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Kotro View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 11 2008 at 10:38
Originally posted by prog4evr prog4evr wrote:

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

...Heat Of The Moment...

 
 
I highlight, "Heat of the Moment," because, on Steve Hackett's live album in Japan (recorded 1996, I think), John Wetton does an unplugged version - acoustic guitar and singing - of this song, and it really sounds good!  Besides the fact that I despise Asia's debut album, that's all I wanted to say...
 
Really? I find it even cheesier and more embarrassing than the original, despite Steve's excellent playing... LOL


Edited by Kotro - November 11 2008 at 10:40
Bigger on the inside.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 11 2008 at 17:02
Originally posted by prog4evr prog4evr wrote:

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

...Heat Of The Moment...

A couple of irritating pop moments?  Try the whole album!  What a waste of great prog talent.  They could have been a great prog collaboration band, but...
 
I highlight, "Heat of the Moment," because, on Steve Hackett's live album in Japan (recorded 1996, I think), John Wetton does an unplugged version - acoustic guitar and singing - of this song, and it really sounds good!  Besides the fact that I despise Asia's debut album, that's all I wanted to say...


About that...

I felt that the original Asia were simply a great rock/pop band, who pulled off a couple of decent prog-tinged songs (Open Your Eyes, especially) as well as a load of good non-prog ones. Whether it's 'prog' or not hasn't ever factored in my musical taste really. I'd say that it was a perfectly good use of pop writing talent and playing talent, but... maybe that's just me...

That they weren't Yes mk. II has never bugged me (and besides, people need to remember the year... this wasn't a supergroup formed directly after ELP, Yes and King Crimson's glory years... they were never going to be as trailblazing as the bands they'd previously been in... I figure that if they'd tried a pure 'prog' album, it'd have ended up pretty mediocre and forgotten by now) I felt they made the right choice in making good pop/rock, because they wanted to. Sure, if you object to that on principle, fine, your choice, but just because they weren't 'prog' doesn't mean they automatically weren't good.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 13 2008 at 14:08
Review , Nadir's Big Chance, Peter Hammill, 1974

Just before the big reunion of Van Der Graaf Generator for the amazing Godbluff, Peter Hammill gathered up and recorded this selection of essentially pop/punk songs in so distinctive a fashion that it seems to have caught on quite well with his more eclectically-minded fan base. Naturally, the playing from Banton, Evans and Jaxon is fantastic, and Hammill's vocals are simply incredible. The lyrics are, of course, thoughtful and well-written even when the general effort appears to be to put out a simple album. Every song is memorable, moving at times, and some are extremely effective. Perhaps the best chunk of the album is the balladic material in the middle (Been Alone So Long, Shingle Song and Airport), though Open Your Eyes and the title track are equally impressive in their own way. All in all, not a must for any progressive music fan, but a solid addition for anyone who loves Hammill's voice and lyrics or is secretly quite fond of progressive pop. Sure, it's not a breakthrough or forty minutes of near-perfection, like a couple of Hammill's albums, but certainly not a bad way to spend however much a CD costs in your part of the world.

Nadir's Big Chance is a rather bizarre break with anything Van Der Graaf Generatory, bursting through with an insistent rhythm, somewhat aggressive and growling vocals from Hammill, complementing the general guitar-playing, chair-smashing lyrical feel. Evans provides a good beat, Jaxon scrails away in a whirl of soloistic flair that initially had me uncertain of whether it was a guitar or not (hey, I'm still not entirely certain at times). The bass is a constant rhythmic pull, and adds a couple of extremely neat higher-level flourishes. The lyrics, though a tad buried by the general loud aggression of the piece, are great fun, and fit the piece perfectly (gonna scream, gonna shout, gonna play my guitar/Until your body's rigid and you see stars).

A Guy Evans militaristic drum-roll segue leads us onto the quirky The Institute Of Mental Health, Burning, which features more excellent playing, particularly on the menacing bass and/or piano notes. An acoustic sort of tags along with the vocals, initially, while Hammill's vanishing-into-mid-air electric tones trade ideas with Jaxon's stonking sax. A complex piece, with a lot of cool melodies crammed in as well as unusual melodic effects, but also quite catchy in its own way ('Can't call the fire brigade, none of them have been paid'). This track is the essential one for the serious Van Der Graaf Generator fan, being a bit more in their vein than the other stuff on here.

Open Your Eyes is another punkier number, with some general banter opening it together with a couple of fairly basic layers of organ from Hugh Banton. A spattering of good humour comes off nicely, conveyed by a trademark Peter-Hammill-Sounds-Nothing-Like-Peter-Hammill vocal. The lyrics fit well, though song's whimsical nature sort of necessitates them not dominating the song too much. Banton's stabbing organ throughout the piece is a force of considerable rock, as is the electric shunted in under a splintering Jaxon take and an array of percussive sounds. Potent, great fun.

Nobody's Business continues the general loudness of the album, with a dense bass-led rhythm providing a background for the distorted range of vocals, some general sax patterns and an occasional percussion flourish. The lyrics are good, the general rhythm hits, but the real standout feature is Hammill's voice of general force and fun.

Been Alone So Long is a truly amazing love song, with sorrowful, sustained acoustics, touching sax and a vocal which is truly amazing for how unassertive and uncertain it sounds. The Chris Judge-Smith lyrics are essentially perfect. I really do have nothing to say about this, other than that it is probably my favourite 'ballad' ever. I don't understand why, yet, but it is.

A segue takes us onto Pompeii, another of the album's 'quirky' pieces, with an odd percussion rhythm underneath the whole piece, and a couple of saxophone and guitar melodies providing flavour. Every now and then, a bass note does something mildly significant. The almost-grandiose vocals, though excellent, are again only slightly reminiscent of Hammill, and the restrictions of the rhyme scheme do come across a bit more than I'd perhaps like; the lyrics are also good, though not as memorable as many of Hammill's more personal choice. Still a good piece, overall.

Shingle Song is the second 'ballad' of the album, with a movingly honest vocal and a surprisingly sharp acoustic taking the lead. The effective Evans-Banton rhythm section continues to contribute very strongly even in a very soft song, which is, in my view, the real mark of a versatile rhythm section. The piano is extremely moving and pretty. Subtle and . A lamenting Jaxon solo takes the limelight, flowing right into the soul-tearing vocal

'Look at the sky, but it's empty now
Look at the sea, it holds nothing but despair
I raise my eyes, but my head stays bowed
Look to my side, but you're not there'

An incredibly moving and touching song. Not to be missed.

Airport is probably the most unusual of the album's love songs, complete with unpredictably-located harmonies, little melodic catches from the guitar and sax, as well as a fast-paced, hard-guitar-and-stabby-sax jabs at one point. It's sort of a shame that, as Hammill notes, the very blunt tape-runs-out ending doesn't pay off at all. The lyrics are, again, very moving. Highly commendable overall, even if that ending is the album's most obvious weakness.


People You Were Going To and Birthday Special are, in my opinion, the two weakest songs on the album, and the combination of the two brings it down a bit for me. Nonetheless, the hammering piano and the classy Hammill vocals on People is a pretty killer combination, and with the organ and solid percussion additions as well, it's musically quite strong. The only problem is that the lyrics are a touch weaker than I'm used to from Hammill, and so, like White Hammer, it gets a bit more flak from me than it musically deserves.

Birthday Special is another song which is musically great fun, but slightly weaker on the lyrics. The guitar, bass and drums all hammer home their point in an insistent way. The vocals are quite amusing, but wear off after a while, and while the essential message is entertaining enough, and you can see what Hammill's trying to do, it doesn't always quite work. Not bad, just a touch less powerful than the rest of the album.

Two Or Three Spectres is an, in context, fairly odd unsegued piece, driven by the lump of amusing, sarcy and biting lyrics. We can see a couple of subtle electric guitar and piano effects from Godbluff in use, and Jaxon is on absolutely top form in this song, providing lush licks and jarring wails alternately. Dense, thick with effects, full of jabs at the industry and ending with an extremely memorable blocky vocal section ('ten thousand peace signs, but they look different from the back'.

There are albums which I enjoy much less than this which got four stars from me. I don't consider this absolutely essential in the way that The Silent Corner is, but it's still very good if you get it, most definitely progressive at times, full of artistic merit, and solid on the lyrics. Essential for fans of Hammilldegraafgenerator, a good choice for anyone else. Probably the best album I'll give three stars to.

Rating: Three Stars
Favourite Track: Lots of good picks, but Been Alone So Long takes it. Honourable mention to NBC itself.

--

Another one. Quite an interesting album, any other opinions on it?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2008 at 08:52
Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

OK... new stuff arriving now, so my reviewing's been understandably mauled, still I'll throw in a few thoughts

Album - (artist, if I don't think it's obvious) starsish, favourite track. Very provisional, since I haven't had a lot of time to listen to all of these yet


In Rock - Deep Purple, 4/5, not sure, liked Child In Time and Living Wreck especially



Living Wreck and Child in Time!Clap Hard Lovin' ManDead

My faves are Flight of the Rat and Living Wreck.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2008 at 12:33
SPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED KING!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2008 at 12:50
Originally posted by cacho cacho wrote:

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

OK... new stuff arriving now, so my reviewing's been understandably mauled, still I'll throw in a few thoughts

Album - (artist, if I don't think it's obvious) starsish, favourite track. Very provisional, since I haven't had a lot of time to listen to all of these yet


In Rock - Deep Purple, 4/5, not sure, liked Child In Time and Living Wreck especially



Living Wreck and Child in Time!Clap Hard Lovin' ManDead

My faves are Flight of the Rat and Living Wreck.

 
Living Wreck and Child in Time!Clap ClapClapHard Lovin' ManClap ClapClap

My faves are Flight of the Rat ClapClapClapand Living Wreck.ClapClapClap
 
BloodsuckerClapClapClap   into the fireClapClapClap          Speed KingClapClapClap    
 
add  Black NightClapClapClap     LOLWink
 
Deep Purple in RockStarStarStarStarStar             the first hard rock/ metal ever made and still the best for me


Edited by febus - November 15 2008 at 12:52
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2008 at 21:52
Originally posted by febus febus wrote:

Originally posted by cacho cacho wrote:

Originally posted by TGM: Orb TGM: Orb wrote:

OK... new stuff arriving now, so my reviewing's been understandably mauled, still I'll throw in a few thoughts

Album - (artist, if I don't think it's obvious) starsish, favourite track. Very provisional, since I haven't had a lot of time to listen to all of these yet


In Rock - Deep Purple, 4/5, not sure, liked Child In Time and Living Wreck especially



Living Wreck and Child in Time!Clap Hard Lovin' ManDead

My faves are Flight of the Rat and Living Wreck.

 
Living Wreck and Child in Time!Clap ClapClapHard Lovin' ManClap ClapClap

My faves are Flight of the Rat ClapClapClapand Living Wreck.ClapClapClap
 
BloodsuckerClapClapClap   into the fireClapClapClap          Speed KingClapClapClap    
 
add  Black NightClapClapClap     LOLWink
 
Deep Purple in RockStarStarStarStarStar             the first hard rock/ metal ever made and still the best for me
 
It was at the time and remains one of the great rock albums.  Unfortunately tends to get bypassed because of the later success of Machine Head and Made in Japan. 
 
Some time ago I bought the anniversary edition, which has a bunch of outtakes, remixes, etc. that are totally unnecessary (though it's nice to have Black Night).  Those original seven songs are complete within themselves, and totally redefined hard rock.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 20 2008 at 07:46
Looong. But controversial.

The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome, Van Der Graaf, 1977

    Bizarre doesn't even begin to describe this album. A blend of progressive punk and almost pastoral music with a mean violin, vocal stylings that baffle even the Peter Hammill initiated, quirky, though generally brilliant, lyrics... the list goes on, and the bizarre melding of standard musical elements and a freakishly experimental mindset works overtime. Really, there is no way to describe this album effectively, it'll probably take a while to catch on as a whole, and any preconceptions you have about Van Der Graaf Generator probably do not apply to this album. Consequently, it's a bizarrely essential album: I really enjoy it, I appreciate there are a lot of people (particularly the pretty vocals crowd) who probably won't get it (not a bad thing, just different tastes), and I think it was really pushing the barriers in a way that the other classic prog bands had  rather given up on by 1977. Graham Smith and Nick Potter give the album a great deal of attack, Hammill's experiments with all sorts of vocal ideas have jumped off into the deep end in a way that you'll either love or hate, Guy Evans is solid as ever, and the pianos and guitars are used with a lot more confidence and detail than most previous Van Der Graaf Generator efforts. I think it's a masterpiece, sure some others take the opposite opinion.
    Lizard Play exhibits the rather Van Der Graaf Generatorish (well, in this case, Van Der Graafish) of having some sort of anti-catch value. On the first listen, it made virtually no impact on me, either lyrically or musically, but now, I can call it nothing less than amazing. The first Meurglys III notes lead us into a little, slightly jazzy intro a bit reminiscent of When She Comes, before Hammill's light-hearted, very cleverly harmonised vocals come in, using a full range of high wispy overdubs to counterbalance low, gritty multiple vocals. Evans is fantastic, of course, providing all sorts of rolls in addition to some absolutely beyond-belief unusual hollow and tingly percussion inclusions. Hammill's lyrics are metaphorical, assertive and extremely potent once you actually see the whole picture, and allow for a couple of clever spins which you somehow never quite expect even when you know they're coming up. Potter's thorough, thick basslines provide the real backbone for the piece,  as well as a sort of bestial feel to the piece. The Graham Smith violin is characteristically unusual, and includes a couple of rather neat subtleties that provide a little more weight to the acoustic. A song full of weirdness, shamanic rhythms, a general refusal to accept the standard terms of what rock is, and a touch of whimsicality that works really well for Van Der Graaf.
    The Habit Of The Broken heart is another somewhat eclectic song, moving from a fairly basic acoustic riff to a subtle bitter bit of reflection to a full on burst of rock to a small vocal coda. The lyrics are a touch less sharp than I'd expect from Hammill, though they still contain a couple of great lines, and a basic message, which is more than a lot of bands manage to do. The lyrical vulnerability of the song relative to the rest of the album is more than outweighed by the superb musical content and the rather odd mood in Hammill's vocal. Guy Evans and Nic Potter provide a weird bass-driven riff for a fair amount of the piece. The dashes of organ fit in quite nicely, as does the lush background viola. A lot of the punk ethos thumping in again, along with a few elements of dissonance and the rather curtailed melodies than characterise much of World Record. The conclusion is nicely done. Not an absolutely perfect piece, but a lot of redeeming features, and a particularly top notch performance from Evans.
    Siren Song features the album's finest lyrics, and some of the finest lyrics in rock, and the closest thing to a conventionally pretty vocal on there. The piano is absolutely lovely, and supplemented by a tragic violin, Guy Evans' very emotional and delicate percussion and the unusual Potter distorted bass sound. The mood changes of the song are distinctive, involving and feature a rather more upbeat, folk-inspired violin part, as well as an example of just how mobile Van Der Graaf Generator can make a song. Nic Potter never did a weirder bass part than that in the middle of this song, and it pays off fantastically. Anyway, the best way to describe this one is with a bit of a lyrics quote. It has reduced me to tears on occasion, and not many pieces can do that.

Laughter in the backbone
laughter impossibly wise
that same laughter that comes
every time I flash on that look in your eyes
which whispers of a black zone
which'll mock all my credos as lies,
where all logic is done
and time will smash every theory I devise

    The six minute Last Frame could well be the highlight of the album for a lot of the more prog-by-the-books listeners. A hollow atmospheric introductory solo on viola (I think) from Graham Smith leads us into the song proper, coupled with a couple of very dark, full jabs on bass and a tinkle of percussion, takes us onto the tragic retrospective vocals, coupled with a savagely bleak and determined set of lyrics. Hammill provides an acoustic (on occasion surprisingly unusual in sound) pretty much throughout the main part of the song, which is quite a nice change, and it fits in neatly both at the higher-tempo sections and the more introspective low-key parts. A sort of freakish guitar or violin solo backed up by a dab of Meurglys III riff takes up prime position in the instrumental mid-part. The song's conclusion is particularly awesome, with a distinctly rocking bass riff mixing itself in with dabs of percussion, classy lyrical bite and a distorted guitar. As always, Evans is a solid drummer, controlling his sound, volume and feel quite precisely and adding a slightly human feel through the drumming. Fantastic stuff.
    The Wave is probably the most daringly introspective of the songs on this album, with quirky, and yet quite moving lyrics about the point of analysis and the effect of that on nature or feeling. The lush, but quite delicate, interplay between Hammill's piano and mellotron (it's probably actually a viola, listening to it a bit more closely) and the strings is extremely well-written, and Hammill's vocals are simply amazing in a way that only they can be. The tension is available, and a mixture of grandeur, uncertainty, high and low and whispered vocals, and selective self-harmonies adding a sort of ebbing feel to the piece. The rhythm section is again excellent, with Guy Evans' fitting in his own sort of style quite softly, accomplishing a number of subtle cadences that other drummers often seem nervous to add into soft songs, accomplishing the same sort of rolling line with no intrusion at all. It did take a while to catch onto me, as one would sort of expect a soft song like this to simply head for plain lyrics, but in the end the combination seems simply more and more right. Unusual soft songs are one of my favourite features of the classic 70s prog rock bands, and this fits that description perfectly. Masterful.
    If one track can be described as driven, it's probably Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever, this piece rivets itself into the mind, frantically and schizophrenically leaping off its own ideas. Hammill's lyrics and vocals have a wonderfully reeled-off-on-the-spot tint, albeit not a lot of conventional beauty to counterbalance that. The jarring aggression of the vocals is in the vein of Nadir's Big Chance rather than Arrow or La Rossa, relying on an innate menace, speed and rhythm over volume or arrangement, and yet they are actually surprisingly fitting for the song, ramming in uncertainty, panic, menace and rage without pausing for breath... a burst of vocal dubs only heightens the frantic mood. The exhausted final vocal line is a complete contrast to this schizoid personality... one of the best worst vocal performances ever. Graham Smith's violin and viola provides truly berserk emotionality, reeling off a pulsing, tense riff as well as an array of off-the-wall solos, counterbalanced by the utter catharsis of the concluding solo. Nic Potter has never sounded better, with pulsating, demanding, insistent bass-lines complete with mixed-in sort of bass groans, as well as a bass-sound or two I haven't heard used in that way before. Even under that incredible violin solo at the end, he fits in a tasteful, obvious bass sound. The guitar is equally superb, providing a sort of picked-electric sound that lends a lot of character to the piece, as well as some blitz-on-the-ear wails. One of the big standouts of this piece, though, is Guy Evans. His combination of sort of trapping drum sounds, solid, aggressive beats, tasteful leaves, hard, flat rock beats and manically fast, yet comprehensible, fills, which sort of overspill all the parameters of the song, providing a sensation of real vertigo and being off the edge.
    Anyway, I've gone into a bit more detail than I usually do on shortish songs for this one, but it was entirely worth it. An incredible song, one that really both pushes the parameters of rock and yet builds on existing traditions. As Peter Hammill would say, the 'exciting stuff'. It's a sample at the moment, so take a listen to it on the appropriate volume. If you don't like it, the album might not be for you (there's a wide range of material covered, and the lyrics, here, are probably not as strong as the rest of the album), but if you do, really, the album might be your thing. It's the song that brought me to going beyond the obligatory four VDGG albums.
    The Sphinx In The Face is another oddity, complete with a particularly anarchically arranged set of lyrics, a range of rather clever musical quotes from previous pieces incorporated into the main piece. Opening with a cheerful guitar riff, backed up by the appropriate groove from the bass. A couple of rather reggae-ish moments are juxtaposed with a general pushing-rock-feel, amazing mellotron/viola, as well as possibly the most remarkably moving harmony in rock. The musicianship, as always, is incredible, and though the 'concept' of it all... the unifying theme of disunity, of a search... is a bit hard to grasp at first, once it kicks in, it sinks below the surface, and a range of exclamations that first seem trivial become extremely moving. Also brilliant, though I can imagine that the harmony ending won't hit anyone until you've really wrapped yourself in the album.
    Chemical World is another piece of particularly good writing disguised by a bit of general chaos, noise, and lyrics which alternate between whimsical and acidic. Aside from a surprisingly Spanish guitar melody from Hammill, the song's softer moments are highlighted by Graham Smith's fascinating sax/flute-'imitation's on violin. The noisy, distorted-out-of-this-world mid-section is probably the high point of the piece, with an explosive Evans and a number of tense melodies and more 'psychedelic' ideas, which perhaps resemble that rather haunting section of Nine Feet Underground a little. Nic Potter's bass is very effective, again, handling a couple of lead guitarish licks on one occasion. Amazing stuff, and extremely progressive.
    The Sphinx Returns concludes the album proper, with a rocked up version of the outro to The Sphinx In The Face, somewhat sealing up all the themes of the album in one range of bizarre musicianship and a fade to indicate that they continue.
    Onto the bonus material. The Door is another great piece, with a killer riff. Rocking everywhere, a high-range thumping bass and a couple of hilarious keyboard effects. The demo version of The Wave is actually very moving and effective even without the lyrics, and it places a little more emphasis back on the individual music parts. Potter is probably a bit more effective (think it's that he's a lot more conspicuous with a quieter piano) on this one. Anyway, it illustrates that Van Der Graaf really could do instrumental extremely effectively... almost as incredible unpolished as it is finished. Ship Of Fools truly kicks, with a hammering riff, neat lyrics, and a sort of electric fire that reminds me a bit of a couple of the things 80s Crimson and Tull would go on to do. The vocals are truly off the wall, or off the charts, depending on how you see it, and Hammill gives a great guitar burst or two. I'd probably call it hard rock, more so than any of the Deep Purple and Uriah Heep stuff I've heard.
    So, all in all, a collection including pretty much exclusively absolutely fantastic songs (The Habit Of The Broken Heart is a tiny bit weaker, but not much so), which I would consider among Van Der Graaf (Generator)'s list of finest achievements, and that really does mean a lot, coming from me. The album is characterised by subtlety disguised as blatancy, which is a pretty standard VDGG feature, so if you don't get H to He or Godbluff or something like that, you probably won't get this. The lyrics are typically . Nonetheless, vital for fans of Van Der Graaf Generator, aggressive progressive music, later, but still very progressive albums, or quirky, obtuse concepts. A masterpiece of progressive rock, and (and I say this even with Starless And Bible Black, and Brain Salad Surgery close in mind) Guy Evans' performance on this is perhaps my favourite percussion on one album ever.

Rating: Five Stars... seems a bit standard fare for VDGG and my ratings, but that's alright...
Favourite Track: Very, very difficult choice. Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever or The Siren Song if I had to pick.

(oh, a couple of considerations)... I'm sure some of the times I reference saxalike/flutealike violins it is actually Jaxon, but I think at others they are, in fact, actually violin sounds that correspond to how I'd expect some of the saxes on World Record to sound. I'm not great on violas, so my exact terminology for string instruments may be horrifically wrong. Finally, the cover art, it's amazing, don't you think?

---

Well... thoughts, discussions, go for it...
When did VDG(G) catch and lose your interest?
Which three (whimsical number) songs would you say were their raison d'etre?
What's the best album Hammill's done, lyrically?
What's the best performance of each individual VDG(G) member?

...

I'll answer a few myself

H To He... The Quiet Zone is the period I'm particularly fond of (I.e. 6 masterpiece ratings...). Least We Can Do feels a lot cruder than its successors, but it's still good, particularly the softer pieces. Haven't got any of the new VDGG stuff yet, or Vital, so I'll seek those out in my Christmas spree.

Can't pick, but if I had to... Lost, Sleepwalkers and Killer.

Mmmm... this fluctuates wildly. The temptation is to say H To He or Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night. They're all pretty good, but those two are particularly personal and touching.

Jaxon: Sleepwalkers... guitar licks on a sax... all the way. Banton: La Rossa... those melting tones on the opening are beyond a wow moment. Hammill: A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers or Gog... no vocalist ever matched that. Evans: Lost is very impressive, but the biscuit goes to Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever. Graham Smith: same again, I think. Nic Potter... Pioneers Over c, feasibly... love the way the bass in part manages to make the song...

Anyway, your thoughts?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 22 2008 at 10:19
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Review I'vestoppedcountingbynow, Benefit, Jethro Tull, 1970

Even in the already quite unusual Tull catalogue, Benefit is an oddity. Unlike the following Aqualung and Thick As A Brick, it seems very uncertain as to where it wants to place the stress, which results in a slightly muddy recording full of good playing and good writing, but not a lot of focus. With You There To Help Me and To Cry You A Song are comfortably the most successful examples of this ambiguous, dark style, while the remaining ones took a lot longer to work their wat in. John Evan's additions on piano are interesting, but doesn't really come off in an obvious way yet. It's probably fair to say that this album is the start of a rather more progressive Tull, but still, I'd maybe say to leave it unless you're already a fan of more effective and quirkier efforts like A Passion Play and Minstrel In The Gallery (even if the rating seems to contradict me). Nonetheless, after a fair few (probably about ten or so, in my case) listens, the album suddenly sank in, striking back with all the little bits of emphasis, the quality arrangements and the subtler touches.

The superb With You There To Help Me kicks off the album in style, with a highly distorted flute, some acoustic strumming that seems to abandon the mould altogether and a sort of confusing block vocal that'll recur in the album. A great Martin Barre guitar tone supplements the rest of the band. The lyrics set an ambiguous mood, and Glenn Cornick's bass provides a touch of throbbing background the song can't do without. The Clive Bunker percussion is understated, effective and explosive. A very, very difficult song to describe, and somewhat intentionally so, at that, with a mood that somehow shifts between a desperate optimism and an assertive disillusion.

Nothing To Say is a bit more unusual, again featuring the everything-goes-on-at-once acoustics, guitar thrums, thick vocals and emphatic hammering piano lines. Cornick's swirling bass drives the song along from the bottom. Bunker's again perfectly good on the drums. The vocals/lyrics are weird as anything, but they somehow end up working for the piece, providing a greater contrast between the ironic 'I've got nothing to say' and the lushly arranged verses. A touch of piano-guitar-bass interplay works in the piece's favour. A surprisingly understated Barre solo off the piece.

Alive And Well And Living In The Present seems to move both further from and towards rock. A hard Barre part meets a rather folky rhythm and an Anderson-Evan dominated moment of real jazz. The lyrics are unusual, but good, and the combination of styles actually ends up working pretty well.

Son is built on a two-part conversation, perhaps extending the themes of For A Thousand Mothers, and including a rather unusual fade mid-song into another section. The piano-and-acoustic reply is particularly neatly done. The ending jumpy piano sort of disappears into midair. Unconventional, and I hated it at first, but now I'm getting fonder of it.

The absolutely lush For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me is amazing, with a piano, acoustic and careful bass reminiscent of the softer songs of Aqualung. The more rocking chorus is an oddity, but it works quite well once you listen out for what Barre is doing. The building acoustic is a treasure, and the little melodies make the song very moving. Again, an unusual mood, but it works. Finally, the vocals are extremely good here, which isn't something I'll say about much of Benefit.

To Cry You A Song is another of the pieces I loved at first listen. It featyres superb percussion, capable guitars, emphasis placed by delaying some of the anticipated guitar parts and a fluid bass which also seems to not quite relate to expectations. Some of the rocking solos are clear precursors to bits of Aqualung. I think an odd organ section takes place, but it could just be a manipulated guitar. Anyway, it thumps, rocks and wails away in an impressive fashion.

A Time For Everything features an obvious flute part, including a kettle-on-flute sound, as well as a good synthesis of guitars, percussion and piano, using a couple of low piano notes to contrast the fiery guitar. Barre takes a rather unusual guitar part in places, which I can't really even compare to anything adequately... perhaps the early VDGG guitar off Whatever Would Robert Have Said? is the best I can suggest. Anyway, I like it.

Inside is another of the folk-rhythm pieces, with a little bass part which adds a touch of colour, and an unusual percussion sound that sort of traps ideas. The flute again provides weird melodies in the background, and a couple of wordless vocal lines. The lyrics are good, and it's a much more successful merge of folk and rock than the later Songs From The Wood material in my opinion.


Play In Time is again weird, with a nice low-key-organ, some really odd guitar and a sort of bass-backed riff that is really simple, but quite effective. The bursts of instrumental grit are fantastic... the rest of the song at least has the appeal of being unusual and distinctive. Anyone who thinks Tull weren't really experimental... try this for size. A bit of characteristic yelping + flutes makes an appearance, and the piece as a whole is good.

The interesting Sossity; You're A Woman takes its place at the end of the album successfully. The unusual classically-inspired acoustic guitar and organ meets another block vocal and some surprisingly moving folk-based percussion and harmonies. The crystalline flute melodies provide an atmosphere, though I'm not 100% sure what it is. The lyrics are again excellent, and effective. The last note of the album, a standard classical flourish holds real potency.

Singing All Day is a rather fun and quirky little piece in 5/4 (if I'm not mistaken, though I could be... I'm not great on counting time signatures), with a neat vocal, some subdued flutes. A bit more of the Clapton-influenced guitar stylings we get on We Used To Know, and a couple of brief, darker and more unusual sections. The lyrics are naturally pretty good. Witch's Promise again draws a bit on the melodic folk side of Tull's writing, with either a mellotron or an actual string arrangement (more likely), along with a neat bass part and a load of fun little features.

Just Trying To Be is a brief, pretty and unusual acoustic piece, with a couple of really nice marimba additions. Teacher is a particularly good rocker, with a great bass part, harder guitar, complimented by a classy hammond tone and a couple of memorable melodies. So, really, a very good set of bonuses.

Anyway, a touch weird, but still commendable. My rating of the album seems to waver from listen to listen.... I'd certainly not call it a masterpiece, or even truly essential if you aren't a big fan of some later/earlier Tull, but it never strays below fun, and is an extremely interesting record. Very difficult to describe, and rather intentionally ambiguous at a lot of times, but still an interesting, experimental record, displaying a fusion of rock, folk, and even the occasional dab of jazz, classical and pop to good effect. Needs to be heard, and given a little time to grow, I think. Recommended for anyone who's very fond of some earlier or later Tull.

Rating: Four Stars, but it really is a pretty difficult one to rate.

Favourite Track: Lots of good ones. I think Sossity; You're A Woman has grown on me the most, but then With You There To Help Me might still take it.

---

'nother review. Thoughts, as always, more than welcome... don't think I did too well on this one, but it really doesn't fit my track-by-track format very well. A general review would have been easier... maybe going to try some instrumental things for a change in the near future.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2008 at 18:35
Not even bothering with the review number any more, but you probably should have the title

Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night, Peter Hammill, 1973

StarStarStarStarStar
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Emotion, and words. When you strip away everything else from an album, when you take off all the context, all the innovation, and all the gimmicks, all the production, that's what's left over. Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night is basically an album built on these two. It's mostly just a man, his guitar, his piano, his words (plus ten minutes of personal epic, but then I did say 'mostly'). The result: the finest singer-songwriter effort I've yet heard. Pure personality. The production may be rough, the structures might verge on simplicity, every now and then a repeat or a 'slip' jars a piece, but all these 'failings' simply add to the personality, the raw, overwhelming emotion entrapped and enshrined in this record. So touching. So powerful. So human. Essential.

The uncategorisable German Overalls opens the album with a pun and a flood of emotion. The acoustic melodies are all memorable creatures, and the vocal is confidently diverse, switching between uncertainty, surety and something in between frequently. The four-track system provides one or two self-harmonies and sound effects a bit more like Hammill's later musique concrete experiments. The lyrics are autobiographical, and I suppose you'll like them if you like Peter Hammill and you probably won't if you don't, but I don't know. A harmonium provides a full wall of sound towards the end, a bit of cathartic electronic/electric flow rounds off the piece. More importantly, the song contains a rare moment of pure electric-guitar rock in the middle, and that remains, after all the various forms of music I've picked up since first getting into it, one of life's simplest and most life-affirming pleasures.

The deeply moving Slender Threads follows this up as the first of three acoustic guitar pieces, and much as the music is top notch, including a couple of extremely neat interludes and an absolutely perfect main melody, the emphasis is on the philosophical and beautiful lyrics. The vocals include occasional moments of harshness and highness, but are by and large a very low-key feature. Subtle, and understated, and beautiful.

Rock And Role smashes in after this, a more Van-Der-Graaf-Generator piece with just a dash of punk, featuring a sharp electric riff and strong performances from Nic Potter, Guy Evans and David Jackson. Tasteful piano additions and ambiguously quiet electrics mark the piece, including an extended, cleverly arranged instrumental conclusion and bridge. Lyrically, it teeters between high-brow philosophising and emotional rawness, and manages to capture both. Classy stuff.

In The End is a piano-and-voice piece, with a great deal of emotion conveyed through the strength of the voice and the piano, and through the lyrics, which are predictably enviable in insight and expression, a sort of clean wailing that Hammill seems to have saved up for his solo material. The vocal is pretty, but nonetheless rather edgy and full of venom and desperation and hope whenever the words require it. And they are such good words.

What's It Worth is perhaps the most musically captivating of the pieces here, with a startlingly beautiful flute from Jaxon, a simple main acoustic melody and a charming, laid-back little acoustic-electroacoustic thing lying in wait at the end of the verses. Though the lyrics are again intelligent and moving in a sort of, the vocal performance accompanying them is so very strong that it almost escapes them, making every use of his high, fluctuating, stylised and backboned (I know what I mean, you probably don't :p) clean vocals, along with one incredibly beautiful harmony. A piece that crept up on me unawares, and pure delight for the ears.

Easy To Slip Away is entirely different. Another piano piece, and this time almost an emotional force in and of itself. The lyrics are simple, autobiographical and yet so damn universally true, Hammill's vocal delivery (I maintain that anyone who can fit that much emotion in 'Susie!' is a virtuoso singer) is heartfelt, powerful and clear, and even a soulful saxophone and an incredible outpouring of mellotron and piano only serve to remind of the vocals.

Dropping The Torch is the album's last acoustic guitar song (and indeed, the last of the singer-songwriter pieces), and is again a simple outpouring of personality. The vocal is clean, moving and well-arranged, the lyrics are universal, well-written, true and affect me on a personal level, and really you need no more than that to make a song. The acoustic is a rather nice, moving thing, and it almost carries along the listener.

In The Black Room (I) bursts in with a stab of dirty, powerful sax/organ wailing, and the full band is back for a concluding monstrosity of personal-songwriting-gone-mad with chaotic keyboard effects, whirling flutes, roaring saxes, imaginative percussion, lots of vocal harmonies, and an always-rather-prominent shocking piano. The lyrics are stunning, creatively arranged, and would fit in as much with the theme of Pawn Hearts as the personality of Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night. The Tower takes the atmosphere to an even rawer level, with one of David Jaxon's finest saxophone performances, a mass of juxtaposed ideas hinged on the piano, and some thunderous cascades of sound. The vocals exhibit all of Hammill's talent. The return of the In The Black Room theme comes with extra punctuating cymbals, and yet more arrangement complexities, and the ambiguity is retained even when all this force comes cascading out. An extremely impressive piece of complex music that balances chaos/control and expresses the conventionally non-expressable. Could well have been arranged a bit more sharply, I guess, but it nonetheless does a surprisingly good job of fitting the album. I'm sure that it'll be the highlight for a lot of the listeners, and I'm sure it deserves more review space, but I'll leave those for whom it is the highlight to explain the merits.

The live piano-and-vox rendition of Easy To Slip Away is probably my favourite of the bonus tracks, not suffering at all from not having many of the elements that made up the original piece, and so soaringly emotional and energetic. The version of In The End is equally superb, with an improvised piano introduction, and all the many strengths of the original, while being different enough to merit inclusion (a bit of not-entirely-serious-vocals, perhaps comparable to some of Peter Gabriel's work... Willow Farm and Harold The Barrel, particularly). Rain 3 AM is also an interesting piece, though I'm not quite sure what I think of it yet. Still, it's only a bonus track, and the other bonus tracks alone are amazing enough (in my opinion) to merit a re-buy, and I feel like putting up a review now rather than later, so, yeah, I might fill you all in on that one later.

So, it won't be cleanly and perfectionistically (is that a word? I guess not) produced enough for some, and it won't be complex enough for others, and it'll be too lacking in gimmicks for others still, and a few people won't like the slow bits, and a few more won't like the fast bits, and Hammill will be too noisy and too obscure for some, and not noisy enough and too emotionally revealing for others. But that's what it is, and I love it.

Rating: Six stars if you're me; five Stars if you like Peter Hammill; three if you don't. I'm rounding to five.

Favourite track: I simply cannot choose. Any of the tracks. Maybe Slender Threads, maybe Mannheim Overalls, maybe What's it Worth? Essentially, whichever track I'm listening to at the moment.


---

Well, that should be interesting, at least. I'm the first collab to give that album 5 stars, and with a smiley in the review. As always, thoughts, comments, comparisons and criticisms are welcome. Also, I think that over the Christmas period, I'm going to post a couple of lyrics-breakdowns and critiques, touching on all sorts of lyrics.


Edited by TGM: Orb - December 21 2008 at 06:12
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2008 at 18:51
Nice Rob, but, uh... I think your fanboyism is showing...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2008 at 18:54
Originally posted by King By-Tor King By-Tor wrote:

Nice Rob, but, uh... I think your fanboyism is showing...


Damn. Not again. I thought my scarf hid it Wink 'sides, I'm a fanboy for a reason LOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2008 at 18:56
Well yeah, even I gave four 5-star reviews to Rush (fanboyism...!)
 
 
but if you ever say 6-stars again... I'll kill you and eat your unborn children
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2008 at 18:59
Originally posted by King By-Tor King By-Tor wrote:

Well yeah, even I gave four 5-star reviews to Rush (fanboyism...!)
 
 
but if you ever say 6-stars again... I'll kill you and eat your unborn children


I've said it three times already, Larks' Tongues..., In The Court Of The Crimson King, and H To He, Who Am The Only One, and I'm probably not a huge Crimson fanboy, either LOL Besides, I hand out too many five stars, so this is a good way of distinguishing them LOL... a cop-out way, but nonetheless

Plus, I needed to explain: this is better than a Rush album LOLTongue


Edited by TGM: Orb - December 20 2008 at 18:59
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2008 at 19:01
Not to me.
 
 
Man we gotta get you to a hospital or something before that fanboyism becomes malignant
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2008 at 02:09
73, not 71.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2008 at 06:13
Originally posted by Ricochet Ricochet wrote:

73, not 71.


Cheers, Rico Thumbs Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 30 2008 at 10:02
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Peter Gabriel 3, 1980

StarStarStarStarStar

There aren't many occasions where describing my reaction to the album is probably going to explain more than describing the music itself, but I think this is one of them. As soon as I first heard Intruder, I was hooked by Peter Gabriel 3, I ended up humming melodies and singing lines of it subconsciously after one listen, I took out another hour the next day to listen to it again. It completely reversed my opinion of Gabriel's career (including pieces I'd previously heard and been apathetic to) after Genesis, got me hooked enough to head off to pick up Gabriel 4 as soon as I could, and has since gone for countless spins on the various CD players around the house. It was instantly memorable, moving, interesting and stunning. There are so few albums like that out there. The album does have one slightly weaker patch (Not One Of Us), but even that's a damn strong piece in its own right, and the diversity, experimentation and arrangement prowess of the whole album makes it an essential buy for anyone.

The opening Intruder showcases all the album's merits. The arrangement is very complex and even challenging to follow, with all sorts of carefully masked synth tones and piano touches seeming fresh and unexpected as ever after what must be at least thirty or forty listens. The most obvious melodies come from the synths and a pretty much unique guitar tone, laid over the hammering Phil Collins drum part, though a couple of stretching, creaking dissonants take over from these without pause. The vocals are masterfully arranged and performed, with just the occasional hint of force between the psychopathic, rapacious, yet very controlled lead vocal, just occasionally daring to hold on a moment more to instill the sense of fear so crucial to the song. A short whistling melody leads us on without letting go of the emotion at all, before launching into the emotional resignation/certainty/need of 'I am the intruder'. The lyrics are brilliantly written, and perfectly convey the idea of Intruder with alliterative bursts, a building sense of need, of greed and even of addiction, as well as the clever metrical arrangement of 'creep across creaky wooden floor' indicating the unwanted creak of floorboards by itself. Anyway, an extremely impressive opener. Memorable from the very first listen, and yet building up more and more impact every listen. Not to mention the plain unusual nature of the lyrical content in the context of rock music (or indeed, any music). A confident and challenging opener, and one that shows that Gabriel is deadly serious about this album. Anyway, a clunky description on my part, but it's simply too complicated and multi-emotional to sum up in a few words, but too well focused to suit an enormous review.

No Self Control opens with a grabbing synth melody and launches straight into the deceptive glockenspiel part (something, and I'm not entirely sure what, makes it sound at first as if it's much faster and denser than it is... and breaking it down only provides a temporary insight. Take your attention away for just a second, and it suddenly seems very fast and dense again). A heavily treated sax part features, along with various percussion choices, adding a bit of clattering excess as well as hungry, forceful drive to the song. The amazing Kate Bush provides backing vocals (both subtly as an extra rhythm feature and harmonized to cut off Gabriel's manic 'chorus' vocals). Again, Gabriel manages to very briefly and effectively convey a complex emotion, with all sorts of ingenious flourishes, and even if it's probably not as complex as Intruder, it's equally challenging and bizarrely catchy. One of the very best songs of the 1980s, and Gabriel's vocals and lyrics are unique, interesting and very well used.

The brief Start is more of an introduction to I Don't Remember, and features a rather neat juxtaposition of the soulful clean jazzy saxophone and the occasional bass thrum with a synth undertone that becomes dissonant as the sax reaches the sort of height of its clean and rather neat solo. Very, very neat, especially as a lead-up to I Don't Remember.

I Don't Remember is the first of the album's two 'straight rockers', with a sterling performance from the unmistakable Tony Levin on a chapman stick, as well as quirky plain rocking melody underneath Robert Fripp's incredible guitar whirling and very controlled soundscape things. The vocals are simply brilliant, especially the wordless bits, and the brief electronic moments as well as the strange distorted vocal melodic lines are something that I can hear again (though not as neatly included) in quite a few of the standard radio-one things. The sort of cathartic cleansing of the gently thrumming end of the song again shows a grasp of melody, an appreciation of arrangement and an admirable neglect for genre borders. Anyway, fantastic, groundbreaking stuff and proof that people were still doing interesting and creative things in the 80s.

Family Snapshot is the album's focal point, even if it's not the only highlight, and is another really rather genreless thing, containing understated piano-and-voice parts, bursts of rock excess and even a rather big-band-esque synthesised brass part. The lack of cymbals here, in particular, calls for inventive percussion, and even makes it more effective. Despite the top notch nature of the music (particular kudos to the subtlety of the synth and bass), the emphasis is squarely on the vocals (self-harmonies and all) and the lyrics, which are simply brilliant. The sheer menace of 'I've been waiting for this' with Gabriel's gritty and emotive voice simply needs to be heard. Powerful, moving and personal.

The rocking And Through The Wire bursts out of the nothingness with its catchy, eclectic guitar riff and rather neat John Giblin bass part (and another unusual percussion performance. Sure, others at the time were fiddling around with cymbal-less percussion, but managing a straight rock piece with it is damned inventive). The lyrics and vocals are good fun, and at the same time are moving and meaningful. The gradual descent into 'we get so strange across the border' is fun, as is the reflecting piano-and-synth bookends (the latter almost always coming as a surprise... it pops in at the middle of the deceleration thing, but I'm never quite sure exactly what it's decelerating from or just exactly what paves the way for that synth to come in). Again, an extremely interesting piece.

Games Without Frontiers is probably the most openly 'pop' piece of the album, with an incredible catchiness, masses of melody, and, while the backing parts are always interesting and strong, the melodies and dynamic are so strong and well emphasised that they take most of the attention. The lyrics are typically quirky, although still classy and clever, and the vocals are a pretty weird sort of non-specific-nationality style. The synth sound is simply awe-inspiringly good, with a sharpness and edge about it, as is the synth-bass and the incredibly well-arranged little electronic section at the end of the song. Finally, a note for the performance of the album: Kate Bush's backing vocals on this one are simply amazing. Just so incredibly silky, soft and capable. I mean. Wow. Anyway, great tune, and evidence that pop can, in fact, be progressive, in case anyone's still in doubt about that.

Not One Of Us is certainly the weakest song of the album (at least, in my view), even if it remains an extremely interesting piece, and very well arranged (particularly the little bit of interplay between the bass and the vocals), it ends up being admirable for its intelligence rather than its emotion. The vocals are again, excellent, and the synth tones and general Frippery are definitely challenging, interesting, and creative stuff (three adjectives that really do sum up this album). The piece does pick up towards the end, with the sort of freakishly twisted worldy mass vocal + drums contrasting with Gabriel's main vocal. Still, a very strong piece, just not as moving as the rest of the album, perhaps due to the viewpoint that Gabriel takes.

The beautiful Lead A Normal Life is (at least, in my eyes) a sort of sequel to Family Snapshot, with brief, and rather haunting vocals in between two insrumental atmosphere creatures, with another deceptive glockenspiel part, ethereal piano, some very subdued drums and the occasional wail of force and straight-out-rebellion, as well as a bizarre treated sax part. Incredible stuff.

The grandiose Biko really takes on the world vibe that's been carried by a lot of the percussion throughout, with a very interesting synthesised bagpipe from Larry Fast. The arrangement is simple, the melodies obvious, the performances all sound relatively simple compared to the previous ones, but still it simply has effect, it has power. The momentum, the basic appeal, the universalism of the song is unstoppable. Gabriel's lyrics take on a bitter irony, while the vocals give a straight, one-dimensional answer. The whole feel of the piece is simply so strong it takes away any quibblings and leaves behind just one statement. The final sharp drum thu-thud echoes the initial sound of Intruder a bit, rounding off the album to good effect.

Don't think there's much more for me to say. Forgive the rather clunky description of Intruder, and go ahead and buy this album as soon as possible. Superb, superb stuff.

Rating: Five Stars

Favourite Track: Intruder, No Self Control, And Through The Wire and Games Without Frontiers are all favourites. No Self Control, if I had to choose.

---

Comments welcome Thumbs Up

Thinking of going for either PG 4 or a live album or two, next.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 30 2008 at 10:08
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Comments: I agree
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 31 2008 at 13:47
A bit of self-pitying post-count boosting here, but I felt like setting out what I think of my ratings as:

(just because I'm increasingly annoyed at how a few of my ratings don't seem to fit into how much I like the albums)

6 Stars. An absolute masterpiece. Every track is a highlight from both an emotional and an interest perspective. The album flows smoothly, without a second that annoys or irritates me, and as a whole qualifies as one of my absolute all-time favourite albums by any artist. So far, only three albums have a general six-star status, and one has a personal six-star status.

5 Stars. A masterpiece. I look forwards to every track, for one reason or other. The lows are minimal, and the highs extraordinary. The album has an individual feel and effect. I never reach for the skip button or lose interest.

4 Stars. A great album. Most of the tracks (and/or the album's length, if tracks are a bad indicator) are very enjoyable, and something to at look forwards to. Generally interesting and emotive, and very rarely containing any material I really dislike (Fragile being one exception).

3 Stars. A good album. Usually either very level, and quite nice throughout, or a bit unpredictable in quality, but definitely high on the highs. Something I'm fairly confident I'll take the time to listen to again after the review at some point.

2 Stars. Either a poor album with a couple of tracks strong enough that I'll spin it again or an album which verges over the OK margin so rarely that I don't really want to listen to it. Often what I consider a heavily flawed album with good moments or an album which is just of no real major interest to me, while being quite unoffensive.

1 Star. Not something I want to listen to again. This isn't saying that it has no merits, and usually there is at least a good track or two, but it's just something that I don't enjoy enough to listen to.

So, in short
I'm not really considering the progressiveness in any of my ratings except in that a PR or PP album that I don't consider progressive probably won't get a 5.
The fans/completionists/essentials thing isn't something I want to worry about too much. If I think an album is more of a fans one, I'll probably say that in the review. If I give an album a 4+ rating, it usually means that I think any prog collection could use it.

Anyway, now that's out of the way, time for another rather brutal ratings adjustment session. There are a few outliers that have been bugging me.

(and I'm fairly sure it doesn't matter to anyone else, but that's just my obsessive compulsive twitch kicking in)
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