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801

Live

Review by Gary Hill

What a superstar lineup this one is. Phil Manzanera on guitar. Brian Eno on keyboards. Bill MacCormick of Matching Mole fame on bass. Francis Monkman known best for his work in Curved Air on Fender Rhodes and clavinet. Simon Phillips handling the drums. Lloyd Watson rounds out the lineup on slide guitar and vocals. You just can’t go wrong. This live album (with two separate shows on this 2 CD special edition) presents killer live performances from 1976 and the band’s combination of modern minimalist elements with prog and space rock and fusion is unique and strong. If you are fan of any of these guys you must pick this one up. Note that the two shows are virtually identical, so I’ve used the track by track reviews from the first disc on the second one – where applicable.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
DIsc 1
Lagrima

This is a short instrumental motif that’s more about noisy atmosphere than anything else, yet there is still melody in it.

T.N.K
Now, here’s more of a real rocker. A killer funky bass line holds it down as waves of space rock type sounds are built on top. This has a real driving groove. They take us out into a full on Beatles cover, but the bass is all over this thing and it takes the original psychedelia fully over into space rock meets pure prog.
East Of Asteroid
Here’s a killer instrumental with fusion, space rock and jam band influences all wandering throughout. It’s a cool tune that carries on the traditions and sounds started earlier. There’s some killer bass work late in this piece. 
Rongwrong
At times I’m reminded of Pink Floyd. At other points I hear traces of country music. There is also some definite fusion here. Overall this is an intriguing number that combines solid instrumental movements with quirky little vocal sections and there’s still some space rock at times in this mélange. 
Sombre Reptiles
As this starts I’m reminded of Pink Floyd’s “Several Species…” As they continue it begins to rock out more and there are still Pink Floyd traces here, but accompanied by more pure fusion and even some space rock. At less than three minutes in length, this is a fairly brief instrumental. 
Golden Hours
The vocal segments on this are rather quirky and playful – with early Pink Floyd being a valid comparison. The instrumental movements are more creative and fusion meets space rock in texture. 
The Fat Lady Of Limbourg
One of the longer cuts on show here, this has a lot of different sections. The main crux, though, centers on a slow moving, bluesy vocal based movement. This rocks out through some cool variants and alterations, though and is quite possibly my favorite piece on show. 
Baby's On Fire
For me this one has a lot of Frank Zappa in it. Still, I can also make out some Talking Heads. All in all it’s quirky, fun and a bit odd. 
Diamond Head
This instrumental is melodic, powerful and extremely strong. It’s another standout of the set. All prog, there are leanings here towards the sound of artists like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. It turns into quite the hard rocker at points, though. 
Miss Shapiro
Starting as a hard rocker, this shifts out to a bouncy sort of weird vocal based section. This definitely has some Roxy Music built into it.
You Really Got Me
Imagine Devo covering this Kinks classic. You’re probably pretty darned close to what this sounds like. 
Third Uncle
At first I thought we were about to get a cover of Pink Floyd’s “One of These Days.” From there, though, they take it out into a scorching jam that’s got plenty of the same sounds from the rest of the disc, but in an all new configuration. The vocals definitely make me think of Devo. We get some seriously soaring and hard rocking movements on this powerhouse. 
DIsc 2
Lagrima
This is a short instrumental motif that’s more about noisy atmosphere than anything else, yet there is still melody in it. 
T.N.K
Now, here’s more of a real rocker. A killer funky bass line holds it down as waves of space rock type sounds are built on top. This has a real driving groove. They take us out into a full on Beatles cover, but the bass is all over this thing and it takes the original psychedelia fully over into space rock meets pure prog. 
East Of Asteroid
Here’s a killer instrumental with fusion, space rock and jam band influences all wandering throughout. It’s a cool tune that carries on the traditions and sounds started earlier. There’s some killer bass work late in this piece. 
Rongwrong
At times I’m reminded of Pink Floyd. At other points I hear traces of country music. There is also some definite fusion here. Overall this is an intriguing number that combines solid instrumental movements with quirky little vocal sections and there’s still some space rock at times in this mélange. 
Sombre Reptiles
As this starts I’m reminded of Pink Floyd’s “Several Species…” As they continue it begins to rock out more and there are still Pink Floyd traces here, but accompanied by more pure fusion and even some space rock. At less than three minutes in length, this is a fairly brief instrumental. 
Golden Hours
The vocal segments on this are rather quirky and playful – with early Pink Floyd being a valid comparison. The instrumental movements are more creative and fusion meets space rock in texture. 
The Fat Lady Of Limbourg
One of the longer cuts on show here, this has a lot of different sections. The main crux, though, centers on a slow moving, bluesy vocal based movement. This rocks out through some cool variants and alterations, though and is quite possibly my favorite piece on show. 
Baby's On Fire
For me this one has a lot of Frank Zappa in it. Still, I can also make out some Talking Heads. All in all it’s quirky, fun and a bit odd. 
Diamond Head
This instrumental is melodic, powerful and extremely strong. It’s another standout of the set. All prog, there are leanings here towards the sound of artists like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. It turns into quite the hard rocker at points, though. 
Miss Shapiro
Starting as a hard rocker, this shifts out to a bouncy sort of weird vocal based section. This definitely has some Roxy Music built into it. 
You Really Got Me
Imagine Devo covering this Kinks classic. You’re probably pretty darned close to what this sounds like.

 

Lagrima (Reprise)
They close the set out with a noisy reprise of the opening number.
 
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