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Raw Material - Time Is ... CD (album) cover

TIME IS ...

Raw Material

 

Eclectic Prog

3.44 | 60 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars RAW MATERIAL were a two-album British Jazz-Rock band who got together in swinging London in 1969. They released their first eponymously-titled album in 1970 and followed it up with the "Time Is..." album in 1971. Raw Material's two albums are now pretty rare material as they've become real collectors items. Their music is said to be a veritable smorgasbord of musical styles, so they've inevitably found themselves in the Eclectic Prog section of Prog Archives. Let's have a listen now to the second album of Raw Material and find out if it's a magical musical melange or a dull and uninteresting blancmange.

"Ice Queen" opens the album to the atmospherically haunting sound of an icy blast of wind blowing across some vast polar ocean, so you better wrap up warm for this song, because it sounds pretty chilly out there. When you hear the first burst of the strident saxophone breaking through the ice, we're on familiar territory, because the music is very reminiscent of Van Der Graaf Generator's sparkly electric sound, only without Peter Hammill's extravagant vocals. The music is a pounding percussive powerhouse of sound with all the power of an unstoppable icebreaker making and breaking it's way through a vast icesheet. This song is like an unsinkable ship ploughing it's way relentlessly through the ice on full-power and there's even a Jethro Tull-style flautist up on deck too giving us all a flourish of his flamboyant flute alongside the sonorous saxophonist. We're back on dry land for "Empty Houses", which has a magnificent and majestic marching rhythm to it. There'd be no empty houses if this rousing and raucous music was played Live, because this is a Jazz-Rock spectacular. This powerful band have the Raw Material to deliver a thunderous blast of rollicking rock that's loud enough to raise the roof. Jazz NEVER sounded quite like this back in Louis Armstrong's or Duke Ellington's time. This is Jazz-Rock that's as hard and heavy as a solid block of granite. Along next, comes an "Insolent Lady", although I'm sure she's a charming, demure and delightful lady if this lush romantic melody is anything to go by. It's the first of two extended three-piece suites on the album, with a running time of nine minutes. The first part of the suite titled "Bye for Now" is a BIG romantic piano ballad, bathed in a sea of sensational strings. You could fall in love all over again to this gorgeous sumptuous ballad. The mid-section "Small Thief" is a proggy free- for-all, featuring a surging saxophone, dynamic power chords, stop/start staccato breaks, and a Duracel drummer passionately pounding away on the bongos as if his life depends on it. The music is bright and brassy with the lively horn section in full flow. The self-titled third and final part of the "Insolent Lady" suite is a booming and bombastic Prog-Rock anthem with all of the power and the glory and resplendent colour of a grand military tattoo on Horse Guards Parade.

Opening Side Two is "Miracle Worker", a jaunty Jazzy number which weaves its magical musical spell, sounding like Jethro Tull given an extra burst of adrenalin. The sonorous horn section and pounding percussionist are at their braggadocious best here, surging ahead like a ballroom blitz with all of the ass-kicking power of a bucking bronco. These guys ROCK! It's time to get spiritual now for "Religion", although this is no sombre midnight mass, this is a surging Jazz-Rock number that's quite literally as bold as brass. This stirring music is really more spirited than spiritual. Finally, to round off the album, the "Sun God" arrives like a bright ray of sunshine. It's the second of the long suites on the album, divided into "Awakening", "Realization and "Worship", with a total running time of just over 11 minutes. The music is a glorious combination of gentle acoustic guitar and flute passages, combined with sudden and strident bursts of power and passion from the dynamic drummer and always impressive horn section. This magnificent "Sun God" is like a radiant aurora bathed in all of the rich glowing colours of the musical spectrum. It's a rich ambrosia of music designed to "Awaken" the very soul with the "Realization" that "Worship" is not something that's only reserved for solemn church occasions. No, this is powerful resounding music to revere and respect and maybe even worship, just like a "Sun God".

Raw Material have really delivered the goods with this second album. The music hits the listener like a storming ballista laying siege to a medieval castle. In a bravura performance, this talented group of British musicians give a dazzling display of dynamic power and energy in a raucous riot of bright and brassy Jazz-Rock. This is mean and mighty, hard and heavy Jazz- Rock with a no-nonsense brass knuckles attitude.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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