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Rick Wakeman - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth CD (album) cover

JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

3.73 | 343 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars My first Wakeman's album and still the one I like most. Ok, I have to admit that it can be considered pompous, self-indulgent and all the worst that can be said about rock dynosaurs, but I'm not Jonny Rotten and I don't care of it. Let me say that Wakeman is still making albums and I don't know what John Lydon is doing currently.

I saw the album at a friend's home. He was a bit older than me and I didn't own a turntable at that time. I was impressed by the cover art with the booklet made of photo shots inspired to the Verne's novel but in debt with the 1959's movie which was one of the first hollywood sci-fi movies full of special effects. The movie amazed me as well when I was a child so I was captured by that package.

When it went on the turntable I was even more surprised. It was different from anything I had heard before. I already knew and loved Emerson Lake and Palmer but the orchestra, the choir...I was actually listening to country and blues, you can imagine what kind of impact it was.

What I found negative was the fact that only 4 sections of the whole opera had lyrics, in the sense that only four topic moments of the story are represented. Also, not knowing English at that time, I had some problems with the narrator. Luckily the background music while he speaks was good enough so I never had the impulse of moving the pick-up ahead.

Apart of that, I wasn't expecting the quote of Grieg's Hall Of The Mountain King. The Peer Gynt Suite was one of the first classical music works that I have appreciated since my early childhood, so it made everything sound very familiar.

Today, of course, my perception of the album is different, but the pleasure of following the story building a theathre (not a movie) in my mind is still great. I don't listen to it very often, but when I do it I like staying concentrated on each single note and respect to the past I'm also able to understand what the speaker says.

Somebody can think, and it's correct, that this is the kind of things that have caused the decline of prog. I partially disagree. In a world in which the labels had the power to decide who to publish and who don't, were self-production and bandcamp were not available they have maybe chosen to influence the public in the direction of easy low-cost productions like Sex Pistols. Never Mind The Bullocks (which I like, I admit) costed surely less than Journey.

This dynosaur has been acually able to play with the orchestra and the choir in a perfectly integrated manner, composing what I think is a wonderful piece. In the 80s I've been at a Wakeman's concert. He had just a group made of bass, drums and vocalist but he played the whole "Journey" and I don't think I'll ever forget that performance.

Long life to dynosaurs.

octopus-4 | 5/5 |

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