CD The Asmoto Running Band (CD 1215143),
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The Asmoto Running Band
Principal Edwards Magic Theatre
1. McAlpine's Dream
2. McAlpine Versus the Asmoto
3. Asmoto Running Band, The (Hou'amih)
4. Asmoto Celebration
5. Further Asmoto Celebration (After the Ball)
6. Total Glycerol Esther
7. Freef ('R) All
8. Autumn Lady Dancing Song
9. Kettering Song, The
10. Weirdsong of Breaking Through at Last
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 13072
Personnel: Belinda Bourquin (vocals, violin, fiddle, strings, recorder, tenor recorder, piano, keyboards); Vivienne McAuliffe (vocals, recorder); Martin Stellman (vocals); Roots Cartwright (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, Spanish guitar, recorder, bass guitar); Roger Swallow (acoustic guitar, xylophone, drums, snare drum, congas, talking drum, finger cymbals, tabla, tambourine, timpani, wood block, bells); Jeremy Ensor (bass guitar); David A. Jones (bass drum, congas, bongos, cymbals, finger cymbals, maracas, tambourine, wood block, gong); R.C. Pocock (bass drum); David Jones (percussion); Monica Nettles, Gillian Hadley, John McMahon (dancer).
Liner Note Author: Michael Heatley.
Recording information: Tangerine Studios.
Once the darlings of British DJ John Peel, who first released these two albums on his Dandelion label, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre epitomized the English intellectual take on music. Comprised of students at Exeter University, the 15-strong troupe was a multimedia event, with music, dancing, and a light show -- everything a bunch of young hippies could want, really. However, they were very much of their time, as the music hasn't aged too well. Certainly the word "pretentious" springs to mind with titles like "Enigmatic Insomniac Machine," "Pinky -- A Mystery Cycle," and "Weirdsong of Breaking Through at Last," while the use of ethereal female voices (mostly Vivienne McAuliffe), recorders, and plenty of acoustic guitars offers a medieval feel -- "Third Sonnet to Sundry Notes of Music," which is Shakespeare set to music, runs from plainsong, to an Elizabethan dance, to portentous early English opera, before heading into electric boogie territory -- all in just the first minute of a 13-minute song. It's all completely over the top, full of its own cleverness, and trying to be thoroughly portentous. By the time of The Asmoto Running Band in 1970, they'd cut down the song times a little, and producer Nick Mason from Pink Floyd focused them a bit more. But it's still music with a heavy emphasis on art for art's sake, and ambition that far surpasses technique (especially in the case of guitarist Root Cartwright). It's impossible not to find some degree of warmth for what's essentially an artifact of a time long past, especially if you ever saw them play live. However, sitting through the whole thing for sheer pleasure is impossible. File under curio. ~ Chris Nickson
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Cherry Red CDMRED 307
MSI Music Distribution
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