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4 stars This album or rather BBC session (minus the "LOST" track) is very stylized renaissance music and seems like it would have a limited appeal to most prog fans, but it is definitely one of the most interesting albums I've ever listened and would appeal to any adventurous prog listener. The tracks range from all out renaissance ones to ones that could fit quite well on a Gentle Giant type album. The musicianship is extraordinary, complex, but melodic. The song structure is different than most "modern" song structures and these guys must have studied renaissance song structures because they did a great job playing in that style. The acoustic guitar work is absolutely fantastic and would appeal to any guitar fan. The recorder work is also amazing, and the interplay between the recorder and bassoon is very pleasant. The bassoon and horn lines often take the role as bass and it creates a very interesting sound. I've never listened to renaissance music before but I would think it would be quite simple, restricted, and non-proggish. Gryphon's music is the exact opposite and I think if they traveled back to the renaissance they would be considered masters of the art. The song structures are very complicated. The Midnight Mushrumps uses some really cool organs and is very classical. I would give this album a 5 star rating for its creativity, virtuosity, and complexity as well as its beauty but I have to admit that it does have limited appeal. It is definitely a masterpiece of music but whether its "prog" or not is your judgment.
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Posted Sunday, April 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

This release can be seen as the BBC sessions (I think Hux Records took over the old BBC Radio 1 series) and for Gryphonheads , this is a real must. The tracks are taken from three different sessions and obviously , the live versions are definitely more passionate and exciting than the studio versions.

The first five tracks come off the first album and are much livelier especially Estampie which now becomes a classic must hear under this form. The next four tracks are from a 1974 show just after the release of their second album Midnight Mushrumps. Again here, the tracks (actually only two since three of them make for the entire Mushrumps suite ) are much livelier , merry and alltogether more fascinating than the studio album. the last track was done as a "commercial " jingle for the BBC show they were appearing on and apparently was unreleased as of yet.

Although fully aware of the importance of their early works , I was not really a fan of the first two Gryphon albums , with this BBC sessions , I am now reconciled with those tracks. Much recommended to all Gryphon fans. The booklet is also full of funny anecdotes of their lives together , the pranks they pulled and other memories. They once stopped their broken down van a block away from the London Stock Exchange and if you can picture their looks and hairstyles , they started asking the directions of Fleet Street much to the shock of the passers-by. Would they do that nowadays downtown NY , theu might go straight to Guantanamo , treated as potential terrorsits.

Report this review (#37902)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink

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