Sunday, 13 September 2020

Log #207 - Red Gamma Rays In Aspic

Eddy Bamyasi

 

I literally have not heard this Gamma album for 35 years. Yet it is amazing how I remember some of the songs. Of course it is very '80s and does sound dated, particularly on the vocal front. But there are some excellent hooks, decent electric guitar from founder Ronnie Montrose, and interesting synth embellishment with even some ELO like vocoder! On some of the more pumping bass tracks they remind me a bit of Budgie.

Carly Simon No Secrets
Sigur Ros - Takk
King Crimson - Lark's Tongues In Aspic
King Crimson - Red
Harmonia - Deluxe
Gamma - 1

I could n't stomach the singing on the Sigur Ros album Takk, their fourth. I was into their break through Ágætis Byrjun album (their second) so it's a mystery to me whether my tastes have changed, or the band, or more to the point, the singer has changed. Or were they just a one trick pony? I had to turn it off about half way through to be fair.

Two superb albums from King Crimson reaffirmed my faith in progressive rock this week. Displaying both power and musicianship these albums are high watermarks in the genre. Whereas the monumental debut and fan favourite In The Court Of The Crimson King was beautiful it is now also a little dated and slightly whimsical. A few years later Robert Fripp's band had come on leaps and bounds - there is less mellotron and more drums and bass (the former so sharp and the latter so heavy in the mix), and sawing violin especially on Larks', and guitar especially on Red

Red was a fitting climax to the end of the first era of King Crimson ending on perhaps their greatest ever track, Starless, which featured one of the most unique guitar solos in rock history. 

Interestingly these two albums feature at number 14 and 8 respectively in this well researched list >> https://www.progarchives.com/top-prog-albums.asp?salbumtypes=1#list  with the debut album at no. 4!

Fripp mothballed the band and set out on some solo experimentation and collaborations with the likes of Bowie and Eno. Not until 1981 did he return with a reformed King Crimson releasing the revolutionary Discipline; an album which was most confusing to the early fans but is now viewed as an underrated classic ahead of its time.


ps. What is Aspic? All these years I assumed it was a place, fictitious or otherwise. I never realised it was a foodstuff, which makes sense - something you would serve lark's tongues in.


Enjoy my posts? Help support my blog with a cheeky Cortado! Many thanks, EB











About The Author

Eddy Bamyasi

Eddy is a music writer from Brighton, England, named after a Can record. Each Sunday he logs and reviews the albums that happen to be in his vintage Pioneer 6-CD magazine changer, amongst other things.

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