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A.F.T.

Automatic Fine Tuning

Heavy Prog


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Automatic Fine Tuning A.F.T. album cover
3.69 | 24 ratings | 7 reviews | 29% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Great Panjandrum Wheel Pt.One (14:25)
2. Gladioli (4:41)
3. The Great Panjandrum Wheel Pt.Two (15:45)
4. Queen of the Night (3:49)

Total Time 38:00

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Paul A. MacDonnell / guitar
- Robert Cross / guitar
- Trevor Darks / bass
- Dave Ball / drums, vocals

Releases information

Charisma CAS 1122

Thanks to Atavachron for the addition
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Automatic Fine Tuning	 - A.F.T.Automatic Fine Tuning - A.F.T.
Import
Sunrise
Audio CD$19.99
Automatic Fine TuningAutomatic Fine Tuning
Audio CD$19.99
S/T LP (VINYL ALBUM) UK CHARISMA 1976S/T LP (VINYL ALBUM) UK CHARISMA 1976
CHARISMA
Vinyl$37.57 (used)
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AUTOMATIC FINE TUNING A.F.T. ratings distribution


3.69
(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
29%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
29%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

AUTOMATIC FINE TUNING A.F.T. reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Absolutely brilliant one-time project from this mostly instrumental foursome released by Charisma in 1976, the dual guitar lines of Paul A. MacDonnell & Robert Cross, bass and drums of Trevor Darks and Dave Ball weaved together neo-classical metallics in a way no one had yet attempted - save Brian May - and predates Michael Schenker's Bachian fugues, Uli Roth's Paganini chops and Yngwie's chiming compressed harmonics by several years. 'The Great Panjandrum Wheel' parts 1 and 2 encompasses nearly a half hour and makes up the bulk of the album, a hugely ambitious undertaking for a quartet of headbangers in '76, and is jam packed with slippery, painfully well-conceived harmonies, laserbeam tech guitar bravado, heady time signatures, and reliable, unobtrusive rhythm from Darks and Ball. 'Gladioli' has more contrapuntals and playful constructs and the record continues to cook, smoldering along with rarely a slow or unsure moment, always surprising, and would quite easily hold its own against the lot of Baroque-style hard rock. A must for almost any faithful Progmetalhead or Prog Metal historian, hearing AFT is like discovering someone did Psychedelic rock before Syd Barrett was walking.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#182004) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 08, 2008

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Criminaly underrated band and album in my opinion, delivering some of the most stunning heavy prog albums of the decade. The album was released in summer of 1976 and was not a comercial succes, not by far, because the band tried and succeded to gather all the neo-classical and barock arrangements with heavy prog elements in one single unit - Automatic Fine Tuning - the response from the media and public was minor, so they disbanded soon after and they gone almost unnoticed by many prog conoseurs and heavy prog lovers - the mid to late '70's prog was no longer something to talk about . The album was way ahead of his time delivering some superb guitar chops made by Paul A. MacDonnell and Robert Cross very very intristing for that time, very strong harmonics and smooth arrangements on 6 and 12 strings, aswell as the guitar duel between them leaves no comments, excellent. The rytmic section was provided by Dave Ball on drums who also done the vocal parts on Queen of the night and Trevor Darks on bass. The album sounds close to what Yngwie Malmsteen or Joey Taffola done, but they've done it ten years after AFT, that means AFT influenced some musicians from later decades. Great barock hevy prog album with smooth harmonics, great musicianship. AFT has 4 pieces , one of them is divided in two - The Great Panjandrum Wheel part 1&2, more than 30minutes of real feast for all listners, the cherry on the cake here, the rest are aslo very strong. This album sounds so original that even after 30 years is still present and is a real pleasure to listen to, one of my fav albums ever. Recommended to everyone intrested in discovering heavy prog of the highest calibre with a vintage sound. This band was a big discovery for me and has a special place in my collection, very funy and intristing art cover too. 5 stars for sure for this treasure of the '70's

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#182779) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2008

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars NEENER-NEENER-NEE! 3.5

Sometimes, one wonders why one writes reviews. In the case of Automatic Fine Tuning's essentially eponymous (and sole) album, I feel as though this was a challenge from my reviewer brethren. After all, how could I, the Whistler, NOT Ian Anderson, someone NOT known for his brevity, possibly write a whole review about this album? It's short; it's not even forty minutes long. It's very samey; these guys really milk the ole "heavy pork" style. And, it all sounds the same...

Well, I've got a good start. After all, I just burned up a paragraph talking about myself. But, on to the music. Automatic Fine Tuning was basically four dudes who utterly ripped off Iron Maiden a few years before that band's invention, so that takes guts. I know it all sounds the same, but if you like that whole "undying riff-fest" thing, then do I have a treasure from the vault for you...

Starting off on an un-ambitious foot, the band kicks into gear with "The Great Panjandrum Wheel, Part One." It's largely what it sounds like...if the name conjures up about fifteen minutes of instrumental classical/medieval riffage. Don't get me wrong though, these lads know their stuff. The rhythm section is very professional, but your attention will doubtlessly be won by the twin guitar attacks. It's the guitars that lead the track, constantly changing the speed and the riffing so that you never get bored.

Call me crazy, but my favorite bit of noise on this thing is "Gladioli." It's slightly shorter than "Panjandrum," about ten minutes shorter in fact. But the speedy lil' Mozart inspired (?) riffage is just so darn CUTE that I can't help but commend it. Humor is something that the classical/medieval metal genre is often lacking, purposeful humor at least, but "Gladioli" delivers.

But when that old familiar riff starts up again, you know that you're in for "The Great Panjandrum Wheel, Part 2." Is it more of the same? You betcha, right down to the time. Is it just as good? Uh-huh. In fact, it's better, quite a bit better, because it's even more varied, with guitar tones poppin' outta all angles, and the bass and drummer get to make use of the faster tempos to show off a bit more.

After the rushing climax of "Panjandrum 2," it's odd that we turn in a totally different direction to finish this puppy off. "Queen of the Night" is a much more bluesy number, with the guitar tone sounding almost like a harmonica this time around. And it has LYRICS! SUNG lyrics no less. Fancy that. Unfortunately, they turn out to be a cross between fairly pedestrian Gothic imagery, and some more pedestrian...barroom imagery? Family these guys are not.

And that's about it. The riffs are good, if never terribly memorable. No, this is not music for humming along. It doesn't create any particular feelings, or cast any specific mood. It doesn't show off shocking skill of guitar, bass and drums. It's just...an art metal groove, seemingly designed for the pretentious headbanger in all of us.

So where does that leave us? With a very interesting band. It's easy to see why these boys never hit it big time; they might be Iron Maiden dreams with High Tide technology, but they lack the latter's atmospheric impact and the former's songwriting. Still, I imagine that's why the band collapsed: one foot in the seventies and one in the eighties realms of metal does not a stable lineup make (and don't forget a quick glance to the sixties! There's a definite psycho influence to this affair).

But, any fan of guitar based heavy rock is going to find this thing interesting. The twin guitarists, Paul MacDonnell and Robert Cross, are both quite skilled six stingers, and the variety of pedals and devices they use ensure that their instruments are able to ape harmonicas and church organs very nicely (for the best example, pay close attention to "Panjandrum 2;" I swear to God that thing sounds like a violin at one point!).

Naturally, their sound is going to make one draw a lot of associations: everyone from Brian May to Martin Barre to Tony Hill to Steve Hackett to Robert Fripp to...I dunno, Django Reinhardt and Keith Emerson and your uncle Leo. Even if it's not very memorable, it is by no means unpleasant, and anyone who is a fan of loud, structured jamming with a proggy bent will find something to love. In fact, it IS a pity that the band did not survive. Another album perhaps, and their nascent songwriting genius might have been unlocked, or at least we could have gotten a live album out. Considering the period, and what kind of a band this must have been, a live document would have been invaluable.

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Send comments to The Whistler (BETA) | Report this review (#184238) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Review by Wicket
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Classic Rock + 70's Era Prog + Jams = Awesome

While this entire disc only comprises 4 songs (two of which are about 14-15 mintues long), it feels a lot longer. And while there is no song structures, per se, it just seems to feel constructed, ordered, planned. Many guitar solos featured throughout this disc start mainly to feel like a free-flowing improvisation, but once you get into the two-part "Great Panjandrum Wheel", it's too long complex to feel like improv.

That's sort of the majesty about this disc. It still feels like good ol' fashioned classic rock from the mid 70's, yet it's complex, long and sort of sophisticated enough to plant a firm foot in the realm of prog rock. It's an interesting disc that sort of plays to both tastes, which is perfect for me because I'm a fan of both genres. Prog rock fans can enjoy the long songs and the semi- complex nature of it, classic rock fans can enjoy it because it is a pure translation of that 70's hard rock sound in prog form and jam band fans can love it because, well, it is essentially a 39 minute long jam disc.

Which is fine for me.

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Send comments to Wicket (BETA) | Report this review (#566215) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 11, 2011

Latest members reviews

3 stars Make no mistake about it, people. This is pretty much the definition of a guitar-oriented album. If you're the sort of person who dismisses Steve Vai or Al Di Meola and their ilk on the basis that they utilize too much technicality and not enough "soul", then you'll probably not like this albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#640468) | Posted by Dr. Judkins | Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I guess this album is one of those who polarise the opinions on PA and among music lovers in general. It has got five stars and now; my two stars. Please let me explain.... This music reminds me a lot about the musical approach The Shadows had to their music. They too were pretty Paganini in ... (read more)

Report this review (#256413) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, December 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Found this LP in a record store,4 bucks,couple of weeks ago.Read about A.F.T. on this site,never heard of them before,I was also atracted by Charisma label,one of the best in prog circles.Music have pretty raw fell,like it was recorded live in studio in just one take,basicaly one 40 plus minute ... (read more)

Report this review (#183891) | Posted by ljubaspriest | Saturday, September 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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