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Conquest Music

The Book of Revelations
The Plumes of Enceladus

Like most other music genres, Progressive Rock has fragmented into an almost uncountable number of sub-genres and crossover genres and that’s all well and good but there is no denying that the original giants of Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Genesis, along with their lesser known 1970s peers, wrote the rule book (and then tore it up) for this generation’s current bands, many of which are superb. That was fifty years ago, Progressive Rock has, in a sense, progressed but there are also a number of bands that hark back to that 1970s era and try to recapture it. Some are nowhere near it, others are getting close but one man has truly understood it and got it. Welcome to the debut from Gerard Freeman, the best Gabriel era album Genesis never made.


CD in, press play and your head spins. Remember when you first heard Close to the Edge or Supper’s Ready? That wonderful confusion in your brain to fully digest what you are listening to? Hanging on every note and melody but the notes and melodies keep changing to something better – in the same song! Suddenly you are back there, discovering a new album, your friend’s bedroom, can’t wait to tape it on your cassette recorder and tell your mates at school the next day


Its analogue, off kilter, has lyrics you don’t immediately understand. It has titles that intrigue and amuse and above everything, music that is so well produced, arranged and performed that you’ll wonder who of the greats is performing the parts. Answer: (spoiler alert) Gerard himself. It turns out that not only is he a great composer, he is a very able lyricist and multi-instrumentalist. Live of course he has a full band but when you listen to the CD, it’s hard to comprehend how he managed to do so much. He has stated his influence was Gabriel-era Genesis but that belittles the amount of research, study and experimenting he had to do to achieve the vintage sounds, to find arrangements and melodies that are original without copying. This must have been a labour of love for Gerard, it’s not something you can knock together in a couple of weeks and the work ethic comes through.


Like all great Prog albums, you will find more and more the deeper you go into it. Taken as a whole, it is an astonishing piece of work that should kick-start a whole new generation of Classic Prog fans and for any of you reading this, those of us that were there, in that vintage era of Prog, I implore you to buy this, you will love it!


Track List

Malice a Forethought (A cautionary tale in five parts)

  Part (i) The Hypocratic Oaf

  Part (ii) Survival of the Wittest

  Part (iii) Revenge is Sweet, so Slayeth the Lord

  Part (iv) P and/or A (perceived as Eve)

  Part (v) Post Box 

Love Letter from a Newspaper to a Coffee Cup

The Chthonic Deities of Vengeance

  Part (i) The Tri-Cycle of Life

  Part (ii) The Chthonic Deities

  Part (iii) The Furies at Work

  Part (iv) All is Avenged

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Cherry Red

The I Hear A New World Sessions

Joe Meek was a pioneer in independent production in the 1960s UK. His contribution to Pop and Rock has gone vastly underestimated and ignored for decades. You may know his recordings through the hits of Telstar by The Tornedoes, John Leyton’s Johnny Remember Me and The Honeycombs’ Have I The Right. They were all recorded in Joe’s home studio located at 304 Holloway Road, North London, he was scorned and loathed by the majors for what he could do by using the ambience in his toilet for backing vocals. A recording genius, he also, in my opinion, recorded the first Prog Rock album


Joe wrote and produced I Hear a New World. It was a studio concept album but having no musical ability himself, hired with The Blue Men, a group that were playing live, as session musicians to perform it. This was in 1960, three years before The Beatles recorded Love Me Do so just take a moment and think how far ahead of his time Joe was… Four tracks were released as an EP that year but financial problems at the Triumph label, to which the material was signed, prevented any more releases. Joe left Triumph and the band moved into the live circuit. In 1991, a version of the complete album was released, supposedly from one of the rumoured 99 test pressings that were made in 1960. Back then, it was unlike anything that anyone had ever heard (it was in stereo for a start!) and then in 1991, it had the same impact. It’s an incredible piece of work, sonically overpowering; it’s still ahead if it’s time.


When Joe committed suicide in 1967, he left behind 1,865 reels of unreleased recordings in 74 tea chests which Cherry Red records are now sifting through and gradually releasing. This is Volume 3 and gives us a very revealing insight into what Joe wanted to do. They are experimental and if I’m being honest, for the casual listener, not something you could listen to as a stand-alone release and appreciate but listened to alongside the finished album, (imagine bonus tracks on a CD), gives us a peek into how Joe’s mind worked and how he built the album.


Pressed on 10” high quality vinyl, the clarity is marvellous. The sleeve notes - an essay and individual track notes - are copious and printed on the stiff gatefold sleeve which houses the record. The artwork covers, his tape reels and boxes, the writing and scribblings on which also make you wonder where Joe’s head was. Taken as a whole, I doubt Cherry Red could have put out a better package than this and there is a promise of more to come. Until it does, us Joe Meek nuts, will wait, with baited breath.


Track List

Orbit Around The Moon (Take 1)

Entry Of The Globbots (Take 2)

Love Dance Of The Saroos (Take 1)
Glob Waterfall (Early Version)
Magnetic Field (Rehearsal)

Valley Of The Saroos (Extended Take)
Dribcots Space Boat (Take 4 + Ending Experiment)

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