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Bill Bruford's Earthworks - All Heaven Broke Loose CD (album) cover


Bill Bruford's Earthworks


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.89 | 19 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Although the first version of Earthworks (with Django Bates and Iain Ballamy) never reached the stellar heights of later incarnations, they recorded a number of CDs that are consistently interesting, often moving and sometimes great fun. ALL HEAVEN BROKE LOOSE (their third and final studio album) is an excellent example.

If you are one of those prog lovers who hate the very smell of jazz or cannot abide improvised sax solos, stay away! But if you're a more open-minded listener, with a true interest in the development of Bruford's career, this album is essential listening.

On ALL HEAVEN BROKE LOOSE Bill plays a mixture of electronic and acoustic drums. I am not too crazy about his electronic drumming (with which he ripped to shreds, for example, 'Close to the Edge' on the AWBH live album, but here he fortunately keeps it under control. Several tunes open with Bill providing a gentle keyboard-like melody on chordal drums. He is then joined by Ballamy's sax and by Bates' sonorous peck horn (an instrument I'd never heard of, but it produces a very warm and intimate sound). Some of the tunes sound deeply melancholic (e.g. 'Candles still flicker...' and the opening of 'All heaven...'), which makes you think: why isn't there any OTHER post-1980 solo album by (former) members of Yes on which you will hear your heroes play such endearing, intimate melodies, in true collaboration with fellow musicians? (No ego-tripping!)

But even the sadder tunes invariably pick up speed, joyous improvisations take over, and Bill soon switches to acoustic drums. As usual, whatever he does sounds fascinating.

Some special features: 'Forget-me-not' has some slow, wonderfully poetic sax in the style of Wayne Shorter; on 'Pigalle' you can hear fake accordeon music provided by Django Bates on keyboard; and 'Nerve' contains funky drumming reminiscent of 'Sample and Hold' (on FEELS GOOD TO ME), as well as some playful 'keyboard abuse' which strongly reminds me of Dave Stewart.

The only problem with this album is that the general mood is somewhat subdued, so I keep wavering between three and four stars. Most casual prog listeners will probably call it 'good, but not essential'. But it's a must for Bruford fans.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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