Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
Swimming in mellotron
“Waters of change” was Beggar’s opera’s best album in my opinion, full of strong melodies and well constructed songs. Having introduced themselves with the innovative, classically driven “Act one”, the band invested in a mellotron, which instantly became the dominant instrument in their sound. The band moved away from the intricate symphonic prog of their first album, towards the art rock of the Moody Blues and Barclay James Harvest.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection
What a mindblowing debut-album this is! The very melodic and harmonic music from this five-piece band is based upon an incredible dynamic and propulsive rhythm-section and splendid, very exciting Hammond organ work, often accompanied by a powerful and fiery electric guitar. The interplay between the musicians is magnificent and the excertions on keyboards and guitar are very compelling, in the spirit of the late Sixties and early Seventies.
France’s leading young harpsichordist performs works by two masters of the French Baroque. No surprises there, perhaps … but the harpsichordist in question is Jean Rondeau and the album is called Vertigo. It conceives the harpsichord in vividly theatrical terms. Vertigo takes its name from a dramatic, rhapsodic piece by Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer, who, along with Jean-Philippe Rameau, forms the focus of this album. If Rameau (1683–1764) is the better-known composer today, especially admired for such operatic masterpieces as Hippolyte et Aricie and Platée, the younger Royer (1705–1755) was also a major figure in his time, rising to become master of music at the court of Louis XV. Both Rameau and Royer excelled in keyboard music and in works for the stage. As Jean Rondeau says: “These two illustrious composers battled for the top spot at the Opéra.” He describes them as “two magicians, two master architects, amongst the most wildly imaginative and brilliant of their era … Two composers who also tried to capture echoes of grand theatre with the palette offered by their keyboard.
Over 17 previous albums, The Necks have explored as many different kinds of space and texture the piano trio format (occasionally with electronics) would seemingly allow for. But Australia's longstanding avant-ambient jazz unit, while having an instantly identifiable sound, has never made the same record twice – even though they typically employ a single, set-length track in doing so. Unlike their Northern Spy debut, 2013's airy, gentle, and drifting Open, Vertigo is a dark, brooding, sometimes dissonant – and occasionally explosive – outing. The 43-minute work is informally split into movement-like halves, though its sense of fluidity is constant, no matter what arises in the proceedings – and there is plenty.