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Re: ELP (was: Hiromi)

From: "mech" <mech@m3ch.net>
> At 11:44 AM -0700 6/20/06, Paul Richards wrote:
>>(I also tossed most of my ELP records out quite some time ago, however)
>>For me, ELP hasn't held up over time. I've tried listening to their work 
>>more than once the past few years, and while some of their stuff is 
>>good, much is overblown, mile-a-minute aimless noodling (as opposed to 
>>direction'ed noodling).
> Ditto here.  I still vaguely recall a few memorable lines from Tarkus or 
> Brain Salad Surgery (Karn Evil 9?).  I was a fan back when I was in high 
> school, and used to routinely get into such typical juvenile 
> about who was the world's greatest rock keyboardist, Emerson or Wakeman 
> (um, yeah -- high school...).  Just for the sake of nostalgia, I trot 
> those records back out every few years to see if there's still anything 
> there.  No luck yet.  :P
> Although I'd like to believe that Emerson has to have had a sense of 
> in there somewhere (oh come on now: a guy dressed in white spandex with 
> cape riding a flaming Hammond B3 twirling in mid-air? that's so absurdly 
> overblown it's almost worthy of Zappa, George Clinton, or Liberace).  
> once you combine that amount of theatre with Carl Palmer's pomposity and 
> Greg Lake's HUGELY overblown ego, the whole thing just cooks up a recipe 
> for carsickness.  Ugh!

I never bought "Tarkus" for two reasons: The cover art was the kind of 
I saw in fellow junior-high students, something done quickly in magic 
marker, ink and colored pencils with a ruler; and the music comes across 
"look what I can do with a synthesizer, folks!", combined with possibly 
pompous or self-effacing martial themes.

Only two things stick out for me with ELP:

"Pictures at an Exhibition" is one which ELP-haters tend to really hate 
("How dare they present classical" with more than a dash of "What a bunch 
pretentious c*nts").  This album is pretty much a common point-of-attack 
anyone who hates "progressive rock".

I LIKED PaaE because I was also listening to the great Tomita at the time 
("Snowflakes are Dancing" is a masterpiece), and was interested in where 
synthesizer music would have a relationship with the classical music world 
during the same period I remember an article in National Geographic about 
this very thing, which prematurely predicted the idea of entire marching 
bands using synths instead of conventional instruments.  When I eventually 
saw the film that the record provided a soundtrack to, I was really 
disappointed.  But then I hadn't been introduced to certain psychotropics 
the time as yet. :)

"Brain Salad Surgery" caught me at a point when I was experimenting with 
drawing sci-fi comics.  The imagery in "Karn Evil #9" is quite like that 
depicted in Ellison's "A Boy and his Dog": "Leave your hammers at the 
Sinfield at his best I think.  I think this was ELP at their best, and 
everything afterwards is beyond awful ("Love Beach"???  "LOVE BEACH"???  
Alice Cooper put it in the live version of "Welcome to My Nightmare", 

Lastly the theatre aspect shouldn't be ignored.  I was primarily sorry to 
not make ELP's '75 tour because of that great rotating-speaker synth thing 
at the end of "KE9" - I'd heard the Quad 8-track of it, which was probably 
the best mix of the album, no pause between KE9 pts 1 and 2, where there 
a fade-out on the LP and cassette.  I'd hoped for a more fleshed-out 
of the three-part piece, but alas!  This mix doesn't seem to have survived 
the transition to digital CDs...

Double-lastly I have not been able to believe the level of hatred the 
British Tabloid/"Music" Magazine industry has for what they call "prog 
rock", but I suspect it's because there's no "Spice Girl" element to it, 
scandal to exploit... or their tiny minds can't handle anything the music 
biz doesn't know how to sell for them.

Hm, time for more coffee.

Stephen Goodman
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