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NUCLEUS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Nucleus biography
If SOFT MACHINE was a rock group that veered towards jazz rock, NUCLEUS can be seen as a jazz group that veered towards jazz rock, as most musicians were clearly jazz musicians with the notable exception of Chris Spedding (yes, Mr. motocycle-punk/Chameleon-man of rock). If a comparison of those two groups can be made, it is also obvious that NUCLEUS became a nursing ground for those musicians before joining SOFT MACHINE (around ten musicians did the transfer). They were signed on the famous progressive Vertigo label and the first two superb artwork album sleeves were designed by Roger Dean.

NUCLEUS was trumpet player (and confirmed jazzmen and biographist) Ian Carr's project and the its discography is rather confusing with the different designations as some were called "Ian Carr's Nucleus", "Nucleus With Ian Carr" or simply "Ian Carr" (but with all NUCLEUS members playing). This is hardly meaning that he was the main writer, main influence or main soloist. Many outstanding musicians contributed loads of material among which Karl Jenkins, Jeff Clyne, Chris Spedding, Alan Holdsworth, Brian Smith & Dave MacRae. Their music was of a frantic instrumental jazz-rock much alike some Miles Davis jazz-rock of the same era. Loads of wind instruments, but KB and a wide place for the guitarist (Spedding's guitar is superb and grandiose while self-restrained). Clearly the groundbreaking essence of NUCLEUS is best heard on the early albums as the later albums only managed to repeat the formula but not evolving much. Nucleus lasted as a touring unit until the early 80's and then reformed on the odd occasion since. Alas, early 2009, Ian Carr left us for proggier pastures, leaving behind an important aural and written oeuvre.


:::: Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium ::::

Not only is NUCLEUS warmly recommended to later SOFT MACHINE, but to all jazzrock/fusion fans and also Canterbury prog buffs.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
A reference in Jazz-rock circles and clearly of interest to later SOFT MACHINE fans.


Discography:

ALBUMS:
1970 Elastic Rock
1971 Solar Plexus
1971 We'll Talk About It Later
1971/2003 Live In Bremen
1972 Belladonna
1973 Labyrinth
1973 Roots
1974 Under The Sun
1975 Alleycat
1975 The Snakehips Etcetera
1977 In Flagrante Delicto
1979 Out of the Long Dark
1980 Awakening
1985 Live at ...
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NUCLEUS Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy NUCLEUS Music


Elastic Rock / We'll Talk About It LaterElastic Rock / We'll Talk About It Later
Import · Remastered
BGO Records 2002
Audio CD$11.97
$20.07 (used)
In Flagrante DelictoIn Flagrante Delicto
Import · Remastered
Bgo - Beat Goes on 2003
Audio CD$104.84 (used)
Alleycat / Direct HitsAlleycat / Direct Hits
Import · Remastered
Bgo - Beat Goes on 2004
Audio CD$11.40
$12.72 (used)
NucleusNucleus
Axis UK 2010
Audio CD$8.30
$7.06 (used)
Live in BremenLive in Bremen
Cuneiform 2003
Audio CD$15.47
$15.43 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Nucleus 1975 Snakehips Etcetera LP WLPromo Jazz Funk Prog Ian Carr VG+/NM US $9.99 [0 bids]
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Nucleus Torn Golden Age Empyrium Death in June Orplid Alcest US $6.99 [0 bids]
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Nucleus Elastic Rock Australian vinyl LP album record 6360008 VERTIGO 1970 US $193.48 Buy It Now 12h 13m
Nucleus Torn Golden Age CD (UK Import) NEW US $17.78 Buy It Now 15h 9m
Nucleus Labyrinth vinyl LP album record UK 6360091 VERTIGO 1973 US $73.02 Buy It Now 16h 45m
Nucleus We'll Talk About It Later - WOC vinyl LP album record UK 6360027 US $214.24 Buy It Now 18h 20m
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NUCLEUS Under The Sun VERTIGO RECORDS 1974 progressive jazz rock UK PRESSING NM! US $98.95 Buy It Now 20h 24m
IAN CARR'S NUCLEUS Roots VERTIGO RECORDS 1973 jazz prog rock NEAR MINT UK press! US $98.95 Buy It Now 20h 26m
Ian Carr's Nucleus LP: Out of the Long Dark- VG+ Play Tested Jazz Rock US $9.00 Buy It Now 21h 32m
NUCLEUS TORN - KNELL - NEW CD US $21.53 Buy It Now 22h 5m
HALL & OATES NUCLEUS 1984 LP 33 RPM SEALED US $49.97 Buy It Now 23h
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NUCLEUS TORN - NIHIL [NUCLEUS TORN] - NEW CD US $21.63 Buy It Now 1 day
Nucleus Snakehips Etcetera vinyl LP 1975 Sire US $75.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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NUCLEUS - THE PRETTY REDHEAD / BBC SESSIONS US $21.58 Buy It Now 1 day
SONNY ROLLINS MOVING HORN MADNESS NUCLEUS Sealed 6 LP SET W/ RARE STICKER ISSUE US $249.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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NUCLEUS - ALLEYCAT / DIRECT HIT NEW CD US $29.24 Buy It Now 1 day
IAN CARRS NUCLEUS - Labyrinth - GATEFOLD VINYL LP US $87.21 Buy It Now 2 days
Nucleus + Ian Carr 1974 UK Concert Programme Queen Elizabeth Hall VERTIGO US $6.63 [0 bids]
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SARACEN "NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS" RARE VINYL 7" SINGLE - EX/EX NUCLEUS - SAR1 US $1.64 [1 bids]
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O.V. WRIGHT Nucleus Of Soul JAPAN 70'S LP W/OBI NIPPON COLUMBIA BACKBEAT OV US $49.99 [0 bids]
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NUCLEUS TORN - ANDROMEDA AWAITING - PRO107CD US $23.36 Buy It Now 2 days
NUCLEUS TORN - TRAVELLERS - PRO108CD US $23.36 Buy It Now 2 days
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Nucleus-Under the Sun UK Vertigo jazz prog lp Ian Carr US $90.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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NUCLEUS - UK Tour `76 (2cd-NEW) ft. Ian Carr US $11.61 Buy It Now 2 days
NUCLEUS & PARADOX - THIS SIDE OF FOREVER/DECOMPOSITIONS (VINYL LP VG+/VG) US $10.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Nucleus - Snakehips Etcetera LP - Vertigo Jazz UK press - NM US $19.99 [0 bids]
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NUCLEUS MACADONIA HE-775 CD US $7.36 Buy It Now 3 days
ANEKDOTEN - NUCLEUS (VIRTA 002) (REMASTERED PLUS BONUS TRACK) CD US $13.99 Buy It Now 3 days
YT - REVOLUTION TIME LP MUNGO'S HI FI + NUCLEUS ROOTS ?? US $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Nucleus-Solar Plexus + Belladonna UK prog jazz 2 cds RM US $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Dawnbringer - Nucleus (NEW CD) US $20.34 Buy It Now 3 days
Nucleus Torn - Andromeda Awaiting (NEW CD) US $26.98 Buy It Now 3 days
Nucleus Torn - Travellers (NEW CD) US $26.98 Buy It Now 3 days
Nucleus - Alleycat/Direct Hits [CD New] US $13.87 Buy It Now 3 days
IAN CARR WITH NUCLEUS Labyrinth 1st PRESS VERTIGO Kenny Wheeler Norma Winstone US $83.07 Buy It Now 3 days
NUCLEUS (UK) - ELASTIC ROCK/WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER - NEW CD BOXSET US $17.84 Buy It Now 3 days
IAN CARR'S NUCLEUS - IN FLAGRANTI DELICTO LP - CAPITOL RECORDS US $24.99 Buy It Now 3 days
VICTOR M Made In Brasil JAPAN REISSUE LP NUCLEUS BRAZIL FUSION JAZZ BOSSA US $9.99 [0 bids]
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VICTOR M Made In Brasil 2 JAPAN REISSUE LP NUCLEUS BRAZIL FUSION JAZZ BOSSA US $9.99 [0 bids]
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Nucleus vinyl LP album record Elastic Rock - VG - 2nd UK 6360008 VERTIGO 1970 US $89.64 Buy It Now 4 days
Nucleus We'll Talk About It Later - VG UK vinyl LP album record 6360027 US $131.17 Buy It Now 4 days
Nucleus Solar Plexus New Zealand vinyl LP album record 6360039 VERTIGO 1971 US $496.69 Buy It Now 4 days
Nucleus - Alleycat/Direct Hits CD US $24.88 Buy It Now 4 days
Nucleus Torn - Nihil CD Pop Rock US $24.64 Buy It Now 4 days
Nucleus - Live In Bremen CD Pop Rock US $26.80 Buy It Now 4 days
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Dawnbringer - Nucleus CD Pop Rock US $18.70 Buy It Now 4 days
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Rhythm Invention Crunch 12" Nucleus 1992 US $14.94 Buy It Now 4 days
IAN CARR & NUCLEUS PLUS LABYRINTH MINI LP CD OBI US $11.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Nucleus live concert London 28th March 1999 very small mini poster print A5 US $24.91 Buy It Now 4 days
TENHI Hallavedet EP1998 Sol Invictus Sun Of The Sleepless Nachtmahr Nucleus Torn US $25.00 [0 bids]
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IAN CARR w/NUCLEUS Solar Plexus deluxe LTD 180gr vinyl jazz prog kraut experim US $34.99 Buy It Now 5 days
A FOOT IN COLDWATER Make Me Do Anything 45 VG++ US 1974 Nucleus Elektra 45224 DJ US $11.98 Buy It Now 5 days
Carlos Garnett Cosmos Nucleus Muse 5104 White Label Promo US $88.88 [0 bids]
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NUCLEUS TORN-Golden Age CD NEW US $21.77 Buy It Now 5 days
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IAN CARR'S NUCLEUS, In Flagranti Delicto 1st pressing 1 matrix EXCELLENT- UK LP US $46.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Ian & Nucleus Carr - Labyrinth/Roots CD US $20.54 Buy It Now 5 days
Nucleus - Pretty Redhead [CD New] US $17.16 Buy It Now 5 days
Nucleus + Paradox - Neoteric - Estoretic Promo LISTEN US $8.29 Buy It Now 5 days
NUCLEUS ORIGINAL 1970 VERTIGO U.K. LP ELASTIC ROCK US $290.75 Buy It Now 5 days
nucleus: nucleus CD US $14.90 Buy It Now 5 days
NUCLEUS (UK) - LIVE IN BREMEN - NEW CD BOXSET US $17.12 Buy It Now 5 days
Carr, Ian Nucleus/In Flagranti Delicto/LP vinyl record/vg++ US $29.99 Buy It Now 5 days
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Nucleus - Solar Plexus LP EX 1971 Vertigo Italia cat. 6360 039 US $145.00 Buy It Now 5 days
O.V. Wright Nucleus of Soul Backbeat 67 Stereo Mint Original In Shrink Deep Soul US $125.00 Buy It Now 6 days
Nucleus Torn - Andromeda Waiting [CD New] US $17.30 Buy It Now 6 days
NUCLEUS SNAKEHIPS ETCETERA LP JAZZFUSION PROG FUNK SYNTH '75 PROMO WLP orig sire US $44.00 Buy It Now 6 days
Nucleus - Quicksand [CD New] US $13.14 Buy It Now 6 days
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Nucleus Torn - Golden Age [CD New] US $18.05 Buy It Now 6 days
IAN CARR NUCLEUS ELASTIC ROCK ~ UK VERTIGO SWIRL JAZZ LP 1970 1ST PRESS 2/1 1/2 US $323.98 Buy It Now 6 days
NUCLEUS TORN - NIHIL NEW CD US $30.76 Buy It Now 6 days
NUCLEUS TORN - GOLDEN AGE NEW CD US $33.06 Buy It Now 6 days
DAWNBRINGER - NUCLEUS NEW CD US $21.97 Buy It Now 6 days
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NUCLEUS TORN - ANDROMEDA WAITING NEW CD US $30.76 Buy It Now 6 days

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NUCLEUS shows & tickets


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NUCLEUS discography


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

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

3.96 | 71 ratings
Elastic Rock
1970
4.30 | 161 ratings
We'll Talk About It Later
1970
3.94 | 37 ratings
Solar Plexus
1971
3.80 | 30 ratings
Belladonna
1972
4.02 | 8 ratings
Chris Spedding - Songs Without Words
1972
3.58 | 34 ratings
Labyrinth
1973
3.40 | 23 ratings
Roots
1973
4.01 | 16 ratings
Under The Sun
1974
3.16 | 20 ratings
Snakehips Etcetera
1975
3.25 | 13 ratings
Alley Cat
1975
3.04 | 7 ratings
In Flagrante Delicto
1977
3.07 | 19 ratings
Out Of The Long Dark
1979
3.11 | 9 ratings
Awakening
1980
3.13 | 11 ratings
Old Heartland
1988

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

3.05 | 2 ratings
Live At The Theaterhaus
1985
4.45 | 9 ratings
Live In Bremen, 1972
2003
3.07 | 5 ratings
THe Pretty Redhead: Live At The BBC 1971 & 1982
2003
3.13 | 5 ratings
UK Tour '76
2006
3.98 | 7 ratings
Hemispheres
2006

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

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

4.00 | 3 ratings
Direct Hits
1976
3.81 | 12 ratings
Elastic Rock/ We'll Talk About It Later
1995

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

NUCLEUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Roots by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.40 | 23 ratings

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Roots
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Finding enough superlatives to describe the music of Nucleus has become a real problem for this writer, and 'Roots', the groups fifth studio album, continues the trend. Issued on the Vertigo label during 1973, 'Roots' had some tough acts to live up to, namely Nucleus' ground-breaking debut 'Elastic Rock'(1970), the incendiary complexity of sophomore release 'We'll Talk About It Later'(1971) and the fiery fusion of the same year's 'Solar Plexus'. And this wasn't even the first Nucleus album of 1973, the group had already issued the funky 'Labyrinth' earlier in the year, yet it maintained the high standards set by the first three Nucleus albums and even helped the Ian Carr-led outfit develop their sound further, as they gradually headed into faster and more fluid areas of jazz-rock. Simply put then, 'Roots' really is a fine album. Those who have taken an interest in both Ian Carr and Nucleus will know that this was a group with a high membership turnover, and the revolving door policy partly explains the high quality of the music on offer. With so many great musicians playing alongside Carr over the years, its no surprise to find that each Nucleus album has it's own significant character, it's own quirks, styles and it's very own sound. For 'Roots', Carr was augmented by the likes of Brian Smith(sax, flute), Dave MacRae(piano), Roger Sutton(bass) and Clive Thacker(drums), none of whom featured on 'Elastic Rock', and with only Smith, MacRae and Thacker retained from previous release 'Labyrinth'. Vocalist Joy Yates, guitarist Jocelyn Pitchen and Brazillian percussionist Aureo Da Souza also feature, and the overall line-up lends 'Roots' a deep percussive groove which in turn provides the perfect foundation for the fiendishly complex rhythmic zig-zags cooked up by the ensemble players. This makes for a strangely hypnotic quality throughout, and the album's stand-out cuts, which includes the opening title-track and the excellent seven-minute 'Southern Roots & Celebration', rank alongside some of the finest Nucleus material of the decade. Of course, the key is Carr himself, a band-leader/trumpeter with exceptional organisational ability who seems blessed with an ability to get the best out of the musicians around him. An elegant and gutsy jazz-rock album, 'Roots' is yet another chapter in the exciting story of Nucleus and Ian Carr, and just like it's predecessors, comes highly recommended to all fusion freaks. Excellent. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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 Snakehips Etcetera by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.16 | 20 ratings

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Snakehips Etcetera
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Key exponents of classy jazz-rock, Ian Carr's Nucleus burst onto the British rock scene sometime during 1970 with the release of their dazzling debut album 'Elastic Rock'. Featuring Carr on trumpet, guitarist Chris Spedding and future Soft Machine leader Karl Jenkins, the music of Nucleus was both versatile and exciting stuff, the group capable of playing the most fiendishly-difficult blend of genre's, both on record and in the live arena. Despite a series of line-up shifts, between 1970 and 1975 Nucleus issued a series of excellent studio albums, with 'Elastic Rock' followed by 'We'll Talk About It Later' and 1971's 'Solar Plexus'. Featuring a multi-faceted hybrid of fusion styles and psychedelic sounds and textures, yet always underpinned by a strong jazz core, these first three records represented Nucleus at their most progressive and experimental, before 1973's 'Labyrinth' saw the onset of a slicker and funkier style. After 'Solar Plexus', an album billed under the heading of Ian Carr & Nucleus, the original line-up of Carr, Spedding, Jenkins, saxophonist/flautist Brian Smith, bassist Jeff Clyne and drummer John Marshall began to fragment, Spedding going solo and Jenkins joinng up with Soft Machine. By now the de-facto leader, Ian Carr would issue the group's next album, 1972's 'Bella-Donna', under his own name, before switching to yet another moniker - Nucleus with Ian Carr - for the following year's 'Labyrinth'. The group's fifth album overall, 'Labyrinth' opened up a new chapter in the Nucleus story, as Carr and company started playing a brand of jazz-rock influenced less by rock and more by funk. 'Roots'(1973) and 'Under The Sun'(1974) would continue the formula, before 1975's 'Snakehips Etcetera' saw Carr as the only original member left, the trumpeter now augmented by keyboardist Geoff Castle, saxophonist Bob Bertles, bassist Roger Sutton, guitarist Ken Shaw and drummer Roger Sellers. Featuring some truly striking artwork, 'Snakehips Etcetera' remains arguably the strongest of Nucleus' jazz-funk albums, yet it would also be the last Nucleus album of note in an impressive five-year run of releases. Many musicians would play on these albums, yet at the very core of the group was Ian Carr, a trumpeter and arranger of real skill. 'Snakehips Etcetera' may not have been the greatest of Nucleus albums, yet it proved the final piece in Carr's wonderful sonic puzzle of expertly-crafted jazz- rock. Alongside Soft Machine and If, Nucleus represent the very apex of British jazz-rock. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

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 Elastic Rock by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.96 | 71 ratings

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Elastic Rock
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by VOTOMS

3 stars Nucleus was a Britain progressive jazz rock band. Released 1970 under Vertigo label, this is a smooth jazz/fusion.

After 1916, a short opening move with killing drums, comes the title-track, Elastic Rock, smooth and funny. The clean guitar and the calm mood is very relaxing and still interesting. Striation is very avant-garde (unfortunatelly short), obviously my favorite part. Taranaki start as another smooth jazz, moving slowly to Twister track, where the band goes more dynamic and active from the middle of the track. Crude Blues intro is very quiet, so the song begins, a jazzy jam with blues chords backgrounds, but not repetitive, very pleasent. The progression of the track follows til' the ending of the A side, 1916 (The Battle of Boogaloo), a song presenting repetitive guitar riff with an experimental wind instrument chorus, sometimes dissonant. The B side starts with Torrid Zone. I really like this track, the guitar chords, the smooth background, the sax and stuff playing weird, it's everything alright. The piano chords increases the deep feeling of the song. So we have Stonescape, a slow and short track, nothing special there. Earth Mother is cool, I like to hear the wind instruments screaming high notes. The guitar work at the second half of the track is very outstanding, and the end of the track follows to Speaking For Myself, Personally, In My Own Opinion, I Think... a drum solo, which one is slowly fade out. And the last track, Persephones Jive is the most active and happy track of the album, without lose the smooth feeling. Very good! Elastic Rock (debut) is not their masterpiece, but it's still very good!

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 Labyrinth by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.58 | 34 ratings

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Labyrinth
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

3 stars Temporarily lost in the Labyrinth.

NUCLEUS have been one of my fave bands for decades. Oddly, this album has escaped my attention for much of that time and I only managed to track it down in recent years. Perhaps there was a reason for that?

At this point, bandleader Ian Carr finds himself without a band as half of the previous members have defected to SOFT MACHINE. A leading British composer/musician. Carr had no problem with finding replacements. He is also very good at getting grants that help with getting over the odd glitch.

The release of this album was perhaps rushed as the end result appears to be somewhat underdeveloped. The musicianship is excellent - as always - but the compositions just don't stack up, lacking the collective input of a well established band.

It's more of a Carr solo project than NUCLEUS as we've known the band. The title "Labyrinth" is apt as the result appears to be directionless, A few steps this way, a few steps there, still searching for an exit.

Special mention is due to the featured singer, Norma Winstone, who has previously collaborated with Carr in 1969. Her beautiful and sensual voice is either overused here on a few tracks, or should have been a feature throughout the whole album.

Contrary to the talented musicians, this is the weakest album Carr has released. Thankfully, by the time he gets to the next work "Roots", we are back to more familiar territory that befits the band much more.

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 We'll Talk About It Later by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.30 | 161 ratings

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We'll Talk About It Later
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Argonaught

3 stars I have been reading the We'll Talk About It Later reviews and wondering why my opinion is so dramatically different from that of the others.

The reviewers have used all kinds of superlative expressions - passion, apex, pinnacle, sizzling-hot .. I don't recall anything like this? I tried a few albums of Nucleus a while ago and found them, frankly, uniformly toothless and lacking in vitality and eloquence. The We'll Talk About It Later is no different from the previous one or the following one.

I don't even know if any of the British-based jazz musicians of the 70s could make it into the category of what I'd call "genuine fusion" (with the exception of the most excellent Harry Beckett). It's not due to their lack the skills or methods of expressing themselves; they just didn't, obviously, have anything to express that was of any interest to me.

Instead, I'd categorize this album, along with If and Bill Bruford solo albums into the subgenre of their own .. don't have a good name for it at the moment .. but it wouldn't have any superlative adjectives in it :)

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 We'll Talk About It Later by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.30 | 161 ratings

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We'll Talk About It Later
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Though I think the last two compositions on the album are rather spoiled by the inclusion of vocals, We'll Talk About It Later is still a very confident and capable follow-up to Elastic Rock, with Nucleus continuing to practice their own distinctive style of fusion. Debate over whether or not they had any influence in their early material from In a Silent Way or Bitch's Brew aside, by this point they're very much ploughing their own furrow, developing a style of jazz-rock which would end up having a glancing influence on late-phase Canterbury bands such as Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, National Health and, of course, the later Soft Machine albums.

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 Elastic Rock by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.96 | 71 ratings

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Elastic Rock
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Before listening to Elastic Rock I confess I hadn't had any prior experience of Nucleus, and tended to think of them as "that band which most of the late-period Soft Machine lineup came from". I suspect that my distaste for the later Soft Machine albums ended up delaying me dabbling in the world of Nucleus, but Elastic Rock has forced me to think again. Ian Carr's trumpet is the secret ingredient which makes the whole experiment gel, but all the band members turn in good performances and offer an interesting Bitches Brew-influenced take on fusion which tends towards shorter, snappier tracks than most of the fusion crowd were working with at the time. Whilst I still think the amalgam of Soft Machine and Nucleus didn't quite work, I find the original Nucleus a much more tasty proposition.

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 Belladonna by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.80 | 30 ratings

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Belladonna
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars "Belladonna" is the end product of the first upheaval in Nucleus' storied career, and as par for the course of cheeky British humor, the title refers to a deadly poison that can either kill or cure! The previous album Solar Plexus had already instituted some alternative directions, a jazzier approach with less rock and less Chris Spedding guitar with Ian Carr doing all the songwriting, leaving Karl Jenkins to play more and not write. Both these gents would leave, with Allan Holdsworth and Dave MacRae now joining the core. The rhythm section has been completely revamped as well, au revoir Messieurs Clyne and Marshall, welcome Roy Babbington and Clive Thacker. Add guest pianist Gordon Beck and percussionist Trevor Tomkins and boom, a new line-up! Wholesale changes can be a perilous move but the makeover succeeded in maintaining a certain fusion sound which was still in its infancy stages, searching for its own fold in the rock clouds. "Belladonna" is a new chapter in the Nucleus progression and one I simply find irresistible and like my co- conspirator mellotron storm, this is my fave after the eminence of "We'll Talk About it Later".

The title track lifts off from the ramp and ventures forward on a 13 minute plus excursion into the fusion laboratory, slithering Trevor Tomkins (of future Gilgamesh repute) percussives flirting with the mellifluous trumpet from Mr. Carr. If an example is needed to convey the importance of the bass guitar in a jazz-rock context, one of my all-time favorites Roy Babbington provides the rationale with a funky and incessant bass pattern that is inexorably affixed to the streaming beat, forcing the various other instruments to latch onto the groove and play to their hearts content. The windblown instruments gust ferociously while Holdsworth's fretboard scratches below the surface, lying in wait as his lunge will happen later, all the antagonists bulging into an organized form of cacophony that is just beguiling. When the sonic clouds part towards the end and give way to a gentle breeze that recalls the intro, there is a sense of lusty sensuality that parallels the music, oozing a certain afterglow that comes after good loving.

"Summer Rain" is another laid back piece where the sensational e-piano mirrors the sound of droplets hammering at the windows, roving bass and obedient drums carve out a cool rhythm that showcases Kiwi Dave MacRae's fabulous mastery of the evocative keyboard instrument. Inspiring to say the least, torturing a piano into believing it's a synth!

"Remadione" continues on the same brilliant principle, after a brief intro that has no forewarning of the upcoming deluge, the lads kick into a muscular attack, Babbington's rugged bass lighting up the stage for Holdsworth to finally show is considerable mettle, where speed and technique are welded together by emotion, proof of what a stellar guitarist he was and would continue to become.

"Mayday" has the urgency of a horny teenager, mindboggling guitar wristings that moisten the dissonant platform, Brian Smith's sax blaring like some allegedly unwilling partner but in fact, in heat from the start. This is real good music, kids!

Wondering why I salivate at the mere mention of Babbington? Well "Suspension" proves it without pomp or circumstance, as this one take masterpiece proves, the man just treats his discreet instrument like a leader, non content to merely follow like good lad. He sets the tone. When one has such a perfectly groomed highway to travel on, it comes to no surprise that Carr delivers his finest trumpet solo ever. Unreal impressions of utter glee.

To close off this complete masterpiece, "Hector's House" has by now the band gunning on all cylinders, a well-oiled Nucleus (pffff! That was easy) of dedicated performers, creating timeless music where the whole is just as good as the solo parts but when Holdsworth takes aim, his machine-gun playing is truly remarkable, a preface of things to come. Descriptive? Fast, heavy, metallic, fluid and just plain devastating.

There are rare times when giddy laughter takes over as I listen to some marvel and it's not derogatory at all. Au contraire, the panicky laugh is just a defense mechanism rooted in disbelief. Nucleus does that to me, in so many different ways and for so long now, reminding me that like Bach, Mozart, Bartok or Liszt, good music is a timeless reflection of one's innermost feelings and as such a welcome relief to our judgmental, cold and hypocritical daily routine.

5 undisputed pretty ladies

PS This one is for you John Davie!

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 Solar Plexus by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.94 | 37 ratings

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Solar Plexus
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Solar Plexus is the third Nucleus album (now titled Ian Carr with Nucleus) and it is clear that a shift has occurred with Carr taking over songwriting duties from Karl Jenkins. The sound therefore is quite different, heavier predisposition to the brassier elements of jazz as well as a hint of experimental tones as the synth heavy "Elements I and II" display and reprised through the course of this recording.

This shift is proven guilty by reason of insanity on a title like "Changing Times" where things get oblique, funky and jazzy with a lesser dependence on Chris Spedding's guitar work and more on a trumpet/sax onslaught, bringing in mercenary brass cavalry courtesy of Kenny Wheeler and Harry Beckett to help out on Ian's blowing interventions. Huffy Puffy!

On the sensational "Bedrock Deadlock" the brooding majesty of Jenkins' oboe and Clyne's mournful contrabass (would that be the French term for an upright acoustic bass?) merge as a unified lament that affords a sensible podium for the soloists to explode into a vortex of exalted playing, another example of what makes Nucleus so timeless. I would dearly love to hear music like this in a jazz-club in 2012, wow what a mind blast that would be! ("You see darling? That's a wah-wah pedal, Yes, it's crazy, iznit! ).

Things get expertly mental on the free spirited "Spirit Level", very wayward jazz with no apparent structure or melodic spine, a theme that would define certain aspects of the nascent British Jazz-rock scene. Everyone gets to show their chops, a roving spotlight that shines a smoky hue on each performer, Marshall in particular contenting to percuss instead of drum, presenting a sensitive side to his otherwise muscular playing (I saw him live, one word = nasty!). The rock is jazzy sand on this tune, so be prepared for the dissonant and the angular! "Torso" is back to the upbeat, propulsive Nucleus attitude that made the first 2 albums outright classics, good and fast playing by all, some camouflaged bass groans from Clyne that snipe from below the drum underbrush, this is scintillating stuff that deserves a rewiring of one's jaw! All of this is fortified by a polyrhythmic drum solo that will once again confirm Marshall's undisputable talent.

The disc boldly closes with an epic 15 minute barrage of cool," Snakehips Dream" , a sexy musical broad with slithering thighs that seduces the listener into this suave groove that seems timeless like only good lovin' can be. I guess with all the horny horns blazing, this music may be conducive to some form of aural lust. This is ultimately the essence of Nucleus' hold on the prog world, being crafty physical brain music, with freedom and structure, emotion and brawn with a hint of audacious sensuality. Simply fantastic, once again but not as vital as the first 2 Nucleus jewels, mainly because Spedding is awfully quiet here.

4.5 ribbed cages

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 We'll Talk About It Later by NUCLEUS album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.30 | 161 ratings

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We'll Talk About It Later
Nucleus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Nucleus' second album has been hailed by many as a masterpiece of British jazz-rock and I can only fully concur! The parameters were set with the 1970 debut Elastic Rock and the same crew kicks it up a notch on 'We'll Talk About it Later', released the same year. Well, it's time to talk about it NOW! What an incredible and timeless piece of music this is! Tighter than a Republican Tax legislator, the flow of tidy compositions wreak impossible pleasure to the unaware audiophile, dense tapestries of brassy sound from the sax, oboe and trumpet, raucous guitar friction from axe God Chris Spedding and a taut rhythm section that steers the music brazenly forward. Even after 40 years, the material resonates with shimmering grace and elegance. Many ensuing bands listened fixedly and were duly inspired by the brilliant tunes laid down on this vital recording.

Blastoff with a rollicking Karl Jenkins composition 'Song for the Bearded Lady' which would be remodeled on the 1974 Bundles album as 'Hazard Profile 1', a pervasive riff that seeks to hypnotize and make comfortably numb, featuring some Ian Carr trumpet magic, Spedding's sexy guitar moans and some propulsive drumming from John Marshall, perhaps the most underrated drummer in prog. Thrill seekers will get their jollies here.

For those who worship the bass guitar altar, 'Sun Child' provides a Jeff Clyne platform to rumble front and center, seduced by some scintillating collective brass work, funky wah- wah guitar that defies logic and possessed drumming. Sounds a lot like Roxy Music's 'the Bogus Man' but without the synthesized Eno gloss!

'Lullaby for a Lonely Child' coils out like a jazz reprise of ELP's 'Take a Pebble', a gently, serene and percussive heavy piece that shudders and trembles with suave enchantment, giving lieu to some more Carr lung work.

The monumental title track is a protracted bluesy jam that launches Spedding's guitar into deeper experimental expanses, letting all the soloists exploit their talent and inner muse to the hilt, thus creating an audio cacophony of utter urgency, something Led Zeppelin would do on 'Dazed and Confused', for example.

The colossal 'Oasis' reveals in the course of its near 10 minutes the band's ability to seduce with atmosphere and not just chops, a sonic sanctuary where Brian Smith's sulfuric saxes, Jenkins' opulent oboe and Carr's trumpet and flugelhorn, all coalesce into a mesmeric refuge of sound . This is assuredly the jazziest piece yet, with a more obvious Miles Davis inspiration. The Clyne/Marshall duo deal out some fine work, thus cementing the loosey-goosey improv into relaxed heights of accomplishment.

'Ballad of Joe Pimp' offers vocals that rekindle thoughts of early King Crimson and to a certain extent some of Zappa's oblique fixings or even a lighter version of Black Sabbath (the riff). Just tremendously creative stuff!

'Easter 1916' is a jazz-rock adaptation of Yeats poem of the Irish uprising that ultimately led to some nasty executions. Musically, the powerful political emotions are delivered by some furious sax explosions and hyper polyrhythmic drumming from John Marshall who proves his mettle without a pause of any kind (his wrists must be sore as he takes this one home!). The mood is frenetic, raging, brittle and desperate. Unreal!

A masterpiece and timeless monument of contemporary rock music.

5 chatty cores

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