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Dave Greenslade - From The Discworld CD (album) cover


Dave Greenslade

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Well, in my opinion music deserves maximum 3 stars, since it's quite enjoyable, even it is boring. However I should award the aim of this record, which was to be musical illustration of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Cycle. These books represent all progressive values: they are hilarious, contain intellectual allusions, present our basic ideas in the light of humour, providing us with critical knowledge of world that surround us. And this record served its purpose - depicting this world - very well. Each song represents main characters of following books, starting from Colour Of Magic, ending with Small Gods. They differ in moods, are quite simple, but instantly we catch the main features of mentioned book, e.g. the grim mood of Macbethian Wyrd Sisters. So this record smoothly corresponds with the Discworld cycle, which I already proved progressive. Therefore I grant it with 5 stars note for it, and an average 4 stars - essential addition to any prog music collection.
Report this review (#45507)
Posted Sunday, September 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
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3 stars Like his previous album, 1978's The Pentateuch Of The Cosmogony, From The Discworld is not a concept album as such. Instead of a cohesive narrative, Greenslade has chosen to interpret isolated people, places or things contained within the 'Discworld' novels of Terry Pratchett. These are presented as self-contained snapshots, mostly delightful shortish mood pieces [three with some very short narration] plus a couple of songs, played entirely by Greenslade using keyboards and sequencers except for a contribution on guitar by Clem Clemson.

You can enjoy the music on a superficial level but it will make little sense unless you are familiar with the Discworld novels. Terry Pratchett has a very fertile imagination and intelligence with which he cleverly constructs an alternative universe centred around The Disc and its multifarious creatures occupying various levels of time and dimension. It is a mirror world of magic and satire, with brilliant believable characterisations, wrapped up in a very funny narrative [Death is hilarious].

Greenslade's music successfully evokes the essence and humour [yes, the humour is there if you know where to look] of the characters with understanding, if you use a little imagination. From The Discworld has a far more adventurous and varied orchestration than Pentateuch, an accomplished depiction of a wide range of moods and settings. Usually this is achieved suggestively, ingeniously using mood and feel to enable the listener to construct appropriate mental images.

I shall mention a few personal favourites. The opener, depicting the giant A-Tuin The Turtle elegantly paddling across the cosmos, and a spooky Wyrd Sisters conjuring images of three witches meddling in affairs of state [including Granny Weatherwax's reluctant broomstick], are both wonderfully evocative atmospheric pieces. DEATH rides across the land on his horse Binky [represented by a spaghetti western style trumpet], dark and menacing yet always ready with a comforting merry quip. The spirits of trees, Dryads, are at once eerie and scary yet beautiful and majestic in another slow atmospheric piece infiltrated by minor chords.

The dreadnoughts of time, stately Pyramids which harness magic, metaphorically stride out across the landscape as the ghost of an old pharaoh wishes he were dead. Close your eyes and they really are there, flaring-off their excess into the night. The One Horseman And Three Pedestrians Of The Apocralypse (sic) [don't ask! if you need to know, read The Sourcerer (sic)] uses scurrying strings to depict them racing across the plains, wind in their, erm, hair, then stopping for a quick one at the Mended Drum. I must make a special mention of a sing-a-long nonsense song, the traditional Ankh-Morpork drinking song A Wizard's Staff Has A Knob On The End.

The music of From The Discworld is fine within its limitations, but some of the ideas lack progression, sometimes too short and under-developed. Also, Greenslade has attempted a 'symphonic' effect on many tracks by emulating sections of an orchestra using generic and unconvincing samples. While the digital revolution enabled him to progress from the simpler synthesizer patterns of Pentateuch, the instruments' synthetic nature is readily apparent.

Had he employed a real orchestra, From The Discworld would probably have received an unqualified recommendation. As it is, Terry Pratchett's fans [especially those with children] will probably adore this. For others, though, it is an excellent choice for some light listening when you wish to switch off your brain, though hardly essential Prog!

Report this review (#81418)
Posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars It is quite difficult to review an album from this great keyboard player: IMHHO, none of his work could have been related with a great album (being as a solo artist or with his good "Greenslade" work).

This work is no other. Some good keys items, for sure. I have already told that the man was gifted (who can tell the contrary) but passion is truly alien from most of his music ("Shades Of Ankh - Morpork").

Still, there are magical moments as the awesome "Wyrd Sisters" which is just a superb electronic musical partition. But very few of these items are available on this album. As if the man decided to get rid of most of his fans (since his latest efforts were quite simple).

Still, this album holds much more interesting and complex movements than any of his prior efforts. Of course, when the poor vocals enter the scene ("Wizzard"), there is only one feeling that prevails: kick them out of course (or just press next).

When one listens to the jewel "Dryads", there is only one question available: why the hell didn't this great musician produce such a fantastic number earlier on! To be honest: it is a truly moving track (little short to be honest) which deserves a separate spot for sure. THE highlight.

I can't really tell that this album is some sort of genuine prog effort. This and was quite a hype in the middle seventies, but couldn't hold on high their flag (which was a dreadful task to be honest).

To be faithful, there are little passion to be felt from this musical album. Little fantasy, little grandiose parts as we ought to expect. Just a collection of fine pieces of music. As such, I will be a delicate fan and bloody hell describe " Holly Wood Dreams" as indescribable and gorgeous song by all means.

Three stars. Thanks to some great passages.

Report this review (#238715)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink

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