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Here & Now - Give & Take CD (album) cover


Here & Now

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Floating Anarchy

Here & Now's debut album is a stunning, if slightly inconsistent effort; when it's good, it kicks serious donkey and ranks up there with the very best space/prog has to offer. You will be hard pushed to find better.

If you're familiar with "Floating Anarchy" (listed under Gong), then you'll have an idea of what you're in for, as this is "The Here and Now Band" referred to on that album. Here & Now mix punk, reggae influences and space rock into a sound reminiscent of Gong and Hawkwind, and it's easy to hear where the Ozric Tentacles got their sound from (the Ozrics regularly supported Here & Now in the early 1980s before their first album release).

The first track is actually entitled "What You See is What You Are" on my original vinyl copy - and on the Here & Now fan sites. A catchy, spacy keyboard hook is joined by a unison female vocal and the bass/drums/guitar pile in with a driving riff for a pair of verses and chorsuses that are pleasant but don't attempt to progress. But the interesting bit is to follow; the instrumental section kicks off into a different dimension - a spine-tingling space bridge that could have been lifted from "You", but with the Here & Now twist; Kieth da Bass driving Kif Kif le Batteur's jazzy percussions under some superb Hillage-esque guitar from Steffi Sharpstrings - we get the feeling that this is something the Ozrics would like to have achieved.

"Nearer Now" is a well-written song with fabulous "walky" bass lines. There seem to be snippets of early Pink Floyd and Hawkwind here. There's a punky edge, and the song is in a fairly standard format - but somehow this is unmistakably prog rock, with the catchy yet unpredictable melody lines, contrapuntal instrumental parts and ambiguity of key base. Around 3:40 the instrumental section kicks in, and Steffi S provides spine-tingling and melodic guitar solo lines treading once more into Steve Hillage's shoes with something that might have come from "Green".

"Grate Fire of London" is the centerpiece for me. An absolute masterpiece in itself and worth the price of the album. Smoky keyboards swirl around ambient guitars as Sooze ba Blooze sings "I'm gonna find you again" in a pure voice - comparisons to Annie Haslam may be appropriate here, but the space whispers are more similar to Shakhti Yoni. Percussion and bass increase the dramatic tension, and we get colours of "Angel's Egg", but with added chaos and sirens. The instrumental section from around 5:02 onwards is peculiarly regressive in some ways, in that it hearkens back to "Flying Teapot" and even "Camembert Electrique", but with Keith's pounding bass lines. Steffi's unison guitars and Kif Kif's precision drumming confirm the "Camembert..." links - but the music does not kick in, leaving anticipation for what happens next...

...which I find somewhat unsatisfying. Keith's bass has a fantastic rich sound, da Blitz works some great spacey keyboards, Sharpstrings provides some really subtle stabbing accompaniment - but the overall effect is of a very repetitive and unimaginative song "This Time". When the change comes it's chaotic - but in a disorganised way. The "stream of consciousness" male vocals are probably the best feature of this track - although I might take issue with the line "If you wanna lot of chocolate on your biscuit join a club..."

"Seventies Youth" is delightfully "Dippy Hippy" and a simply wonderful song. At the same time, it is the foundation of the songwriting path that Here & Now would follow. The albums that come after this, up to "Been and Gone" all develop the style presented in this track - but are very hard to track down. Notable points; It's just a great song with superb textures - not harmonically adventurous, but slightly Bowie in flavour, and very psychedelic.

"Improvisation" is just that. 11 minutes of blissful Here & Now style improv - although you just know that the structure was pre-arranged... H & N demonstrate what it is to play with feeling - this is how it's done, boys and girls, and this would only be out of place on an Ozrics album because it outclasses the Ozrics all over. Otherwise, you might be forgiven for thinking this was the Tentacular ones with Hillage on lead and beautiful and sometimes slightly disturbing female backing vocals. Enjoy this one at maximum volume and dance around your clothes, which are probably in a pile on the floor by now...

But close the curtains, OK ;0)

Easily the proggiest of Here & Now's output of the 1970s and 1980 (the remainder of their albums focus on progressive songwriting, incorporating ever deeper punk and reggae influences), "Give and Take" possesses something of a mysterious otherworldly quality and comes highly recommended, despite the fact that I can't really award masterpiece status, mainly because of "This Time".

Report this review (#44061)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars I must say that a previous reviewer gave the break-down of this album in detail, and I agree with what was said, but I dislike giving an album a rating without some banter.... The very first offering by Here and Now (that I know of) was actually 1977's 'Floating Anarchy' - a collaboration with Gong, where Space-Rock meets Punk. 'Give and Take' is H&N's debut release and really enjoyable. Very crisp production, and the musicians involved are bursting with energy ; the drummer is really good and he has a great sound, and the overall music incorporates Gliss guitar and fiery Hillage-like leads, bubbling synths, energetic bass and a sort of rebellious humour that works fine, not unlike Daevid Allen's ideals. A very consistent effort, with honourable mentions for 'What You See is What You Are' , 'Grate Fire of London' and 'Improvisation'. And for sure the Ozric Tentacles picked up something from this bunch of Space-Heads. Quite essential. 4.5 stars.
Report this review (#91108)
Posted Friday, September 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A few cassette albums were in circulation before this or the 1977 floating anarchy LP but only among Gong fans perhaps one of these will surface in due coarse ( I must go through my old cassette collection) Certainly this represents their first studio LP. However this is a disappointing recording in many respects. As they moved away from free form space rock jamming around a theme and tried to become a more professional unit they lost a lot of their edge in my opinion. There are way to many vocals on this album and as they did not have a vocalist worth his salt this is a major problem. Kif Kif just doesnt do a good job. That aside the music is Ok here with some memorable moments"what you see " is almost a catchy number with a pretty good set of hooks. "nearer now" is quite a sad number but why I feel that way about it may not be obviouse on the surface. Here and Now are a very Niieve band at this point and still have illusions about a revolution and a alternative life style, this also makes this Lp quite hard to listen to in some respects. "fire of London" is a stab a doing a more gong like track but simply falls flat on its face. The vocals are OK but the sytnth was not good enough to achieve what they really wanted which was a Tim Blake like sound as it is the poor quality oscillators make the sound harsh and unpleasant."This time" This time I wont take no for an answer this time I wont take no LSD this time I'll try to work it out for myself man..This track may be the best number in so much as it starts the long road back down to reality that was so needed at the time. More punky and aggressive than anything else here it remains my favorite track on this LP. The rest of the record just seems to pas me by and is disappointing. As an example of an enthusiastic but armature band Here and Now certainly were one of the best of the working class groups on the Hippy circuit. More real in ever sense than Gong they shared a similar philosophy but instead actually live it out and played many free festivals and free tours. The strain of touring and living on a bus eventually got the better of them and later line up produced far more polished material. This record is worth buying as an example of the music of Here and Now at the time and a social document of Britain at the Start of the Thatcher era. Oh the LP also has a great little gimmick on the center label but I'll leave you to find out what I it !
Report this review (#92683)
Posted Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I will join to the 14% of collaborators that quoted this album with only 2 stars (Collectors/fans only). And I want say, that, even if PSYCHEDELIC/SPACE ROCK is not my favorite style of progressive music, I already checked good quotations for disks of the style, as for instance ELOY "Coulors" (4 stars), "Ocean" (4 stars) and INSTANT FLIGHT "Coulor & Light" (3 stars). However I cannot make the same to HERE & NOW (Give & Take"), although the disk presents great musical moments as for instance the guitar solo in the track 6 "Improvisation" that begins approximately 4 min, 48 seconds, however in this same track the passage that precedes the mentioned solo with a repetitive rhythm and with a vocal one feminine without t melodic sense, left me simply "displeased", as well as the initial passage of the track 1 "What You See Is What You Get ", only to mention some moments that didn't please me!. Although it recognizes the musicians' competence , I cannot give more than the already mentioned 2 stars.
Report this review (#493040)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Review Permalink

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