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Twelfth Night - Live at the Target CD (album) cover


Twelfth Night



4.01 | 45 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Keep it live!

It's unbelievable to think that this is a live album when you hear the opening track "Fur Helene", which begins with the same "Mars" rhythm that Diamond Head used for the opening of "Am I Evil". Quickly, the Hillage-esque echo-drenched guitar and 6-string bass enter to provide a new sound and texture a little reminiscent of "Saucerful" era Pink Floyd, moving to a wah-driven riff that is utterly infectious, and the Twelfth Night style establishes itself.

Although the harmonic structure of Twelfth Night's material is not complex, and the musicianship just slightly above the average metal band - with token atmospheric keyboards, what makes TN stand out is the attention to detail they give to the bigger picture. This would initially make the Floyd comparision very strong, but Clive Mitten was one for through-composing all TN's material, and there is little sense of jamming which is what differentiates TN from psychedelia.

"After the Eclipse" is probably my favourite piece on this album, although "Sequences" was always the most popular live track - presumably because of its epic length. Each instrument's part in "ATE" is absolutely clear, and the build-ups are subtle and engaging. This is one of the few similarities TN had with Marillion, who were later to become the competition. Mitten's 6-string bass provides a melodic drive, using the entire range of the instrument in a sensitive manner, and the delay-driven bass solo in the middle is particularly atmospheric.

TN allow a lot of space in the music to allow the overall dynamics of the structures time to develop. The 100-strong audience in the tiny Target Club in Reading show an involvement which is practically tangible, as there is a noticeable pause between the end of the piece and the applause - I remember this gig well, but I'm not sure if that's me whooping in the background or not...

To describe the remaining two pieces would be to make the music sound the same, as it continues in the same vein. However, the point is the melodies and shifts in atmosperics. It's easy to hear TN's influence on bands such as the Ozric Tentacles in the beginning of "East to West", but they develop the track so well that despite my earlier observation that this is no space jam, it comes across as being totally natural and improvisational with a real feel for dynamic and drama in the music.

I'm not sure if it's because I've owned the three albums for so long, but I always see this as the first part of a kind of trilogy - "Fact and Fiction" being next and "Live and Let Live" rounding off the Mann era (even though there are no vocals on this album Mann was an honourary member of the band as their backdrop painter!).

This is being re-released on CD at the end of June 2004 - my advice is to buy it as an essential part of your (neo) prog collection. This will become an album to revisit for chill- out sessions for many years to come - it just never seems to age!

Certif1ed | 4/5 |


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