound of our parents - the (then) mocked older generation) was now hip and an integral part of UK's new rock. The Beatles had already given the signal in 1965 with their hit 'Yesterday': instead of guitars, there was a string quartet playing the classical flavored arrangement written by George Martin. Even the dirty Rolling Stones joined with a similar treatment for 'As Tears Go By'.

Before 1967 rock was the cry from the streets. Now a lot of middle-class kids who had studied in good schools, who had studied music and knew the classics were able to apply them to rock and roll. In 1967 the standards of British rock were raised, the frontiers were broaden. British psychedelia gave birth to bands led by kids who were highly trained and were able to play very well their instruments: Keith Emerson (The Nice ' later ELP), Hugh Banton (Van Der Graaf), Tony Banks and Anthony Phillips (Genesis), Robert Fripp (Giles, Giles & Fripp - later King Crimson), Rick Wakeman, etc.... Groups which had classical or avant-garde leanings appeared (Moody Blues, Procol Harum, Pink Floyd, amongst others).

On the other side of the Atlantic, USA was also immersed in psychedelia, but their hippie- acid-rock was more crude and raw than its English counterpart: each country tended to lean towards its roots. In the case of American rock, it was Blues or Country. But these 2 styles were not a tradition in UK, so while American rock leaned towards them, English rock leaned towards classical music. It was their past, their European musical origin.

In 1967 it seemed that rock had reached its highest creative point.... But no: gradually it continued to evolve and within a year or two it had morphed into an even more complex type of music, which came to be known as Progressive Rock. But its seeds were sown in 1967.

RINLEW | 4/5 |


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