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Freedom's Children - Galactic Vibes CD (album) cover

GALACTIC VIBES

Freedom's Children

 

Heavy Prog

3.31 | 22 ratings

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Straight Air
4 stars I wasn't too impressed when I finally heard this album many years after wearing the grooves off 'Astra' with its layered mystical soundscapes, Galactic's 'one-take vibe' makes it less mysterious and more like a Black Sabbath / Led Zeppelin wannabee. I'd read that the master tapes of both 'Astra' and 'Galactic Vibes' were destroyed in a fire so there is no chance of a newer version with fuller drum sound or clearer orchestration. If you're not happy with your cheap seat ticket...

I wasn't at Woodstock but I'm thankful the movie producer left in Michael Shrieve's drum solo and included more than the 'Purple Haze' hit in the Jimi Hendrix finale. The same goes for Freedom's Children's producer. The fact that the live 'Homecoming' is relatively well recorded is astounding and after all these years it's a confirmation that I witnessed something special in '71. Colin Pratley broke his wrist in that concert but if you listen to this earlier recording, when he changes from bare hands back to sticks, he does so without a break. As for Julian Laxton's echoed guitar solo, it's up there with the best,, but be warned, it takes a few good listens before the ears are gargled, especially when its competing with Ramsey Mackay's pulsating bass and Pratley's menacing drums.

The other hard rock tracks benefit from more searing guitar breaks though I'm not too enamored by the riffs, in fact, I can't discern any riff in 'That Did It' though it's a reasonable Zeppelin pastiche. 'Sea Horse' takes a bow to 'Paranoid', while '1999' could have been an 'Astra' outtake with multi-tracked vocals over a hijacked Duul 2 Amon riff.

Both 'Fields and Me' and 'About The Dove and His K/Ring' have a 'Bolero' sounding orchestral arrangement which slows the pace down considerably and probably loses a couple of stars from disappointed hard rock fans. As for the nightmarish 'Crazy World of Pod', I'm reminded of Pink Floyd's 'Sysyphus' and the hammer march in 'The Wall', so bang goes another star. The less said about the long mono version of '1999' the better.

A disjointed album was improved by starting with the live track, adding the rockers then the electronic concerto and ending with the orchestral tracks.

Straight Air | 4/5 |

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