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The Legendary Pink Dots - Asylum CD (album) cover

ASYLUM

The Legendary Pink Dots

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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4 stars Ok let's not beat around the bush. This is one of the all time greatest progressive pysch band to ever exist. So why so few reviews? I can't believe that more people aren't crazy about these guys, like I am. If you have never heard of them,you don't know what you're missing. But,all of that aside. This is one of the best LPD lp's ever. It is a concept album about a legendary crazy man in an asylum (hence the title) that thinks he is Jesus! I have to admit that the lead singer (Ed Ward Ka -Spel)'s voice is somewhat of an aquired taste,but truthfully,in my opinion nobody else could handle the chore of vocals for a group as diverse as this one,except Ka- Spel! He's the poet of the group. And like I once told a friend whom I had recently introduced to this band "Ka-Spel is a painter,he paints pictures in your mind with his words" Which did blow my friends mind,but he later ageed with me saying he knew just what I had meant.Now,you can read this review or not. And you can check out LPD's music for yourself,or not. But don't blame me if you found that you've missed some of the greatest prog pyschrock ever recorded. Just spead the good word once you've tuned in to the LPD's music!
Report this review (#140485)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is another lush psychedelic journey courtesy of those barmy Orangemen , the Legendary Pink Dots, purveyors of strange sounds and bizarre moods and stalwart defenders of the space vibe in the 1980s, when prog was an excellent cadaver indeed. What makes their brand of lunacy so appealing is that they have maintained the Planet Gong weirdness and infused it with some admirable personal traits, the voluptuous violin of Patrick Wright, the stifling guitar growls from Barry Gray, slippery keys handled by Phil Knight and of course, the deadpanned vocals of singer Edward Kaspel , aka The Prophet. This is a snippet laden affair with 15 mini-tracks that sort of flow together helter-skelter but it works in some enchanted way. Things can be pretty standard on tracks like "Echo Police", as well as outright leftfield (get the pun?) on the smelly "Gorgon Zola's Baby" (now that's cheese!) or the seedy "Fifteen Flies in the Marmalade" with a violin riff lifted from Bedrich Smetana's classic Moldau and kookie vocalizings. The haunting voice boots up the "Femme Mirage" program, full of desperate illusions, Arab violin swindling evocatively, oasis guitars and sparse instrumentation coloring the musical dunes. By sheer fluke, a quirky piece like "The Hill" appends to the poetic confusion even more idiosyncrasy and keeps the tension sweatingly palpable. Yes, it's weird, folks, so be warned. Satanic on "Demonic", outright histrionic on "Prisoner" and epic on the 11 minute + "So Gallantly Screaming" where the Dutch lads decide to pick on the poor US of A by editing a line from the "Stars & Stripes" and going on a First Amendment joyride (We Canadians know American history!). This is not surprisingly the album's highpoint as the width offers freedom enough for major introspection and instrumental liberty. Ambient yet bizarre, obtuse and somehow veiled, Kaspel shines here. On the Jesusian "I Am the Way, the Truth, the Light" er?. John 14.6 (we Canadians know our religion especially if we are skeptics), Edward the Prophet goes nirvana on us, deliriously preaching to some imaginary higher order. The violin shows its catty appeal once again, in collusion with the ruffled axe and the pillorying beat. Bees are! A choice piece of holy bread dipped in sweet wine. Other wacky tracks pursue the course, little ditties like the celestial "Agape", the bombastic electronica of "Golden Dawn" with its flinching electric guitar solo, the ominous and unhinged "The Last Straw", the ultra sarcastic "Message from Our Sponsor"(where the ambient copters flutter and Lucifer rants) , the unbalanced "Go Ask Alice" (vocal fx in Dutch) and the ungodly 8 minute closer , vacuously titled "This Could Be the End" which really highlights the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds philosophy that keeps these trekkers tripping!

I enjoy listening to LPD when I feel my sanity leaving me, generally caused by the massive ongoing daily stupidity we are all faced with in daily life. Was it not Albert Einstein who said "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" . Not their best album (5 of those will come up very soon from 1988-1992) but a pleasant enough intravenous of banana colored freeze. 3.5 loonie bins

Report this review (#278489)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars During the late '80, I was pretty bored by the music scenario unable to offer something really new and exciting than neo-prog bands imitators of Genesis, and I was looking for something new, but with a more intriguing complexity than the new wave movement, generated from the post-punk and techno-pop.

So a friend of mine introduced me to the 'Legendary Pink Dots' with their 6th album 'Asylum'.

'The Legendary Pink Dots are an Anglo-Dutch experimental rock band formed in London in August 1980' by Wikipedia.

At the first listening they reminded me of the Tuxedomoon with a more complexity in the arrangement, and in the composition of the tracks. After several listening, came out some vague remembrance of the golden age's Pink Floyd of 'Wish you were here' and 'Atom heart mother', Eloy, and the Van Der Graaf Generator of 'the Quiet zone/the pleasure dome' too, but above all, the consciousness that finally, since long time, I was listening something very interesting.

Maybe for a 'modern psychedelic', "The Maria Dimension", "Legendary Pink Dots" and "Chemical Playschool 10" are the best albums to recommend, and they are good, indeed. Personally I still prefer a long and complex structure in a track, such as the traditional way of the prog-rock music, and 'Asylum' can offer this, in its atypical way. I mean please don't aspect the typical prog opera, but just an interesting album with several tracks with some changes of movements within the same song such as mini-suites, and an excellent richness of instruments in the arrangement.

I recommend, among the best songs, 'Echo Police' rich and complex in the arrangement, it is a very example of atypical mini-suite; lovely guitar's solo at the end; 'Prisoner' remarkable for the vocal's interpretation of the singer; 'I am the way, I am the truth, I am the light' a long track, with some strong characteristic of a suite, well arranged and executed, and with an interesting epic mood; and last but not least the gorgeous atmospheric 'Golden Dawn' an emotionally involving song, perfectly arranged, with an inexorable melancholy cadence that flow in a melting guitar's finale.

The Legendary Pink Dots are a typical example of an unwilling prog music band, and I recommend this album to all the prog fans that are looking for something alternative and different, highly creative but with strong features in the beloved genre.

Report this review (#437852)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Dobermensch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Welcome to the most inconsistent band of all time. I present to you 'The Legendary pink Dots'. Born in England but raised in Holland and developing the weirdest accent you're likely to hear this side of Uzbekistan .

There's never a dull moment with Edward Ka-Spel whose lyrics reveal a man fit for the psychiatrists couch.

'Asylum' was their most ambitious and yet complete recording until this point. There's some great haunted house vocals on 'Femme Mirage' which resembles pale white Victorian faces staring out of mansion windows as plinky plonky piano patters evily in the background, whilst heavily reverberated strings which sound like those used in 'Cannibal Holocaust' flutter around in the background.

One highlight comes early on with the ultra Syd Barrett-like 'The Hill' which describes a sniper outside a schoolyard. I can't believe there's so little reference to Ka-Spel sounding like the old Syd. Close your eyes and every tune this guy sings just sounds like him.

It's all a bit like listening to creepy nursery rhymes where at times it's light and bouncy but is immediately followed by huge slabs of darkness in the lyrics. 'Asylum' has a lot of psychedelia and space-rock at its core. Much of it sounds a bit dated, particularly the keyboards which must have sounded passe even in '85. There is however some excellent usage of violins and strings which sets this apart from their contemporaries.

There's a schizophrenic yet whimsical sound that prevails through the entire recording, where at times there's beautiful strings played in an orchestral manner to be met with such wonderful titles as 'Fifteen Flies in the Marmalade'.

What does it all mean?

'So Gallantly Screaming' has machine guns and a U.S civil war bugle calls to arms. This is where things go a bit mental with chopped up banging and short stabs of electronics coming to the forefront. All the while 'Ka-Spel' plaintively sings tunes from his clearly damaged mind. I guess the amateurish cover makes a bit more sense whilst listening to his insane mutterings.

Things get more bizarre and odd towards the end with string arrangements accompanying the vocal derangements. The last three tracks are superb as they go completely off the rails but remain tuneful. Of particular note is the final track 'This Could be the End' with it's treated violins and mashed up vocals and a whole load of sound effects.

'Asylum' is a lengthy double album with much lunacy, completely crazy lyrics and is superbly played by a group of clearly highly skilled musicians. It's therefore very difficult to give a sensible rating.

Four stars, only just.

Report this review (#1450876)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2015 | Review Permalink

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