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Gordon Giltrap - Visionary CD (album) cover

VISIONARY

Gordon Giltrap

 

Prog Related

3.61 | 29 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Goodbye folkie, hello proggie

Following a quartet of decent but largely anonymous albums for Transatlantic and a couple for other record companies, Gordon Giltrap took a three year break to re-assess his musical path. When he returned in 1976, he had decided to ditch the singer-songwriter style, and explore an altogether more challenging approach. Taking his inspiration from 18th century artist, printmaker and poet William Blake, he set about recording a completely instrumental album with a small band which included two members of the Average White Band.

The result is a radical transformation from also-ran folkie to accomplished symphonic composer. The album takes us on a journey through the sound-scapes of diverse artists such as Mike Oldfield, Sky, Yes, The Moody Blues, Al Stewart and numerous others. The melodies are at times familiar, their symphonic arrangements giving them a majesty far beyond the simple acoustic guitar compositions upon which they are founded.

The opening "Awakening", replete with orchestral keyboards supporting an infectiously uplifting acoustic guitar melody, is genuinely exciting. A number of the tracks have sufficient commercial appeal to offer themselves as potential hit singles, something Giltrap would soon achieve with his "Heartsong" release. "From the four winds" is one such track, and one of the album's true highlights. Here, prog tenets are successfully combined with overtly appealing hooks to form a cohesive suite.

On "The price of experience", mediaeval influences are more in evidence as apparently uncredited (on the album cover at least, but see Giltrap's website) wind instruments supplement the more familiar acoustic sounds. Throughout the album though, there is a poignant vitality to the music.

Giltrap's decision to re-invent himself as a composer and instrumentalist was a moment of true inspiration. Many more successful albums would follow, each revealing more of the supreme talents of this unjustly ignored maestro. In "Visionary" though, we have the starting point for the venture. An album highly recommended for those who enjoy symphonic prog with an acoustic leaning, and more generally those who simply enjoy well performed music.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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