Category ALBUM FOCUS

DUNE, CHAPTER TWO

It is a rule of cinema that any successful novel will eventually be made into a film, no matter how challenging the translation from page to screen might appear. It is a rule of the known universe that any film adaptation of a beloved book will disappoint bibliophiles. It is a rule of pop that […]

DUNE, CHAPTER ONE

Have you ever gone on a bender? Not an over-imbibing, CH3-CH2-CH2-OH-God-Where-Did-That-Stethoscope-Come-From escapade, but the pop-cultural kind. Where you discover—or re-discover—an author and simply must immerse yourself in their world. So it was with your correspondent and Frank Herbert’s Dune, sometime last year. It went like this… I’d been listening to X, the tenth album by […]

YOUNG AND FRESH

First albums by bands are always interesting, though not necessarily essential. Sometimes the artist is feeling their way, often the vision is a work-in-progress, occasionally it’s “All Change!” after the first effort. The two 1968 debuts we’re looking at in this post cover most of the bases mentioned above. Both are worthy of attention; both […]

DADDY, WHERE DID PROG COME FROM?

Released in November 1968, Ars Longa Vita Brevis was the second album by The Nice. Their first, 1967’s The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, has some classic psychedelic songs (“Flower King of Flies” is a personal fave) and clear progressive characteristics, exemplified by Keith Emerson’s keyboard work on “Rondo”, but you could not call it a […]

LIFE IS SHORT, ART IS LONG

“When did prog rock begin?” is a question that gets trotted out periodically and always invites a storm of opinion, most of it generating more heat than light. A big part of the problem is a lack of shared understanding around the terms. What is prog? Is it different from progressive music? And what constitutes […]

THREE 68 BEES

One of the best albums of the 60s was released in January 1968. It garnished folk-rock, psychedelic, country and pop tunes with flourishes of Eastern tonalities, smatterings of jazz and a knowing awareness of what four chaps from Liverpool were doing over in the UK. We are talking about The Notorious Byrd Brothers, behind whose […]

GOING INSIDE

When it comes to choosing albums to write about, I’ve noticed a few trends. One—previously mentioned—is the difficulty in writing about a really special, favourite record. Something about the meaning, the importance, the desire to communicate the specialness; these somehow inhibit my fingers. At the other end of the spectrum are those artists only known […]