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SEVEN STORIES INTO 98

IQ

Neo-Prog


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Leave it to IQ to create a new package out of the old!. This release is mostly devoted to their earlier work with One entire cd containing new re-worked ancient IQ classics. The other CD is completely original and sounds more like an old cassette than a new digital recording. Many readers may hold the opinion that a major drawback to this recording would be the repetitive nature inherent in playing both cds back to back. I personally have not found this yet after many repeated plays as the material, approach and sound is so different to each other that.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#3807)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
Fishy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This IQ album is a re-recorded version of their cassette-album debut "six to eight" which was released back in 1982. Due to the poor sound quality of the original, they re-recorded this in 1998. When compared to their other work, this is less emotional and more complex progressive rock with less vocals. Some tracks were known to the legion fans for becoming concert favorites : "IQ", "Fascination" and "It all stops here". These belong to my all time favorites (but maybe that's personal. It's difficult to write what you are going to get when listening to this album. Usually IQ sounds more or less like Marillion and Genesis in their progressive rock years. But as this album is slightly different when compared to other IQ releases. Maybe you could have an idea how this sounds if you imagine a softer version of Dream Theater. However not their best album but one of the better efforts and fans should really check this one out

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Send comments to Fishy (BETA) | Report this review (#3808)
Posted Friday, April 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is mostly a reedition of songs from "Nine In A Pound Is Here". If you like the early IQ, then you should appreciate this one. The drums are very fast and complex. The bass is absolutely outstanding, complex and very present, especially on "Capital Letters". The omnipresent electric guitars are excellent, as always. This record is very progressive. The guys are very versatile. "About Lake Five" has wonderful bluesy prog parts full of catchy guitars and fretless bass. Intelligence quotient is a masterpiece of rythm changing, elaborated keyboards, outstanding bass and drum parts, sometimes reaching the quintessence. Nothing is simple here!

Here is why I don't give 5 stars: "Barbell is in" is a Peter GABRIEL-esque simple song, not progressive, full of percussions, and IMO it is irrelevant on this record. For the taking is a smoother song than the others with acoustic guitar, less progressive, but not bad. They "duplicate" the songs! The bassist is not the same from one CD to another. Yours to compare!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#3809)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is a re-recording of IQ's earliest release even predating Tales From The Lush Attic. Originally it was called seven stories into 8 and released as a cassette only compialtion. Quite an interesting album of you are into IQ. A brief run down of the songs:

1. Capital Letters (In Surgical Spirit Land) (3:49) - high tempo jazzy opener. Nice synth work from Orford (4/5)

2. About Lake Five (5:27) - yet another instrumental... does Nicholls ever get to sing! Quite good (3/5)

3. Intelligence Quotient (8:18) - definite Hackettish Spectral Mornings feel about this.Nicholls finally gets to sing.Lyrics are very 'wet'. Unusual song (3.5/5)

4. For Christ's Sake (5:17) - medley of Xmas tunes.Good fun! (3/5)

5. Barbell Is In (4:54) - Reggae!!?? Weird stuff! (3/5)

6. Fascination (7:03) - closest to their later work like Subterannea.I like the lyrics here (4/5)

7. For The Taking (4:34) - best song here for my money.Dark lyrics and great acoustic guitar work from Mike Holmes (5/5)

8. It All Stops Here (7:53) - more up tempo rockier number. Like it (4/5)

9. Eloko Bella Neechi (5:16) - nice atmospheric instrumental track to close the album (4/5)

Overall this falls between 3 and 4 stars for me. Nothing is bad on this album but nothing matches the best IQ music. Probably say 3 stars.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#3810)
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars IQ has released quantities of live albums as well as compilation ones. They were probably uninspired at the time and decide to release a double album with very old material (81-82).

The boolet is quite informative as to the formation of IQ (and its predecessor "The Lens"). Instructive and interesting for the fan. We'll learn that Martin and Mike were rather interested in bands such as "Brand X" and their first number had definitely this jazz mood ("Capital Letters).

The whole story of the production, recording and copying of this first cassette is explained and shows how difficult it can be for a band in their early days. The next number "About Lake Five" sounds as if it comes out of "The Snow Goose" (Camel). Very peaceful and melodic instrumental music. It is clear that they haven't yet decided which would be their orientation.

"Intelligence Quotient" has been already released on "Nine A Pond Is Here" (in 85) as well as on "J'ai Pollette d'Arnu" in 91. So, even if I like this song I believe it is a bit too much. Anyway, this might well be considered as the first true IQ song. Typical and heavy keys, a Genesis mood of course and a good guitar intro. Strangely enough, Mike wrote the lyrics while Martin is the lead vocalist.

"For Christ's Sake" is a medley of "The Lens" songs. Not too bad. We will learn as well that "Barbell" was their first attempt (and only they say) to produce a white reggae song although I do not agree. They have produce the infect "Corners" on their second album "The Wake". This track is not really a good one.

"Fascination" will be the first "real" IQ song. Written as they all will be later. Peter being responsible for the lyrics (often not really understood by the other members - this reminds me another Peter's story...). This song was also available on "Nine A Pound...". One of the best of this album.

I guess that "For The Taking" will be the only IQ's protest song. It is a tribute to the last US soldier executed for desertion. it is a gentle acousitc song. Not really essential.

As for "IQ", "It all Stops Here" was also already released twice. This version is probably the best one. The only track that is not available on disc II is "Eloko Bella Neechi". This song has never been released before and although it did hold some lyric parts in its original format, they were dropped later on. Peaceful and very much keyboards oriented for about two minutes, the whole band then joins to perform a classic IQ song : powerful, a bit heavy. This version features some vocals (but limited to a few words). Mike's guitar is very pleasant during the second half of the song.

Disc one deserves two stars. It can not really interest people outside the circle of die- hard IQ fans.

Disc two is made of the same tracklist in their original format (81-82). These are really demo tape quality and can only be interesting for completionists (one star). As a whole I would say that this album is interesting for the devoted fans. The entire album is much more instrumental than what IQ will release later, and therefore being somewhat different. Their later work will be strongly (even too much) lyrics oriented with Nicholls almost always there leaving little place to intrumental parts.

Two stars for the whole but I'm rounding up here (three out of ten would be more logic).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#126061)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Few bands can say that their special items (official bootlegs, rarities' compilations, new recordings of new material, etc.) are especially exciting not only for the average converted fanatic but also for the passerby who happens to love good prog, art-rock or whatever one may call it. In my eyes, IQ is one of those bands: sometimes they are among the bands accused of being derivative from the past best prog masters (usually in the neo vein), but even through the obvious influences from Genesis, UK and Camel, I don't see how this band cannot be acknowledged as one that has contributed something unique to the varied, multicolor world of symphonic prog. Well, the beauty of this "Seven Stories into 98" album is that it compiles a selection of re-recorded versions of their most celebrated old tracks from before the time of the debut album "Tales from the Lush Attic". The original cassette "Seven Stories into Eight" occupies volume 2, with all its terrible audio problems - a relic valuable as such, if you will, but the real gem is in volume 1, which comprises the new versions plus one extra old track. It is clear that the band is on top form, one year after the release of their milestone concept- album "Subterranea" and still touring a bit at the time; the recording sessions were undertaken in one week or less, to make this trip to memory lane as alike to the recording frenzy of the good old days. Well, let's go for the material, not as consistent as a proper album, but an excellent reminder of the amount of creativity this band had already in the very early 80s. Some of the pieces are from the time when Nicholls was yet to become the band's lead singer (lyrics written by either Orford or Holmes), and there was another drummer in the fold. This time, that is not an issue, given the additional fact that the charismatic John Jowitt wasn't the band's bassist either during that era. 'Capital Letters' is a jazz-rock instrumental, very much like Return to Forever with an Eddie Jobson twist; a powerful entry whose momentum is properly picked up by 'About Lake Five', another instrumental that combines jazz-rock and pure symphonic not unlike "Rain Dances"-era Camel. 'Intelligence Quotient' is the first sung track, receiving a treatment that does full justice to the original idea's epic essence: this is where the IQ sound is getting authentically developed. When you get to the fantastic 'Fascination' and 'It All Stops Here', you can tell that the development process has come to its fruition (by the way, this has to be the best version of 'Fascination' ever). Lots of good neo albums fail to comprise songs as good as these two IQ non-album pieces. 'For Christ's Sake' is a punchy medley of two Christmas carols (stylistically similar to something out of Hackett's "Defector"), while 'Barbell Is In' shifts its original white reggae tone to an ethnic-driven trance (something like "Us"-era Gabriel-meets-Dead Can Dance). While not being a prog statement, it would be fair to acknowledge that this 'Barbell' is catchy, and far superior to the original, which only managed to be funny. 'For the Taking' is a moving pacifist ballad penned by Nicholls shortly before his entry into IQ: after becoming part of the band's repertoire, its beauty was properly developed. This 1998 version makes Holmes' lead guitar combine the punchy and the eerie in one single sonic source, perfectly complementing the alternation of anger and evocation in Nicholls' lyrics. The sequence of 'Fascination', 'For the Taking' and 'It All Stops Here' is the album's climax. There is still one more track: bearing the weird title of 'Eloko Bella Neechi', it is a slow, ethereal Genesian track with a few lyrics near the end. It is quite good actually, an interesting revelation for the IQ collector, but I'm not sure it fits well as volume 1's closure after 'It All Stops Here'. All in all, this is a compilation of excellent and good songs from an era of learning and assimilation: volume 1 reconstructs the amount of talent already there. Even then IQ ruled (they still do!).

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#182379)
Posted Saturday, September 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Like fellow neo-prog pioneers Twelfth Night - and, come to mention it, Mike Holmes and Martin Orford's previous band The Lens - IQ's earliest recordings consisted of demo tapes sold at gigs. In this case, the demo was the famed Seven Stories Into Eight, a collection of eight tracks which would remain staples of the live IQ set over the years but for a long time never got the proper studio treatment.

All this changed in 1998, when following the previous year's successful Subterranea release the band turned their thoughts to reissuing the tape. Alas, home recording technology being as primitive as it was in 1982 (particularly on the shoestring budget the band had) and cassettes being what they are, the sound quality was pretty damn poor. Not keen on the idea of asking their fans to hand over their money solely for such recordings, the band decided to sweeten the deal by going into the studio and rerecording the songs. Producing the rerecordings in three days of studio time in order to replicate as closely as possible the hectic live-in-the-studio atmosphere of the original, the resultant rerecording also features Eloko Bella Neechi, an early IQ song from the Seven Stories period which didn't make it onto the original tape.

So, Seven Stories Into 98 offers us two albums which are really one - the 1998 revision of Seven Stories and the 1982 original. Of the pair, I find myself listening to the rerecording far, far more often than the original - the sound quality is, as the band feared, really quite poor and whilst in some musical genres that can be aesthetically interesting (lots of extreme black metal bands go for a deliberately lo-fi recording aesthetic for precisely this reason), IQ's brand of melodic neo-prog ain't one of them.

But then again, who'd want to listen to the scratchy old cassette when the rerecording sounds this good? (Indeed, when Holmes, Orford and Cook put out A Word In Your Eye as The Lens some years later - a rerecording of the No TV Tonite demo - they didn't include such a bonus disc, presumably for this very reason.) By and large the band do a great job of authentically reproducing the compositions involved, as you'd expect - after all, they'd been playing these tunes live for decades at this point - and whilst there have been some refinements to the performances from years of gigging with them, on balance they're still very much the same tracks they were back in the early 1980s.

The album itself isn't quite in the top rank of IQ works, but it's still a really strong collection of tracks which between them give fascinating insights into the band's early sound and formative influences. Many of these songs are reminiscent of a blend of classic Camel and Steve Hackett's Spectral Mornings and Defector albums, though even at this early point IQ were putting their own individual spin on the material and putting together their own sound. Anyone keen on IQ's music - or early neo-prog in general - will find disc 1 here an absolute treat, particularly since it's the only studio recordings available of some songs fans will likely have heard at concerts from time to time. Disc 2 is perhaps more interesting from a historical perspective rather than actually being entertaining to listen to, though disc 1 is good enough to make the second disc superfluous anyway.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#572806)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars (7/10)

There's an interesting mix of songs on this album. Stuff that doesn't really fit in with the rest of the discography, but nonetheless will be of immediate interest to IQ fans. I mean, for god's sake, at one point we go from pleasant camel-like atmospheres ("About Lake Five") to a progified christmas medley ("For Christ's Sake") to a low key white reggae piece ("Barbell Is In", which is amusingly and unexpectedly IQ's highest charting song). There is a sense of fun to this mixture of songs that is quite refreshing. Some hidden IQ classics are even here, songs that may be familiar to (very) old fans, and those who have been lucky enough to see IQ perform live (some of these songs are still played today).

The album itself is a two disc deal. The second is the original recordings of the early IQ cassette "Seven Stories Into Eight", and the first is the re-recorded version (done in 1998), hence the name "Seven Stories Into 98". The first disc is better in every way, and even has an extra song ("Eloko Bella Neechi"), so I will focus my review on this disc only. The second disc is really only of historical interest for keen IQ fans (given the existence of the first).

Chronologically speaking, this music comes from before IQ's proper debut, "Tales From The Lush Attic", even though it has been given a bit of a modern touch up. Thinking of it in this way things make a lot more sense. It is quite a mixed bag, (I'm not actually much of a fan of "Barbell Is In" once the novelty wears off), but some material stands up with their early work. Specifically "Intelligence Quotient" and "It All Stops Here" (and to a lesser extent "Fascination") are really exciting, but you get moments of the good stuff in other songs too.

There is a lot of instrumental work. In fact, since the first two songs have no vocals (unless you count the bizarre Sean Connery impression in "Capital Letters (In Surgical Spirit Land)"), It isn't until the third track, "Intelligence Quotient", that we are treated to some singing. It is a weird feeling for a band that has such a pronounced arc of development to revisit their earlier material and revamp it. Old and new collide. This album would go well with the first album by The Lens, and indeed in places it has that exact same feel, especially "Intelligence Quotient", with the melodic early neo-prog style given a new modern lush setting.

Musically, the good tracks have everything that made early IQ such fun, the cheerfully bouncy retro keyboard soloing, the slicing melodic guitar of Mike Holmes over lush keyboard backing, still with IQ's slightly Gothic tones in the background, complex instrumental sections, and Peter Nicholls' unmistakable wonderful voice. John Jowitt is also making his presence felt really well on bass. Along with this though, we do have the more eclectic pieces. Of particular interest to me was the acoustic guitar led "For The Taking", with deceptively dark lyrics and gentle guitar, it's a subtly beautiful and quietly emotive song that adds another facet to IQ's catalogue.

It's not IQ's best, and I cannot recommend it as a good starting point, but there is easily enough here to call this album 'good'. There is an appealing sense of fun to the whole thing: the nostalgic feeling, the bizarre parts, the classical influences (for example, it sounds like Mike Holmes is playing a truncated version of the theme from Hall of the Mountain King in "It All Stops Here"), and a clear IQ identity. If you enjoy early IQ like I do, or if you want to hear a slightly different side of the band this would be a great investment.

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Send comments to ScorchedFirth (BETA) | Report this review (#854572)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars My comment is based on the re-recording made ​​in 1998.

Witnessed in 1999 in Buenos Aires the performance of It All Stops Here, so far unknown to me. Along with Intelligence Quotient and About Lake Five, are the highlight of this good work.

I also like For the Taking and Eloko Bella Neechi. Fascination does not reach the hierarchy of other classic songs from the group of the same duration as Headlong, Leap of Faith or Somewhere in Time, but is quite acceptable.

The task of Mike Holmes on guitars is superb, the production is sublime, and the group is in great shape for this play much more mature.

A very good decision of the group was editing this album, otherwise would have been lost for many an important part of musical history.

Rating between 3.5 and 4.

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Send comments to sinslice (BETA) | Report this review (#954089)
Posted Saturday, May 04, 2013 | Review Permalink

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