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The Enid - Tripping The Light Fantastic CD (album) cover


The Enid


Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 49 ratings

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4 stars This was a big surprise even though I was familiar with the Enid's previous work (the first two albums in particular), picking this up from some obscure sale bin, somewhere and unexpectedly. "Tripping the Light Fantastic" on its own without comparisons is a wonderful recording, loaded with shifting moods and creative research. With Robert John Godfrey at the helm, you know that bombastic symphonic keyboards will adorn the almost classical arrangements, slashed by some blistering guitar discharges and stitched tight with rippling bass work and metronomic drumming. "Ultraviolet Cat" tosses some eccentric atmospheric configurations with a slight Yello synthetic feel, marimba synths dancing as if in a Tangerine Dream, with occasional soundtrack fare playfully fiddling with the arrangement by adding vocal effects, meowing guitar leads, synthesized purring and hissing blushes. Really cool stuff! "Little Shiners" is the genuine winner here, with an immense lullaby melody, a guitar solo plaintively expressing the romantic interlude, slowly building steam with absolute restraint until the paroxysm is reached and the delicate piano waves the goodbye handkerchief. "Gateway" explodes from the opening blast, a gigantic unfurling of fanfarish keyboards with an Oldfieldian guitar rip courtesy of Nick May, this piece sounds like a soundtrack from Gladiator so imperial is the tone and breadth of the symphonics. The extraordinary title track reverts to mellower pastures, sounding like a proggy version of Bill Conti/John Williams movie orchestrations, interrupted by some tremendous May interfaces (any relation to Brian May?) and suddenly veering into spicier horizons with a primal propellant beat leading the way. This lush extremism is tempered by the trumpet based orchestral gilding, for which Godfrey lays a claim to fame and you can't help closing your eyes and imagining some personal cinematographic scene. This is a peculiar trait of The Enid's unique brand of "moviola" progressive rock and makes this strange band a priceless iconoclast among prog groups. "Freelance Human" introduces a mercenary theme, padded with overt romanticism and a certain European historic seasoning, again reinforcing the soundtrackish feel, with Godfrey's superlative rippling piano work rolling through massive cascades of orchestration in jaw-dropping evidence. For you Star Trek fans, "Dark Hydraulic" begins in almost muted tones, very subtle electrocosmic mutations, sequencers slowly kicking into overdrive, boosted by the sudden brassy warp accelerations and colliding with huge guitar phaser salvos set on stun. This is the genius track here, just pure progressive heaven, making Pink Floyd look like amateurs with hysterical ranting voice effects egging the aliens forward..Spooky! When the reprise rages back with utter abandon, the guitars hurling, the piano hurting, the synths howling and the percussives hurtling, you just know the deal is sealed. The marching ensemble finale rekindles memories of Starfleet encounters of the worst kind. What a delirious track. "The Biscuit Game" , a weird classical music extravaganza relating the riddle of the Biscuit Game, a whacky story about Einstein, Schoedinger, The Reverend David Jenkins, Stephen Hawking and the Pope brawling inconclusively, Gustav Jung, Boehm and Freud and some stupid fat cat in a box. I won't even attempt to explain as the track limbers on with narrative. A definite Four & one half Ids .
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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