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Motor Totemist Guild


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Motor Totemist Guild City of Mirrors album cover
4.24 | 18 ratings | 2 reviews | 35% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tower of London (2:59)
2. Scarfnet Herrin (14:56)
3. Narcotic Lollipop (13:32)
4. Prudes Vs Libertines (4:42)
5. Bixby Slough (28:11)
6. Blood in the Tower (3:06)

Line-up / Musicians

- Emily Hay / voice,flutes
- Curt Wilson / voice on 1
- Vinny Golia / clarinets,saxes
- Lynn Johnston / clarinets,saxes
- Eric Johnston-Tamai / bassoon
- George McMullen / trombone
- Jerry Wheeler / trombone
- Bridget Convey / keyboards
- Jeremy Keller / guitar
- Brad Dutz / marimba,vibraphone
- Hannes Giger / contrabass
- Joseph Berardi / drums on 2,3,5
- David Kerman / drums on 1,6, percussion
- James Grigsby / computer, surrogate baton

Releases information


Thanks to avestin for the addition
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MOTOR TOTEMIST GUILD City of Mirrors ratings distribution

(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MOTOR TOTEMIST GUILD City of Mirrors reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Where do I start with this one ? James Grigby from U TOTEM is the mastermind behind this complex and adventerous album. What inspired him to create this work was an American band leader from the 40's named Stan Kenton who pushed the envelope back in the "Swing Era" with his different ideas about music. He had a massive 40 piece band perform a piece called "City Of Glass" which was unique in Big Band literature. Not Jazz or Classical but a blend of different styles. So this is sort of James' tribute to "City Of Glass" some 50 years later and obviously in Grigsby's unique style. He has a 14 piece band here including the great Emily Hay on flute throughout and vocals on one track, while Dave Kerman adds percussion throughout and drums on two tracks.Yes this really is a blend of Jazz, Classical, Chamber Music with lots of Avant passages as well.This really is an album that will keep me challenged and scratching my head for years to come. The album starts and ends with two accessible tracks that I enjoy so much. Everything in between leaves me shaking my head in amazement.

"Tower Of London" has all those intricate sounds with male vocals. Such an enjoyable listen. "Scarfnet" is where Emily sings. A long track that changes and evolves throughout. Different styles come and go here. I particularly like it from before 7 minutes (where we get some crazy horns) to the end. Great tune. "Narcotic Lollipop" opens with piano as horns toot away. It turns more powerful although the tempo and mood continue to change a lot. Jazzy with bass and horns 3 minutes in. More of a Chamber Music flavour as it settles after 6 minutes until around 10 1/2 minutes when the horns start to blast. "Prudes Vs Libertines" features different sounds that come and go. We get a rhythm after 3 minutes. Intense 4 1/2 minutes in as the song ends.

"Bixby Slough" is the over 28 minute live epic. It includes the band members being introduced late. One of my favourite parts is when he's finished the introductions everyone in the band lets loose and we get this onslaught of sound then it ends. It opens with lots of atmosphere, almost eerie really, even spacey. It turns experimental and dissonant then settles around 7 minutes. Haunting background noises before 10 minutes then the sound picks up and gets fuller. People in the band start yelling 11 1/2 minutes in, then we get some insane horns. It's jazzy 13 1/2 minutes in with bass and horns. It sounds pretty bizzare a minute later. Introductions 22 minutes in. "Blood In The Tower" is like the instrumental version of the opening track.

Not for everyone of course, but I know Logan and Avestin are fans of this record and you can add me to that list too. 4.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This creation by James Grigsby is a very distinct one, even in RIO terms. It's written for a large ensemble that features a lot of wind instruments among other things. The first and prominent thing that come up to the ears right from the start, is the alternation between serious, 20th modern c ... (read more)

Report this review (#252138) | Posted by ShW1 | Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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