Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rush - 2112 (1976)

2112 is the fourth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1976. The Toronto dates of the 2112 tour were recorded and released as All The World's a Stage in September 1976. In 2006 a poll of Planet Rock listeners picked 2112 as the definitive Rush album. The album 2112 features an eponymous seven-part suite written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, with lyrics written by Neil Peart. The suite tells a dystopian story set in the year 2112. Since the album is named after the suite it is mistakenly thought of as a concept album. Technically it is not, as the songs on the second side are completely unrelated to the plot of the suite. Rush repeated this arrangement in Hemispheres. 2112 is one of two Rush albums listed in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (the other being Moving Pictures). - Wikipedia

Geddy Lee - Bass, Vocals
Alex Lifeson - Acoustic & Electric Guitars
Neil Peart - Drums, Percussion
Hugh Syme - Mellotron

1. 2112 (20:37)
2. A Passage to Bangkok (3:34)
3. The Twilight Zone (3:17)
4. Lessons (3:51)
5. Tears (3:31)
6. Something for Nothing (3:59)

Yes - Going for the One (1977)

Going for the One is the eighth studio album by British progressive rock band Yes. It was released in 1977 after an extended break for solo activity, and is especially notable for marking the return of keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who had departed in 1974 in the aftermath of the Tales from Topographic Oceans tour. His re-entry was facilitated by the departure of Patrick Moraz, after having only played on Relayer, although Moraz is thanked in the credits.
After their extended break, the band regrouped in Switzerland, refreshed and ready to record in late 1976. The album was recorded at Mountain Studios by recording engineers John Timperley and David Richards. After constructing epic tracks for the last few years, Yes felt inspired to scale things back a bit and recorded some of their most direct and concise material since Fragile. Wakeman also varied his sound by largely forsaking his mellotron and experimenting with church organ on "Parallels" and the sole extended track, "Awaken". After many successive album covers with Roger Dean, Yes (who also produced the album entirely by themselves) instead commissioned Hipgnosis (known for designing album covers for Pink Floyd) to create the artwork for Going for the One. The album cover features the Century Plaza Towers in Los Angeles, also known locally as the Twin Towers. Yes's return at the height of the punk movement was an unexpectedly successful one, with Going for the One reaching the pinnacle of the UK charts and even having a Top 10 hit single with "Wonderous Stories" - something that would have been considered impossible during the days of Tales from Topographic Oceans. The album was another U.S. Top 10 charting album for the band reaching #8 on the Billboard album chart in 1977. With its confident and natural qualities, Going for the One is still generally regarded by most critics as one of Yes's finest, and many times, most underrated albums. In addition, the song "Awaken" is considered by many fans to be Yes's finest work[citation needed], and Jon Anderson has said "We had a hit record! I loved listening to 'Awaken', at last we had created a Masterwork" and has indicated in some interviews that he considers it to be Yes's most complete composition. - Wikipedia

Jon Anderson - Vocals, Percussion, Harp
Chris Squire - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Steve Howe - Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Lap Steel Guitar, Vocal
Rick Wakeman - Piano, Organ, Polymoog and Minimoog Synthesizers, Pipe Organ
Alan White - Drums, Percussion

1. Going for the One (5:32)
2. Turn of the Century (7:56)
3. Parallels (5:53)
4. Wonderous Stories (3:49)
5. Awaken (15:31)

Van der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts (1971)

Pawn Hearts is Van Der Graaf Generators magnum opus, there finest album. It is a fusion of jazz, hard rock, chamber music, psychedelia, avant garde, poetry, and proto- punk. The mixture comes out a progressive masterpiece. David Jackson, who plays a saxaphone, never fails to rock, yet experiments constantly, employing sounds and noises that are heavy, dark, and ultimately expressive. His use of devices insures that that every sound is unique and shows he is unlike any musician, a true original. Hugh Banton play an incredible organ. Instead of focusing on fast solos, he plays gothic overtones that show an even hightened sense of dread. Guy Evans may be the most underrated drummer ever. Playing jazzy rythms and maddening staccatos, he is a force to be reckoned with. They combine to make instruments that make pawn hearts the sonic attack that it is. Peter Hammil is who makes this record though. His songwriting is amazing, and he deals with some of the most dark and facinating subject matter a rock band may indulge in. The lyrics are introspective, but at the same time use sci-fi elements. And his voice. It is incredibley bizarre, which scares many people away from this band. He uses it like an instrument though. Robert Fripp said he is the Hendrix of the voice. That may be true. He uses several different to express the lyrics. He dosn't just sing them, he makes you feel them. At times it is sweet, then it is angsty and rough, which shows his punk rock influence. At times he cowers in fear. Robert Fripp also lends a hand in this record, employing his sonic guitar runs on the songs. In Pawn Hearts VDGG perfect there sound and issue a flawless record. Highly reccomended. - Progarchives

Hugh Banton - Hammond and Farfisa Organs, Piano, Mellotron, ARP Synthesizer, Bass Pedals, Bass Guitar, Vocals
Guy Evans - Drums, Tympani, Percussion, Piano
Peter Hammill - Lead Vocals, Acoustic and Slide Guitar, Electric Piano, Piano
David Jackson - Saxophones, Flute, Vocals

1. Lemmings (11:37)
2. Theme One (2:55)
3. Man-Erg (10:20)
4. A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers (23:04)

King Crimson - Red (1974)

Less is more on "Red", where the trio of Bruford, Fripp and Wetton execute lucid arrangements of top-shelf material. The opening title track picks up where "Fracture" left off, an angular, instrumentally daunting composition that presages the style expounded on in 1981's "Discipline". "Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare" move with purpose, a pair of songs that rank with Crimson's best. On side two, violinst David Cross and a handful of ex-Crimsonites are re-admitted to the fold for the experimental art jazz of "Providence" and the brilliant song, "Starless." This last track reveals a restraint not found in the band's earlier work - from Fripp's deceptively simple guitar solo to Bruford's studied manipulation of percussion, "Starless" proves the pinky of God is more powerful than the hands of man. Not everyone is enamored of "Red" - one critic called the final track "listless" - but for those that have been watching Crimson closely to this point, it's a near-final step in evolution. - Progarchives

Robert Fripp - Guitar, Mellotron
John Wetton - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Bill Bruford - Drums, Percussion

1. Red (6:16)
2. Fallen Angel (6:03)
3. One More Red Nightmare (7:10)
4. Providence (8:10)
5. Starless (12:16)

The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute (2005)

Frances the Mute is the second studio album by progressive rock band The Mars Volta released in the US on March 1, 2005. The album's lyrics often jump from Spanish to English. It displays a deep jazz influence while infusing Latin flavor into many songs. Originally to be titled Sarcophagus. Frances the Mute sold 123,000 copies in its opening week and has sold 465,000 copies as of September 2006. The album made multiple "Best of" lists at the end of 2005. The artwork is a reinterpretation of a 1928 work by Rene Magritte, called The Lovers. - Wikipedia 
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Guitar, Producer
Cedric Bixler-Zavala - Vocals
Jon Theodore - Drums
Isaiah Ikey Owens - Keyboards
Juan Alderete - Bass
Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez - Percussion

1. Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus (13:02)
2. The Widow (5:50)
3. L'Via L'Viaquez (12:21)
4. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore (13:09)
5. Cassandra Gemini (32:32)

Wishbone Ash - Argus (1972)

Argus is the third album by the rock band Wishbone Ash. It is the most popular Wishbone Ash album and widely considered the greatest by fans and reviewers. It was named "Album of the Year" in the 1972 year-end issue of Sounds magazine. The album features a blend of progressive rock, folk, and heavy metal, and is considered a landmark album in the progression of twin-lead guitar harmonization later adopted by bands such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. The sound engineer on Argus was Martin Birch, who also worked with Deep Purple, later with Iron Maiden and other hard rock / heavy metal bands. - Wikipedia

Martin Turner - Bass, Vocals
Andy Powell - Guitar, Vocals
Ted Turner - Guitar, Vocals
Steve Upton - Drums
John Tout - Organ

1. Time Was (9:42)
2. Sometime World (6:55)
3. Blowin' Free (5:18)
4. The King Will Come (7:06)
5. Leaf and Stream (3:55)
6. Warrior (5:53)
7. Throw Down the Sword (5:11)