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GILGAMESH

Gilgamesh

Canterbury Scene


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Gilgamesh Gilgamesh album cover
3.86 | 105 ratings | 15 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. One End More / Phil's Little Dance - For Phil Miller's Trousers / Worlds Of Zin (10:20)
- a) One End More
- b) Phil's Little Dance - For Phil Miller's Trousers
- c) Worlds Of Zin
2. Lady and Friend (3:44)
3. Notwithstanding (4:45)
4. Arriving Twice (1:36)
5. Island Of Rhodes / Paper Boat - For Doris / As If Your Eyes Were Open (6:39)
- a) Island Of Rhodes
- b) Paper Boat - For Doris
- c) As If Your Eyes Were Open
6. For Absent Friends (1:11)
7. We Are All / Someone Else's Food / Jamo And Other Boating Disasters - From The Holiday Of The Same Name (7:48)
- a) We Are All
- b) Someone Else's Food
- c) Jamo And Other Boating Disasters - From The Holiday Of The Same Name
8. Just C (0:45)

Total Time: 37:04

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Alan Gowen / acoustic and electric piano, clavinet, synthesizers, mellotron
- Jeff Clyne / bass
- Phil Lee / electric and acoustic guitars
- Michael Travis / drums

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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GilgameshGilgamesh
Import
Esoteric 2011
Audio CD$11.23
$18.99 (used)
Another Fine Tune You've Got Me IntoAnother Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$10.83
$25.64 (used)
Arriving TwiceArriving Twice
Cuneiform 2000
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Vulgar Display OfassVulgar Display Ofass
Import
Phantom Sound & Vision 1996
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GILGAMESH Gilgamesh ratings distribution


3.86
(105 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
26%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
42%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

GILGAMESH Gilgamesh reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

One of the lesser known Canterbury Scene bands that churned out also a pair of albums before slowly fading away into the jazz scene, where most of the members originated from anyway. Lead by keyboardist Alan Gowen, the mostly-instrumental quartet also comprises guitarist Phil Lee, bassist Jeff Clyne and drummer Michael Travis, and also gets some vocal help from The Northette's very own Amanda Parsons (see Hatfield and National Health). This last addition is generally not a good news for me, because personally the trio's vocal prowess irritate my eardrums severely, and here, Mrs Parsons does the job all by herself. Produced by former Hatfield and Egg man Dave Stewart, the album was released in the summer of 75 and came with a fun but un-esthetical artwork featuring a "get-your-band-to-the-top" game that only makes sense on the vinyl size sleeve.

Musically, Gilgamesh is fairly close to the afore-mentioned Hatfield and MH bands, despite having less common musical members than those two. Gowen's wide array of then-current keyboards (fuzz organ and Rhodes mainly) is unsurprisingly the band's main feature, since he's the main composer (all but two tracks), but Phil Lee's guitar gives him some very powerful replies. As you'd easily guess with such a virtuoso band, Clyne and Travis are definitely holding their own in the rhythm section. Musically, the album is your typical JR/F with that no-less typical Canterbury twist, so the proghead should know exactly what to expect, although we're definitely sonically closer to the later-70's cooler and more aloof sounds, rather than the early-70's steaming hot sonic washes (ala Soft Machine), but a certain compositional twist, rather than improvisations. The track list includes three three-movement suites, but they are more like three normal compositions, voluntarily broken down to pieces for writing credit reasons, IMHO anyway. The A-side is somewhat more democratic in that regard, as Lee and Clyne manage to unweave Gowen's homogeneity, so present on the flipside, but the songwriting differences are not immediately striking.

This debut album had to wait 35 years (to my knowledge, anyway) before receiving a CD reissue (or any other kind for that matter), but Esoteric Records finally repaired this flaw, but didn't find any bonus, but provided solid liner notes (courtesy of the excellent Sid Smith, so Gilgamesh's debut is THE reference of the band, even if Cuneiform's Arriving Twice posthumous release is just as important to this writer's ears.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#2894) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 27, 2004

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was just a pleasure to listen to. I had heard and reviewed "Arriving Twice" which was a collection of songs recorded prior(1973- 1975) to this their debut album. It consisted mostly of songs that are on this album. To my ears they have really gelled and seem more confident as a band on this their debut record when compared to the earlier songs on "Arriving Twice". Dave Stewart produced it, and we have the pleasure of having Amanda Parsons from HATFIELD AND THE NORTH singing on two tracks. She would go on to sing on NATIONAL HEALTH's debut. The late Alan Gowen who would later hook up with Dave Stewart in the band NATIONAL HEALTH is truly the star here. He incorporates mellotron, piano, synths and clavinet to these beautiful songs. GILGAMESH offer up a smorgasbord of tasty, intricte sounds to satisfy the listener. One look at the long song titles and one knows that this has to be Canterbury music.

"One End More / Phil's Little Dance-For Phil Miller's trousers / World's Of Zin" has some mellotron in the intro followed by those intricate sounds meshed together that are just a delight. Great interplay ! The guitar 3 minutes in is a highlight. There is a change 4 1/2 minutes in as we get to "World Of Zin" and it's so soothing and relaxing for 6 minutes ! The guitar leads the way tastefully as Phil Lee does such a tremendous job holding back, yet in the end letting go with some soaring melodies.The drumming is intricate, and we get some female vocal melodies from Amanda. The piano is sprinkled in. Amazing ! "Lady And Friend" is mellow with keys and bass for 3 minutes except for one startling outburst. It ends with a louder sound with drums joining in. "Notwithstanding" is jazzy with some excellent piano, drums, bass and guitar interplay. I just have to shake my head at how tight these guys are. Mellotron comes in early and can't be missed.

"Arriving Twice" is a short 1 1/2 minute tune that is light and beautiful. "Island Of Rhodes / Paper Boat-For Doris / As If Your Eyes Were Open" is lighter to begin with but there is so much going on. The second part is similar but louder. Keys, bass and drums lead the way. The final section is where Phil breaks out some aggressive guitar melodies. Nice. "For Absent Friends" is a short acoustic guitar piece. "We Are All / Someone Else's Food / Jamo And Other Boating Disasters-From The Holiday Of The Same Name" features some angular guitar melodies in the first part. Liquid sounding keys and light drums as bass throbs. The guitar starts to get more upfront and passionate, as do the other instruments. The next section is almost funky before the final part 5 1/2 minutes in where Amanda is back singing those lovely melodies. "Just C" is a short piano piece.

The album cover had an actual game on it like "Snakes and Ladders" with numbered spaces, and comments on some of them telling you to go forward or backwards and why. Statements like "Payment after gig in cash ! Go forward 2 spaces".Or "Drummer late for gig. Go back 1 space". "Mobbed by groupies. Go forward 4 spaces". "Guitar player drinks 10 Carlsbergs. Disqualified from game". I could see people playing this back in the day. As for the music, i'm a big fan if you couldn't tell already. 4 solid stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#153448) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 01, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This would normally not be something I would like. My preferred taste doesnīt include jazzy canterbury rock tunes ( I like the Canterbury bands that are more rock than jazz like Caravan), but I must admit that Gilgamesh is pretty convincing. There are lots of fine moments on this album, and I am greatly entertained throughout the lenght of the album.

This is more jazz than rock though and the mood is pretty mellow and nice. Alan Gowen who plays various keyboards and piano on the album is the most outstanding musician in my opinion. He plays very subtle and intelligent notes. The other musicians are also outstanding. There are no vocals on the album, but it is one of those rare albums where I donīt miss them.

The sound quality is very good IMO and it helps to emphazise the outstanding musicianship.

To me this is a 4 star album, even though this is not my preferred style, I guess sometimes you find something in genres you normally wouldnīt like much that just stands out from the rest. Gilgamesh is very accesible and to me that is a plus. I would recommend this to people who like me are a little reluctant trying out the jazzy side of Canterbury.

Great album.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#159001) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2008

Review by Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If Gilgamesh fixes the position in Canterbury Scene, the flow might be very located closely to Hatfields. And, the existence of Alan Gowen is needed at the same time if talking about the music character of this band of course. Time when they had been formed was 1972. The history in the music of Gowen starts from the item of Jazz. And, Gowen participated in Sunship with Jamie Muir that belonged to Assagai. The flow develops into this Gilgamesh after passing twist and turn.

Gowen has received the audition of Hatfields at this time. To our regret, Gowen receives the sentence of failing in the audition. And, Dave Stewart passed the keyboard player of Hatfields. However, Stewart that joins the band evaluates the talent of Gowen high. Stewart might have been influenced from the ability in the composition of Gowen, too. Hatfields and Gilgamesh might have mutually had consideration. And, each other gave the listener the impression like the brother for the counterplan at that time.

The impression of the entire tune might be indeed light and be near the flow of Hatfields and National Health. The element of the suite like "We Are All~" receives the impression that Stewart took to Hatfields oppositely. The usage etc. of the chorus of Amanda Persons are indeed common to both. I think how for the fact that Stewart is related to the production of the album to have enhanced Canterbury Scene of this time. Gilgamesh is guessed that Canterbury Scene doesn't increase the thickness if this band doesn't exist naturally with fact Hatfields though integrates and flows to National Health.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#223525) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 28, 2009

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RPI
3 stars While Gilgamesh was never one of the central bands in the Canterbury scene it was perhaps most noteworthy because of its leader, the late Alan Gowen. He went on to form National Health, along with Dave Stewart of Hatfield And The North, as well as Soft Heap. Gilgamesh was also revived in the middle of these other projects, the first manifestation of the band having split shortly after the release of their self-titled debut album in 1975. This album is first and foremost a vehicle for Gowen's compositions, with his wide array of keyboards forming the bedrock of most of the tracks.

In effect, it's an instrumental work although guest Amanda Parsons adds some intermittent wordless vocals on a couple of tracks. While the standard of musicianship is top-notch throughout, with some members of the band having been mainstays of the London jazz scene, it's Gowen's keyboard skills that are the main focus of attention here. Nonetheless, extensive use is also made of Phil Lee's guitars with ''Worlds Of Zin'' providing one of his most significant contributions.

The whole Canterbury kit and caboodle is represented by the album's moments of whimsy and psychedelia and it's extensive instrumental excursions. I've seen this described as one of the more difficult Canterbury albums, although I'm not sure if I agree completely with that assessment. ''Notwithstanding'' and ''We Are All...'' are the most challenging jazz orientated tracks but in the main the album is fairly approachable with a mellow, calming vibe running through most of the tracks.

While you can download this album for the equivalent of a British fiver, until now if like me you wanted a CD version you'd have to pay through the nose for the Japanese import. However it's being released by Esoteric at the end of January and can now be pre-ordered at Amazon for a fraction of the cost of that import.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#369492) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 01, 2011

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Gilgamesh were never on the front of the Canterbury scene, even if their leader keyboardist Alan Gowen collaborated an some first class projects (as National Health, Hatfiled and The North and short-lived Soft Heap). And this band's debut is (in all the band could be described as Alan Gowen's solo project between or besides of his participation in other bands) good answer why.

Gowen is very competent keyboardist and he showed it on his collaborative recordings, but there he demonstrates his strong and weak point in whole. First of all, musically this album could be placed somewhere on very border of quite diverse Canterbury scene, while music there is quite lite and strait ahead jazz fusion, characteristic for some US-bands, or later Soft Machine's period. Gowen adds some melodic elements, but far not enough to fill the music with some content - too often pleasant sound starts in the middle of nowhere and goes to the same point in eternity.

Albums is easy for listening, but you will hardly remember even single composition or just memorable tune. It's rare example when the music, formally related with Canterbury sound, is so teeth-less and face-less. Even later Return To Forever so heavily criticized albums have more memorable songs (being much more pop-oriented). It possibly doesn't sound attractive, but possibly this album sounds a bit like Canterbury version of elevators music.

Possibly, Gowen needed in help of stronger composer, or just more personalized collaborators' work (most possibly -both). But as a result album, which starts as quite interesting release, very soon becomes just another average polished fusion collection.

Gowen's work almost in all other (non-solo) projects are much more successful. He will return to this project again later, but band's releases will never will reach high standard of leading Canterbury bands.

Still competent and pleasant listening for fans of Soft Machine's music from mid 70s.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#426009) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 01, 2011

Latest members reviews

5 stars I dont think that there excists any album with Alan Gowen that wouldnt be great. Gowen's recording career started with Gilgamesh in 1975, when their self-named debut was released. Gilgamesh is better and tighter than eg. Rotters Club. There's no attempt of a prog-epic like Mumps was, instead the ... (read more)

Report this review (#437382) | Posted by BrainStillLife | Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Gilgamesh is Alan Gowen's first band featuring mostly his compositions. All songs are instrumental and are heavily keyboard based as Gowen, the keyboardist is leading the band. The sound of the album leads mostly towards Jazz Fusion than Progressive Rock and is quite similar to the sound of Hatf ... (read more)

Report this review (#277164) | Posted by Utukku | Saturday, April 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Gilgamesh is regarded as one of the least accessible Canterbury acts. I have had the Gilgamesh albums in my record collection for the best part of one year without giving them a spin. Too jazzy/difficult, I thought. I was probably right because the music on this album is not easy to understand ... (read more)

Report this review (#249946) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm taking a stab at a band that is not necessarily part of the "canterbury fraternity". Gilgamesh, nevertheless, have ties with core canterbury musicians and it reflects in the sound of the album. Gilgamesh are stripped down production-wise like Soft Machine, without thier grit; they are presti ... (read more)

Report this review (#151681) | Posted by fragile43k | Monday, November 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I think that if Soft Machine had not called one of their best songs as "Slightly all the time" (Third, 1970) this would have been certainly the title of this fantastic album. Infact the sound stuff runs very slightly across all the tracks of Gilgamesh through a wonderful harmony and equilibrium.. ... (read more)

Report this review (#74342) | Posted by Gigi | Friday, April 07, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is another beautifully intricate album from the canterbury school sounding very close stylistically to Hatfield and the North and National Health, the main detectable differance to me being that this compositionally is a little closer to jazz fusion and it seems Alan Gowen composes longer ri ... (read more)

Report this review (#57225) | Posted by wooty | Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first work of GILGAMESH released in 1975 "Gilgamesh". The content is a Canterbury jazz-rock. It is a good work it keeps elegant and with technical and the humour, too. All tunes are instrumental. Personally, it very likes a graceful point because of a deliberate making crowding. Essential: ... (read more)

Report this review (#54461) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, November 02, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars one of the best exemple of the super smart progressive rock era.before everybody started to make music for money,there was a time in history when professional musiciens were experimenting to the limit of the possible in search of the real expression of oneself.unfortunatly it was to complicate ... (read more)

Report this review (#2896) | Posted by | Thursday, December 02, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A good showcase for Alan Gowens talents. His early demise was a loss. (His final release 'Before a word was said' is a great album). On this first Gilgamesh release it all sounds as if it was played on poor equipment, Nevertheless , it contains some great moments. Phil Lee is much mor ... (read more)

Report this review (#2895) | Posted by platform | Monday, March 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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