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Nucleus - Ian Carr: Belladonna CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.83 | 65 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 4.5 stars. After a consistant lineup for the first three album comes "Belladonna" where everyone but Carr and Smith have left. The loss of Jenkins would have seemed huge to anyone who heard just their first two albums because he was the main composer, but on the third ("Solar Plexus") Carr would compose all the tracks. Marshall left with Jenkins to join SOFT MACHINE, while lead guitarist Spedding was the first leave in order to go solo. Big losses you would agree, but Carr was able to get Babbington to replace Clyne on bass. Babbington would also join SOFT MACHINE down the road. Clive Thacker replaced Marshall, with Trevor Tomkins adding percussion. Dave Macrae replaced Jenkins, with Gordon Beck also adding electric piano.The biggest one is Alan Holdsworth replacing Spedding on lead guitar. No this band did not miss a beat. In fact this is my second favourite NUCLEUS album next to "We'll Talk About It Later". They're like 1 and 1a to me. In the liner notes it says "None of the early NUCLEUS albums exemplify Ian's concept of tension and release as well as this, and in particular Ian sees the title track itself, an ensemble effort with no formal solos, as demonstrating both his musical concepts and his new-found role as leader".

"Belladonna" is experimental to open as sounds come and go. A horn melody after 2 minutes also comes and goes. It's still experimental until we get a beat with horns before 4 minutes.This is great ! They're grooving now, especially after 5 1/2 minutes with guitar. Such a catchy beat though. Check out the horns before 9 1/2 minutes ! It settles as the beat stops.That was amazing ! Trumpet ends it. "Summer Rain" is a laid back and relaxing song. Horns lead the way at first then drums with electric piano. Holdsworth starts to make some noise. "Remadione" opens with intricate sounds that come and go. Flute is constant though. Some nice atmosphere here. It kicks in before 2 minutes with drums and some outstanding horns and electric piano. The bass is so prominant but it's Holdsworth who's lighting it up after 3 minutes. Just incredible to listen to all these sounds.

"Mayday" opens with drums and electric piano before bass and guitar joins in. Horns a minute in.The tempo picks up and the sound gets fuller 3 1/2 minutes in. Nice. "Suspension" is as Carr says one of the most magical moments he's ever had in his entire career in the studio.This was done in "one take" and is as close to perfect as he could hope for. It's dark with flute and piano to open. Haunting. Check out the bass after 1 1/2 minutes.Trumpet joins in. "Hector's House" opens with in your face horns before the tempo picks up and it gets fuller.This reminds me of Miles Davis. Nice drum work too. Holdsworth comes in at 3 minutes and sets the soundscape on fire ! He simply rips it up right to the end of the song.

Excellent album and a favourite of many NUCLEUS fans.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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