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Bill Bruford's Earthworks

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Bill Bruford's Earthworks Dig? album cover
2.76 | 38 ratings | 3 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Stromboli Kicks (5:34)
2. Gentle Persuasion (4:22)
3. Downtown (5:50)
4. Pilgrim's Way (for Jess) (6:24)
5. Dancing on Frith Street (4:20)
6. A Stone's Throw (6:07)
7. Libreville (6:10)
8. Corroboree (4:48)

Total Time 43:35

Bonus tracks on 2005 reissue:
9. Emotional Shirt (live) (4:59)
10. Pigalle (live) (6:58)

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Bruford / electronic drums, chordal drums, Continuum keyboards, acoustic drums, percussion
- Django Bates / tenor horn, pocket trumpet, keyboards
- Iain Ballamy / soprano, alto, baritone & tenor saxophones, didgeridoo
- Tim Harries / fretless & acoustic basses

Releases information

CD Editions EG - EEGCD 60 (1989)
CD Summerfold Records - BBSF 010 CD (2005) with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BILL BRUFORD'S EARTHWORKS Dig? ratings distribution

(38 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (53%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Dig? Not so much.

This is a competent jazz album, but not very special, and certainly not very much progressive qualities to it. Like on all of Bruford's Earthworks albums, The disk features many songs where the amazing drummer not only plays the rhythms on his drums, but he also sets up the entire mood with his tuned electronic pads. Unfortunately, in all but a few sections, the rhythms and moods he lays down are not very compelling, leaving much of the disk to sound like background music.

The good tracks here are "Dancing On Frith Street", a song that benefits from constantly changing styles, and the upbeat "Libreville".

This is for light electric jazz lovers, not prog fans.

Review by Kazuhiro
2 stars "Three Of A Perfect Pair" that King Crimson had announced in 1984 was able achievement.. to face it really enough for the band the part of the purpose and the necessity of the activity. Directionality and the idea of the music that King Crimson in the 80's has might have progressed with order by the slogan hang exactly out by Robert Fripp. Order and the methodology that had been given to the band for the part of the performance existed and, of course, were reflected in the work.

Order and the idea of King Crimson in the 80's were reflected in the performance of the member of the band. It might have remarkably shown the result of having begun to think that the answer to order and the directionality of King Crimson was derived for Bill Bruford. However, the technology and the theory might have raised the quality of his name with the establishment of an exactly great leap and performance when considering it along with the situation for Bill Bruford compared with the activity after the fact and 1984 activities in bands other than King Crimson in the 70's.

The idea and the root of Bill Bruford were demonstrated enough in the order of King Crimson that had been done in the 80's. He is a boast as the drum player of King Crimson. And, the degree of freedom of Bill Bruford that knew the element of good Improvisation of King Crimson and carried it out and the side of flexibility were expressed enough by the performances such as "Neurotica" and "Indiscpline". Of course, the nucleus of those elements will have been a part of Jazz/Fusion of the base of Bill bruford.

As for the activity of Bill Bruford after 1984, the activity of music mainly composed of Jazz/Fusion was remarkable by contraries. The act and the necessity of nature might be had both of course for Bill Bruford and it be advanced. Well versed in electronic percussion. And, it flows to his improving the ability of the composition since the 70's. And, it recurs to Jazz. The listener can discover these elements for Bill bruford to be reflected enough in the activity in the latter half of the 80's.

Participation of album of David Torn name announced from ECM in 1986 in "Cloud About Mercury". And, it participates in "The Spice Of Life" about the album that Kazumi Watanabe of a Japanese guitar player announced in 1987. The performance of Jazz/Fusion that united Bass player's Jeff Berlin and rhythm section for Bill Bruford by the old friend in this "The Spice Of Life" and caught the age was developed as Trio. "The Spice Of Life 2" is announced like the organization of this Trio in 1988. Bill Bruford might gradually contribute to musicians and be admitted also in the field of the composition.

The root of Bill Bruford and the element of the base developed greatly originally at this time. This "Earthworks" might have existed as a start where he concretely showed those elements as an expression of music. It is a well-known fact that this band is one part of the life of music after Earthworks announces the debut album in 1987 for Bill Bruford. And, he was answering the interview at this time. 「I am not performing by thinking about the drum of Rock and the drum etc. of Jazz. My existence is exactly put on music and it expresses it. 」 His of this remark might be exactly proportional to the music character of Earthworks. And, they might have offered the meaning of this album as an element for Earthworks to demonstrate the expansion of the width of the power of expression of this album enough. And, the performance that Bill Bruford had done in "Bruford" of own band was voluntarily made remarks, "At that time, the idea was packed too much" recollecting it. The ability leaps as a composition of Bill Bruford in the band. And, the part where the subject was put on the harmony of the band while making the root of his music a base might appear remarkably. Iain Ballamy etc. of Django Bates and Sax player who was active by "Loose Tubes" might contribute and the performance by the musician with whom the talent overflows also contribute enough to the band.

"Stromboli Kicks" twines round the construction of the melody with the electronic percussion the melody that Sax is complex. The originality of Earthworks might go out of the tune. Solo of Tenor Horn twines round a steady rhythm and the dash feeling is kept. The tune expresses the idea of the tune well though it shifts to a quiet part on the way by the theme visited again.

The melody that there is a humour in twining of a gentle wind instrument exists together in "Gentle Persuasion". The element of a little Latin is added to the tune and the tune shows various respects.

"Downtown" is Jazz/Fusion with the melody of beautiful Sax. The melody of the keyboard that shines in Solo of Sax twines.

"Pilgrims' Way" is a tune with the element of the ballade. Might the sound of the keyboard feature. And, the impression of the tune is decided to the sound of Sax in close relation to everywhere.

In "Dancing On Frith Street", the rhythm that puts the theme and fast and slow with unique is a feature. Sax in close relation to a steady rhythm also expresses the tune well. The rhythm has a lot of developments. It corresponds as Sax and the keyboard to answer it have flexibility.

The feature in "A Stone's Throw" is to flow. shift from the part of Free to a beautiful melodyThe part of good Jazz has been introduced while multiusing a complex rhythm.

As for "Libreville", the melody to answer Afro's rhythm has acted on the tune well. It reacts with the sound of the keyboard where coming in succession of the wind instrument shines, too. The tune shifts to complete Jazz/Fusion attended with a suddenly intense rhythm. Solo of a heavy keyboard twines round the development of Chord with the tension.

"Corroboree" progresses with a heavy, quiet flow. The part of abstract has an experimental element. The tune progresses from the part of the intro attended with a mysterious melody. The tune contains originality.

Earthworks at this time had boldly introduced the sound with diversity Jazz/Fusion was exactly made a base. And, the band establishes one directionality by a further perfection of member's replacement and the music character.

Review by fuxi
3 stars DIG has been undeservedly maligned by the critics. Wherever you look, reviews rarely sound more than lukewarm, which is why I've postponed buying and listening to the album until now - almost a quarter century after it first appeared. It may not exactly be a first recommendation among Earthworks albums, but if you're already familiar with the band, it ought to interest you.

In my opinion there have been four distinct peaks in Bill Bruford's career: (1) The early years with Yes, which led to albums such as FRAGILE and CLOSE TO THE EDGE; (2) the early years with King Crimson, when John Wetton was in the band; (3) the two albums featuring Allan Holdsworth, Dave Stewart and Jeff Berlin; (4) the second incarnation of Earthworks, which resulted in A PART, AND YET APART and FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY-FREE. Of course these peaks aren't ALL that can be said about Bill's career. The first U.K. album and King Crimson's DISCIPLINE are brilliant as well, and the very first incarnation of Earthworks (whose second studio album DIG was) has its charms, if only because Django Bates is probably the most gifted and idiosyncratic keyboards player Bill ever worked with, Iain Ballamy is an utterly adorable saxophonist, and Bill's own experiments with electronic percussion are never less than interesting.

Two things struck me about DIG. First of all: the overall mood is very close to (and seems inspired by) mid- period Weather Report. Most of the music feels bright and carnavalesque, and Ballamy's sax is strongly reminiscent of Wayne Shorter's. Secondly, apart from 'Gentle Persuasion' it's hard to find strong or memorable tunes. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why people don't particularly like the album. (Please note 'Gentle Persuasion' itself is so delightfully poppy jazz snobs will be horrified - but also note its highly lyrical sax solo.) Take the closing number, 'Corroboree'. It sounds utterly weird, and if it had appeared on FEELS GOOD TO ME or ONE OF A KIND, it would have been the prelude to one of Bill's great "symphonic" climaxes, with Allan H's electric guitar blazing away. Only, in this case there's no climax, the prelude is all you get, and the piece stops suddenly, without warning. Album over. So what else have we got?

Well, there's still a lot to admire! 'Stromboli Kicks' is wonderfully mischievous jazz, with a delightful pocket trumpet solo from Django Bates. 'Pilgrim's Way' and 'Libreville' are based on joyful ostinato patterns provided by Bill's electronic percussion; both tunes feature wonderfully wayward electronic keyboard solos. 'Dancing on Frith Street' is a unique opportunity to hear B.B. play ska. "A Stone's Throw" is an unremarkable ballad, but it features a beautiful piano solo and a superb saxophone-led finale... In fact, the more you listen to this album, the more riches you discover. Believe me, this really is an album where you need to DIG.

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