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ELP Review!
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Popel Vooje
5316 posts

Jul 09, 2004, 20:55
Fair enough, Seth, but in all honesty, I've heard each of the other LPs which Dog 3000 mentions - my eldest brother was a big ELP fan back in their day - and personally I couldn't even stomach them, so it's not very likely I'm going to enjoy "Love Beach". Furthermore, that sleeve is not just tasteless and tacky, it's symptomatic of the aristocratic cocaine-guzzling mentality that, to my ears, had virtually destroyed the notion of rock music as any kind of counter-cultural force by the mid-70s prior to the advent of punk (I will make an exception for the late 70s output of Fleetwood Mac, which I unfashionably think is absolutely bloody marvellous).

None of this is any way personal. It's about the music and nothing else. It's just that my tastes tend towards music which is unfettered by reverence towards classicist values like virtuoso and technique, or at least subverts them by using them to do something wildly different from what they were intended for (such as Frank Zappa utilising his obvious classical training in order to produce wildly inventive collages of sound that gobbled up everything from Gustav Holst to Dion And The Belmonts on the first three Mothers albums), and on these grounds ELP just don't fulfil my aesthetic criteria.

It's possible that Emerson genuinely though he was re-evaluating the classics on his interpretations of "Pictures At An Exhibition" or the Nice's "Karelia Suite" by playing them on modern instruments, but to me he sounds way too in awe of the originals to produce anything other than ham-fisted pastiches with little in the way of subtlety or dynamics.

I'm not trying to sound like a holier-than-thou snob here, but seeing as there seems to have been a wholesale rehabilitation of prog around these parts recently, I feel the case for the prosecution - why punk had to happen - deserves at least to be acknowledeged, even though I'm aware that many on the forum will not necessarily agree with it.

But, at the end of the day, I'd also prefer to listen to music I like rather than sit round slagging that which I don't. Nonetheless, if I want genuine gravitas and orchestral grandeur I'd rather listen to Stravinsky or Mahler then ELP any day.
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