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GILGAMESH

Canterbury Scene • United Kingdom


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Gilgamesh biography
One of the premier bands to feature on the Canterbury scene, GILGAMESH was led by the extraordinary keyboardist Alan Gowan, before his premature death. The music is very intricate, and of course keyboard oriented. The first album is quite an excellent fusion prog effort with lots of great synth work from Gowan. recommended to fans of NATIONAL HEALTH or HATFIELD AND THE NORTH.

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GilgameshGilgamesh
Import
Esoteric 2011
Audio CD$10.48
$26.78 (used)
Another Fine Tune You've Got Me IntoAnother Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$10.55
$27.49 (used)
Arriving TwiceArriving Twice
Cuneiform 2000
Audio CD$10.14
$9.24 (used)
13's Reborn13's Reborn
Import
Imports 2006
Audio CD$30.64
$10.00 (used)
Another Fine Tune You've Got Me IntoAnother Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
Charly
Vinyl$63.00 (used)
Gilgamesh by Gilgamesh [Music CD]Gilgamesh by Gilgamesh [Music CD]
Esoteric
Audio CD$25.51
gilgamesh LPgilgamesh LP
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GILGAMESH shows & tickets


  • Bavarian Battle Winter 2015 on 10 Jan 2015

GILGAMESH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GILGAMESH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 108 ratings
Gilgamesh
1975
3.30 | 74 ratings
Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
1978
3.59 | 46 ratings
Arriving Twice
2000

GILGAMESH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GILGAMESH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GILGAMESH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GILGAMESH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

GILGAMESH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.30 | 74 ratings

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Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars Gilgamesh was among those Canterbury bands that never really made the grade in terms of popularity. Considering the band history, it would have been a miracle if they had. Led by keyboardist Alan Gowen (who had played jazz piano since the 60's, and a participant in the history of NATIONAL HEALTH as well), a gifted keyboardist and composer but who clearly lacked both certain leadership and a will to succeed commercially, it seems. Three years after the forming of Gilgamesh appeared the self-titled debut (1975), produced by Dave Stewart (Hatfield and the North) but the line-up broke even before the album reached the shops. Together with e.g. Stewart, Gowen founded National Health - and left them before finishing the debut album (1977). Then he started to write music for the next Gilgamesh album before he had a band at all.

Only guitarist Phil Lee plays on both albums besides Gowen himself. Drummer Trevor Tomkins was a jazz veteran, and Hugh Hopper is known as a SOFT MACHINE bassist. Gowen tells in the foreword of Another Tune that he prefers to compose for certain musicians and that all the musicians had shaped the final results. Also he informs us that he tries to write music where one cannot really tell the difference between composed and improvised parts. OK, you have already figured out that the music is more jazz than rock, haven't you?

The music bears some complexity but the overall nature is light and airy. Gowen often plays Moog. His keyboards don't steal the show: the emphasis is in the well-crafted band play. 'Waiting', however, is a solo piece for acoustic guitar (written by Lee, naturally). The music is unmistakably Canterbury but surely on its jazziest and the least rocky side. It perhaps lacks the wit and good humour you get in Caravan or Hatfield, instead there's a slight amount of melancholy even with the lightness of it all. The whole album is pretty enjoyable if you like jazz7fusion, but from the prog's point of view it's nothing spectacular. Both Hatfield and National Health have more to offer. Anyway, there has never been too much good British instrumental fusion and this is one of the finest albums in that area. 3½ stars.

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 Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.30 | 74 ratings

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Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The tragic death of Alan Gowen at the age of just 33 would rob the progressive rock world of one of it's more refined talents and ultimately overshadow a career that both promised and delivered much. A highly-skilled keyboardist and composer, Gowen's career would start with brief stints in both Afro-rock outfit Assegai and his own, short-lived jazz group Sunship, before joining the blossoming Canterbury movement during the early part of the 1970's. Like many of his peers, Gowen's membership with groups such as National Health and Gilgamesh was fluid - he would move between both several times for both artistic and financial reasons - yet the best of him would be seen in Gilgamesh, a complex, instrumental jazz-prog outfit that released two excellent albums of delicately-wrought music that, although retrospectively popular with both fans and critics, failed to make any serious commercial headway. Featuring guitarist Phil Lee, Soft Machine alumni Hugh Hopper on bass and drummer Trevor Tomkins, this 1978 release would be the second-and-final Gilgamesh album - and undoubtedly their most impressive - yet in truth it probably arrived far too late in the day to make any real impact on the then rapidly-developing music scene. The light jazz touch prevalent here is beautifully- executed, streaking through a series of lushly-realised compositions, yet with punk barking away it seemed that Gilgamesh were fighting a losing battle that no-one was really watching. The complexity of the music and the poverty of the musicians involved also made touring unrealistic, and Gilgamesh would dissolve before really getting the chance to shine. It's a sad tale as this was a band who deserved so much more, particularly as they were just as good as any of their fellow Canterbury contemporaries, groups such asCaravan, Soft Machine, National Health & Hatfield & The North. However, despite the lack of success you shouldn't be put off. 'Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into' is a dazzling jazz odyssey, and an album that should definitely be investigated by all classic prog lovers. Here's to you Alan. You deserved so much more.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.30 | 74 ratings

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Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Like Gilgamesh's first album, Another Fine Tune presents a version of Canterbury that is technically proficient and competently composed, but lacks sparkle, emotion or energy - it's very well-mannered music that doesn't really accomplish much beyond being pretty. Alan Gowen's keyboard work is probably the big draw, though National Health fans may find this somewhat tame compared to that band's debut. Hugh Hopper's presence sets the groundwork for his further collaboration with Gowen on Two Rainbows Daily, but the presence of him on bass here doesn't really change the band's sound that much compared to the previous album.

Apparently, Gilgamesh were only reassembled at this point in time as a rehearsals group rather than a band seriously intending to perform for audiences, and this rather joyless release kind of exemplifies that - this is music produced for the sake of producing music, rather than music produced for the enjoyment of listeners.

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 Gilgamesh by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.88 | 108 ratings

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Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

Review by BrainStillLife

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 there are three smaller 7-10min entirety's (One End More, Island Of Rhodes, We Are All) all of which are instant 5-star pieces of music. Lady and a Friend and Notwithstanding are also excellent 3-4min songs. Lady and a Friend starts with a calm and beatiful acoustic guitar play by Phil Lee and builds up to the end whereas Notwithstanding starts as energetic as possible. The rest of the album consists of two acoustic-guitar pieces by Phil Lee (Arriving Twice and For Absent Friends) both of which last about a minute. The album ends with a piece by Gowen called Just C. This could mean either Just See or then the fact that this one minute piece consists only of c-major and menor-chords repeated by an acoustic piano. In my opinion this album is far from jazz-fusion but it isnt quite prog either. It's pure Canterbury Scene. I dont think that Gowen counted himself as a jazz musician because of his musical ambitions. His and Gilgamesh's music was far too broad to be counted merely into jazz-fusion. There are hints of classical music and blues which blend this album.

Excellent album!

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 Gilgamesh by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.88 | 108 ratings

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Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

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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 Gilgamesh by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.88 | 108 ratings

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Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

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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 Gilgamesh by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.88 | 108 ratings

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Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

Review by Utukku

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 Hatfield and the North or National Health, the later band also featuring Gowen and his compositions. It is a classic "Canterbury" sound - Long compositions, complex rhythms and time signatures, the marriage of Jazz, Rock rhythms and classical music.

The album is not easy to get into, like most canterbury jazzy rock, but veterans of the genre and fans of the Hatfields and National Health will appreciate it immediately. Newcomers will need some getting used to. It is totally worth the effort though.

Alan Gowen is an important figure in the Canterbury family of musicians and bands. He later went on to form National Health and collaborated with many of the other Canterbury musicians.

In short, an album that reflects the jazzier sides of an already very much jazz oriented scene. It belongs in anyones Canterbury Scene collection!

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 Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.30 | 74 ratings

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Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A Chomp at Canterbury

Historians speculate that Gilgamesh may have been a Sumerian king who reigned circa 2700 BC and entered the realm of legend by virtue of erecting a huge city wall to protect his subjects from external threats. I like to think that the citizens of Nippur would have been eternally grateful to their prescient monarch for being fortified against invading armies, pestilence, Jehovah's Witnesses, insurance salesmen and wandering gangs of Canterbury minstrels with long hair, synthesizers, a fondness for pipe tobacco and interminable jazzy noodling.

(Bring out yer deaf)

Were Progressive Rock to be brought to account for some of the earshot wounds inflicted on a listening public, the cells would surely be bulging under the intake of those criminals from the soft white underbelly of Fusion. For every upstanding and law abiding Gong, National Health, Billy Cobham, Mahavishnu, Fermata and Colosseum there are legions of their sinister darker brethren still at large and wanted for a litany of war crimes against aesthetic sensibility e.g. Chick Corea, Return to Forever, Pat Metheney, the Crusaders, Al Di Meola, Santana and Herbie Hancock (the latter's 80's rap sheet would even bring a blush to Snoop's canine cheeks)

It goes without saying that you cannot bluff your way through a genre as demanding as the fusion critter as the only entry qualifications I can detect are a shed-load of chops and a thimble full of memorable hooks. Which brings us to the 2nd album by Gilgamesh from 1978 (or if you prefer m'lud, Exhibit A) The nod to the delightful Laurel and Hardy as evidenced by the title is particularly ironic, as there is scarcely a prat-fall, chuckle or fine tune to be had throughout the entire po-faced and grievously earnest 39 minutes. I have to say this must be some of the blandest and most anodyne music I have heard in a long, long while and makes the likes of Kenso and Passport seem positively visceral and borderline industrial in comparison. It's entirely one paced and seamlessly uniform from start to finish e.g. practically every track doggedly conforms to the same design: a couple of minutes of tastefully understated noodling at circa 85 bpm followed by a unison passage disguised as a completely tangential theme (of sorts) before the lads continue on their unwavering and unhurried way. The playing is faultless but why does tasteful often result in the paradox of no discernible flavour? Give me tasteless any day of the week, I might even remember that, as I cannot for the life of me recall a single melodic fragment from this entire piece of 'off-white' wallpaper muzak.

Some of the textures are attractive with Alan Gowen's airy Fender Rhodes, Hugh Hopper's sumptuous bass and a beautifully recorded kit sound from Trevor Tomkins, but Phil Lee's faux jazz guitar tone is bereft of even a smidgen of personality or warmth. Similarly, the synth sounds employed by Gowen are strictly Camembert Electric.

By way of mitigation, it is probably Lee who provides the best track on the album, in the guise of his delicate solo acoustic guitar vehicle Waiting. Underwater Song does feature a dazzlingly inventive drum intro from Tomkins but his cohorts reward this fleeting gap in the clouds with yet another gentle rinsing of Canterbury drizzle. Foel'd Again is redolent of some of the eastern european folk modes employed in the music of Bartok and Janacek but at under two minutes it never gets the chance to be anything other than merely tantalising.

Although I love Hatfield and the North, early Soft(er) Machine, Khan and Kevin Ayers, I really couldn't recommend Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into to anyone apart from a far right of centre, hard-line, hard-nosed Fusion/Canterbury completist. (or an insomniac)

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 Arriving Twice by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.59 | 46 ratings

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Arriving Twice
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars This is a collection of recording sessions which never made it into one of the two official studio albums. Leftovers, in other words. I did not have any high hopes. I was in for a surprise.

Where the two official studio albums was pretty introverted (as in Soft Machine's world), this one is much more open and accessible. The music is also pretty different from the two studio albums. The music in Arriving Twice is a blend of jazz and jazz-rock. The music here is more Mahavishnu Orchestra than Soft Machine in this respect. This is first and foremost Phil Lee's album. His lenghty guitar solos is let loose on several of the tracks where the two studio albums was more Alan Gowen and his keyboards dominated. Thankfully, Alan Gowen is very much present on this album. But he and Phil Lee have a more equal role when it comes to solos and instrumentations.

The quality is pretty high throughout. Again, it lacks some really good tracks. Some of the guitar solos is a bit too overpowering when less could had been more. I happens to like the two studio albums and I am not too pleased with this change of style. But this is still a very good album. It can be argued this is the best Gilgamesh album too. I am entirely convinced. But I really like this album.

Gilgamesh was an excellent band which deserve more recognition. That is my view after completing the reviews of their three albums.

3.5 stars

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 Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into by GILGAMESH album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.30 | 74 ratings

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Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into
Gilgamesh Canterbury Scene

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Another fine album from Gilgamesh.

This sadly ignored band included the likes of Hugh Hopper (released from Soft Machine) and Alan Gowen. Both was sadly taken away from us far too early. Alan Gowen's excellent contributions to this album just reminds me how much this world misses him. Check out his fabelous playing on Play Time and you will get my point. Alan Gowen was more or less the leader of Gilgamesh. He was also the leader of National Health. Those who knows National Health should really purchase all Gilgamesh album. The music here is pretty similar to National Health......... with a couple of differences. This album is much more keyboards focused and laid back than the first two National Health albums. Gilgamesh is much more jazz than jazz-rock. They are also much more jazz than National Health, Hatfield & The North and Soft Machine.

Play Time is an excellent track. So is Bobberty. The rest of the material here is good, but sadly a bit anonymous. This is not rock. This is silent contemplation. This is a good album, but nothing more than that. I still rate Gilgamesh very highly and will listen a lot to this album during the next decades.

3 stars

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