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Gowen - Miller - Sinclair - Tomkins - Before A Word Is Said CD (album) cover


Gowen - Miller - Sinclair - Tomkins


Canterbury Scene

3.74 | 51 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I've enjoyed listening to this album so much all of this past week and again one more time this morning. It's a positive and relaxing album for the most part which is surprising given the circumstances. I just love listening to these guys play. They're all legends as far as i'm concerned. Richard Sinclair the great CARAVAN vocalist and bass player who would go on to play with HATFIELD AND THE NORTH. Phil Miller the guitarist who's played in so many projects over the years including MATCHING MOLE, NATIONAL HEALTH and HATFIELD AND THE NORTH. Trevor Tomkins on drums also played with GILGAMESH, NUCLEUS and many others. Then there's the man of the hour in Alan Gowen. It's difficult for me not to get emotional when you consider this was his last recording before he died of leukemia only weeks after this at 33 years of age. He was in his prime. He was very ill during these sessions that were held in his South London flat that he shared with his wife. Playing in Alan's flat wasn't something new as various lineups of NATIONAL HEALTH and GILGAMESH had rehearsed there many times over the years. For this project the band played in the back bedroom while the engineer set up his equipment in Alan's music room. Words from Phil Miller : "It is a testament to his stoicism, and to his love of music that he could even contemplate embarking on a recording project, let alone embue it with a combination of relaxed enjoyment and steely eyed detemination. Implicit in the title is the idea that here was a man composing his own musical epitaph, a sad thought, but Alan would have been quick to discourage such sadness." And it's true that listening to this album does not bring sadness, only joy. Now contemplating the circumstances of this recording as I am now is a different story.

"Above & Below" is intricate and laid back then the guitar starts to lead in a relaxed manner. Love this stuff. Keyboards and cymbals lead after 2 1/2 minutes. There's some vocal melodies from Richard in this one too. A gorgeous track.

"Reflexes In The Margin" is a more dynamic track with throbbing bass and prominant drums and keyboards.The guitar leads briefly after 3 minutes.

"Nowadays A Silhouette" is a mellow tune with bass out front then keyboards.The bass returns to the fore as the keys and cymbals continue.

"Silver Star" is more passionate with the drums and guitar leading as the bass throbs. The keys join in and we get some fuzz too. Nice.

"Fourfold" has so much going on with all these intricate sounds. "Before A Word Is Said" is different with the dark soundscape while children can be heard in the background to start and end the song. A very meaningful number.

"Umbrellas" is light with vocal melodies. "A Fleeting Glance" has some excellent guitar before 3 minutes that starts to solo as keys, bass and drums support. Cool section.The keyboards then lead before 4 minutes.

For me this is a 4 star album on it's own. No sympathy stars here because the music is amazing.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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