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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Trilogy CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1587 ratings

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5 stars The masterpiece in the shadow of the masterpieces.

The curse of Trilogy is a sweet one, oh, and tacky too: It's a masterpice shadowed by another, even more glorious masterpiece. That "more glorious masterpiece" could be any of the chronologically-neighbouring ELP's studio albums, including the highly-praised Karnival.

Trilogy is so monstrous in its glory that I need some meta-language to describe it. However, since I'm not even near the abilities of Stanislaw Lem's Golem (read the story in case you didn't so) the old-descriptions must suffice:

The Endless Enigma (Part One)/Fugue/The Endless Enigma (Part Two) is a perfect triptych, perhaps defending the title of the album better than the self-titled song itself. If anything on this Earth deserves to be called Clarion Call, that is the intro to The Endless Enigma. The whistling sounds sound like a final call to all creatures great and small. The same goes with added percussions, Middle-Eastern woodwind, grand piano that is examining dimensions. The thing that follows is the most smooth, perfect slope from intro to the driving, complex rocking pattern on Hammond organ, with slight shift in stereo presence just to provoke the listener on the level of one's subconsciousness. The Fugue follows bravely and majestic, followed by the sweetest timbre of Lake's voice and suddenly, we are in the middle of ELP's trademark - a powerful, rocking background for majestic madrigal, stabbed with Palmer's fill-ins and bass pedal inferno. The calming moment is present by a simple but again majestic moment, with use of tubular bells that would never be reached by mortals such are PINK FLOYD or Mike Oldfield. The triptych ends with the repetition of the main theme in a full glory of...adultery between voice and organ, with Emerson's brassiest overdubbed Moog parts to bolden the picture.

After a final crescendo and a calming down of last reverb's reflections, we are aloud to remain in silence for a second or two before the equivalent of the vulgar movie cut, drastically changing the mood, but not the monstrosity and beauty; one of not-so-common moments for this band appears, that is acoustic guitar the will guide us to another sugar-sweet tune, this time more grounded, but no less rewarding. That is From The Beginning, the song that should be censored because of the higher level of endorphin in the brain that it could cause. With a good reason; it simply enough to add the word "perfect" before the tags such are: acoustic guitar, bass, drumming, electric guitar solo and vocals. As a bonus: guitar chords are breaking down all the theories about the bands snobism: because there is no academic education in it, the chords are pure and essential idea: unusual, not too complex, and simply stunning. Drumming is very moderate too, and perhaps this is some kind of peak for Mr. Palmer, and he should be judged by this performance, not by his extended stormy solos. Like all that is not enough, Emerson played the most beautiful synthesizer solos ever, and the cherry on the top of the everything is the timbre - it's certainly the most pleasant one ever produced by an electronic instrument, sort of simple sine wave doubled in octave, with a whisper of buzz somewhere far behind. In a way, like when a human tries to song the melody while whistling it. Very simple. The reason why the song is perfect; it's simple and unpretentious. Now laugh, all of you!

Finished with your laughing? Catching the steam?

Okay, let me proceed: of course, everything else is pretentious and self-indulgent. The band is back on the tracks with The Sheriff, a cowboy jogging that will offend some and slap them in the face with non-pastoral trivia. That is not absolutely true; and neither is true that band wanted to make a step aside with a spice of humour. Well, I simply feel that among many fields within Emerson's repertoire he was quite interested in ragtime - which is very obvious if you pay attention to any of the band's live documents. I dare to say ragtime was the core idea for the song, divided by the rest of the country pyrotechnics by a gun shot - and that is hilarious. And the country is again smoothly in gradation with Hoedown, which is indeed the perfect blend of symphonic and western. But another word of defense for our poor sherif: that's not just your another c'n'w song - if nothing else, forthe sake of those layers of chords and portamento raped on a Hammond organ.

As for Hoedown, as I said so: the fusions. But the laurel leaves and garland should go to Copland at first place. Emerson just took it and made someone that wouldn't be reach for the next 30 years. Finally, we reached the song that proudly bears the album's title - and I will start with the weakest points straight way, and they are a) lyrics and b) the bass sequence in the third part of the song - it was obviously derived from THE NICE's version of Bernstein's America, but that's the end of the story, because everything else must be experienced. Tapestries, layers of synths, organs, howling sounds, buzzing sounds, inferno. And to be honest to the more sublime parts of the song, the capability of Keith's knitting of the melody and chord in the first part is beyond imagination. You must hear it to believe it. I mean, you CAN'T do that, so shamelessly mix different scales and musical styles and make such a gorgeous melody. You can't play simple monophonic synth line over the arpeggiated piano chords and make an illusion of string ensemble in the background!

The following tracks, Living Sin is bellow the standard of the album - which is still a light year from a bad thing. Well, here we have a "Black Sabbath" side of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the guitarless metal, and it's a good rocking tune to say the least.

For the end, the bolero to beat all the boleros, including the mother. Abaddon's Bolero is strictly respecting all the forms of a traditional bolero, and it's monstruous. This should be a school example of layering in music. As for the idea, fell free to check my Tarkus review to see what is this bolero about.

Finally, the curse of Trilogy is revealed, and on a broad daylight it's obvious how enormous value of this record is. I justified all the rating stars with the very intro of the first song. That is 20 seconds of music. And where is another 2400 seconds of music? How many stars should I give to that?

clarke2001 | 5/5 |


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