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I dedicate this review to the memory of the recently deceased Brian Davison. The spoken voice of the uncomfortable 'parent' attempting to impart this knowledge to his inquisitive offspring is that of the band's manager Tony Stratton-Smith and subsequent founder of Charisma records The damning indictment hurled from the bridge section is really just a bit 'rich' from a band of hellraisers like the Nice could be: Your back teeth rotting in a gallon of booze, you can't even work out how to fasten your shoes, you get yourself into such a state, it's no small wonder that you can't even answer questions Similar musical materials were put to better use on Azrael Revisited on the next album.
The vinyl pressing of the record I originally purchased had some guitar on this track which beefs things up considerably, but the CD reissue I own does not? I think all of us have met at some time or another exactly the sort of dippy hippy chick that they cruelly lampoon here. Talks in riddles talks in rhymes, she is a problem of the times, I'm rather glad she isn't mine The very impressive trumpet was contributed by a session player.
Even on this second album the band prove to be more than capable of crafting a memorable pop song. Keith's voice however, was never suited to the sort of material he composed and as spirited an effort as he makes here, it just don't cut it.
Brilliantly played as always but suffers from a rather haphazard and sloppy arrangement which casts Sibelius in a rather insipid light. Nice use of occasional bowed bass from Jackson to authenticate and acknowledge the origins of the work. Roy Harper claims to have inspired the band to tackle this piece. Orchestra tunes up and someone blows a very loud whistle.
Much giggling ensues. Guess you had to be there. It was seeded by a riff that departing guitarist Davy O'List contributed and the rest seems to have snowballed from there. Much debate ensues about who actually plays the guitar parts on Ars Longa , but the prevailing view is that it is Malcolm Langstaff, a contemporary of Jackson and fellow Novocastrian who learned the parts by listening to a BBC session of an earlier version.
Brian Davison was well known to be reluctant to perform drum solos on stage, so it is something of a surprise to see one on this album during the Awakening section. O'List's original riff appears in the Realisation Movement and it's 'eastern' tonality is exploited by the Nice in an incense filled song section sung with suitably oriental inflections by Jackson.
His lyrics alas, remain as stubbornly cryptic as always: Life's too short to paint a kiss, so sing a picture, paint a song, take it home and bang your gong!? Keith then moves onto piano and embarks on a Latin percussion backed tour de force which runs the gamut of most of his avowed influences at the time i. The opening statement of the theme on Hammond never fails to raise the hairs on the back of your humble correspondent's neck.
The Nice even manage to tease a performance out of the orchestra that borders on 'swinging' a rare feat from classical players. Alludes in places to phrases and motifs that would appear on Hoedown by ELP and reprises O'List's original riff in a very satisfying symmetrical conclusion to the whole suite.
This record probably captures the Nice 'halfway up the stairs to the observation bay' that they were able to look out from on it's successor, and although it could be described as very patchy, it is an incredibly far sighted work that blazed a trail where no others had dared to set a Beatle boot.
They hold everything one loves or hate from the later works of the and. Self indulgence from dear old Keith; but not only. After an obviously pompous "Prelude", the next "Awakenings" holds a drum solo which was probably not the best musical idea that the band has ever had.
There is nothing to say about the musicians of course, the drumming from Palmer is excellent. It is not Palmer, hum. Are you sure? I'm sorry about that! I guess that you got the idea. Realisation holds all the pomposity of the later trio as well as weak vocals. The "Acceptance" part is way better, and offers a very pleasant interplay between each band members while "Denial" is my favourite section of this long suite. Great keyboards playing from the master and strong backing from the rhythmic as well.
In all, I consider the title track as the best part of this album. From the first three songs of this "Ars Longa. A fine psychedelic track well in line with those late mid-sixties and strongly early Floyd oriented. This album is just a rehearsal of some pictures at an exhibition. But very pale in comparison. Still, it must be considered as highly innovative at the time of its release.
Five out of ten but I upgrade it to three stars. The opening three track on the album are in a psychadelic rock style with vocals and they remind me a bit of the sound Pink Floyd had on their debut album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn ". They are all decent tracks but seldom reach excellence. The last half of the album is much more classically influenced with full orchestra parts and progressive, and as a result also quite a bit more interesting.
The closing title track on the album is an minutes long classically influenced and mostly instrumental although it does feature some vocals piece of music and should be considered the centerpiece of the album. Keith Emerson shows the full arsenal on this one.
The production is of a much better quality than the case is on the rather weak produced debut. Check out our turntable store for a great selection of turntables, needles, accessories, and more. Register a free business account. Customer reviews. How are ratings calculated? Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon.
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Verified Purchase. In my opinion Castle is to be commended on their reissues of the first three Nice albums in The third album is a single disc with five bonus tracks.
To these ears the remastering sounds great. I know there have been several versions of these albums released on CD but I haven't heard them all to give a comparison on sound. Guitarist Davey O'List left the band during the recording of this their second album, leaving the remaining three members to complete it.
Structurally the album started where "Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack" left off- short wigged-out psychedelic songs and extended work-outs based on classical themes- but a step forward was taken with the addition of an orchestra and the extended length of Ars Longa Vita Brevis itself, forshadowing the later Five Bridges Suite. If we accept that the Latin term 'ars' is equivalent to the Greek 'techne' and that, consequently, 'ars' is better translated into English as 'skill' or 'craft', we may opt to interpret the phrase differently.
The full quotation, in Latin, is. Happy Freuds. Intermezzo From the Karelia Suite. Don Edito el Gruva. Coda-Extension to the Big Note. Acceptance Brandenburger. Spotify Amazon.Ars Longa Vita Brevis is probably my favourite of the three albums I've heard and if you bear in mind that this was released in , it really is pretty damn progressive stuff. The album commences with a trio of shorter, occasionally baudy tunes/5.