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Ayers Rock - Beyond CD (album) cover

BEYOND

Ayers Rock

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.62 | 13 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Ayers Rock came to my attention back in the 70s when I was listening to Skyhooks. The inner cover of "Ego is not a dirty word" had a number of album covers listed as a form of promotion for Mushroom labels, and the iconic image of Ayers Rock on the cover was always something that made me wonder what this band would sound like. Interestingly enough the EP "Big Red Rock" is actually a live album with very rocked up songs sounding nothing like the work on this debut album release. The music on "Beyond" is more jazz fusion, and instrumentals abound, though at times it verges back to the straight forward sound of "Big Red Rock".

The album begins with ethereal atmospherics on 'Moondah (Beyond)' that relies heavily on Col Loughlan's keyboard skills and woodwind. The aboriginal sounds are prevalent using clicking sticks and a didgeridoo droning effect. It breaks into beautiful guitar and keyboard melodies, with chimes and strong percussion. It is a delightful melody and very original sound, and allows for lengthy twin guitar solos using wah wah pedal and tremolo bar. The sax lends a nice jazz edge along with the rocking tempo.

'A Place To Go' features a moderate tempo and a sax melody, and the vocals at last come in. The smooth approach is welcome and sounds a bit bluesy in style. The string section is beautiful on this giving it a symphonic quality. The sound is akin to Santana with the cool guitar solos and breezy tempos. 'Catchanemu' is a showcase for percussionist Mark Kennedy, using a full on drum attack. The sax sounds are prominent and powerfully played by Col. The lead guitar playing is like Carlos Santana, soaring and emotional throughout.

'Song For Darwin' is dedicated to the victims and survivors of the devastating Cyclone Tracey that hit Darwin in 1975 and left thousands homeless just prior to Christmas. The disaster is one of the worst in Australian history and it is nice to hear a song dedicated to the catastrophic event, and this is better than the more popular at the time 'Santa Never Made It Into Darwin'. 'Angel In Disguise' is another instrumental that begins with chimes and sparse piano. It builds with gorgeous violin strings, harps and a full symphonic sound of transfixing beauty. Guitar swells and cymbal splashes add to the light textures. A steady bass sig locks in with a lovely lead guitar solo and spacey keyboard squelches. A very relaxing piece of music is the result, and definitely shows what the band were capable of. It builds to a nice fast tempo and some extreme wah wah guitar finesse.

'Little Kings' finishes the album with a rock song, sounding like Traffic, that is uncharacteristic of the music previous. It certainly wakes you up after the beauty preceding and is a decent way to close things off. I like the sax on this and it has an infectious chorus melody.

Overall this is a solid album from Ayers Rock, though is uneven and inconsistent in terms of the musical approach. Rather than sticking to one style it tends to veer into some odd songs that ruin the overall feel of the album. In any case it is worth seeking out as there is some fine music here and it is a prime example of 70s jazz fusion, and perhaps Ayers Rock's finest recording.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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