SP-4902 No Earthly Connection
Produced by Rick Wakeman
Released on April 1976
UK CHART POSITION #9 . . . US CHART POSITION #67
Find it at GEMM
SP-4902 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I don’t know what on Earth he was thinking at this point. A “futuristic, autobiographical” song cycle for another life (presumably, us) to advance our sense of No Earthly Connection? (Translation: fire up your bong, plug in your lava lamp and enjoy.) Wakeman is just as ambitious as ever on the epic “Music Reincarnate,” a patchwork that suggests what Journey To The Center of the Earth might have sounded like without all that distracting narration. It’s a convoluted story that involves a spaceman and a god (of sorts), but I’ve cut albums like A Passion Play and 2112 more storytelling slack, so no points off for longwinded silliness. Musically, it’s a mixture of Wakeman’s usual dynamic rock arrangements, madrigal moments that recall Gentle Giant, softer passages that suggest Camel, musical devices akin to A Passion Play, and some ivory tinkling borrowed from an earlier life (on Mars). I’ve listened to “Music Reincarnate” ten times and I’m still finding stuff I didn’t notice before, so from a prog perspective this is fruitful work. As a rule of thumb, prog fans aren’t ones to blanch at excess, if only because we’re usually pretty pale to begin with. So if you’re looking for Big Ideas, or the tracks of big ideas afoot, “Music Reincarnate” is one of a dying breed. The final two tracks are self-contained and tighter than their conceptual predecessor. “The Prisoner” has deservedly entered the ranks of Wakeman’s best tracks, while “The Lost Cycle” (which features the spaceman’s return and thus finishes the story cycle begun with “Music Reincarnate”) is well worth rediscovering. Among the Wakeman records to feature The English Rock Ensemble, this is the best I’ve heard. In fact, it’s one of my favorite Wakeman records period, featuring a number of memorable themes and more than a little magic pixie dust in the proceedings. Is it excessive and maybe a little silly? Sure, but “excessive” and “silly” are anchors in the progressive alphabet. Should you sit a spell with Wakeman here, you may just double you pleasure.

SP-4902 back cover SP-4902 lyric sleeve
SP-4902 back cover SP-4902 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. MUSIC REINCARNATE
      Part I The Warning    8:19
      Part II The Maker    3:34
      Part III The Spaceman    4:03
      Part IV The Realisation    4:17
      Part V The Reaper    7:55
  2. THE PRISONER    7:01
  3. THE LOST CYCLE    7:02

    All selections written by Rick Wakeman

CREDITS

RICK WAKEMAN -- Mander pipe organ, Hammond C.3, Steinway 9' grand piano, R.M.I. electric piano, Hohner clavinet, Moogs, harpsichord, Baldwin electric harpsichord, upright honky tonk piano, Fender Rhodes 88 electric piano, mellotrons, Godwin organ with Sisme rotary-cabinet, Systech effects pedals
REG BROOKS -- trombone, bass trombone and vocals
JOHN DUNSTERVILLE -- acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, and vocals
TONY FERNANDEZ -- drums and percussion
ASHLEY HOLT -- vocals
ROGER NEWELL -- bass guitar, bass pedals and vocals
MARTYN SHIELDS -- trumpet, flugel horn, french horn and vocals
Paul Tregurtha -- engineer
Fabio Nicoli -- art direction
Mike Doud (AGI) -- concept/design
Chris Moore -- cover illustrations
Geoff Halpin -- logo design
George Snow -- inner sleeve design
Mike Putland -- photographs

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK April 1976 A&M LP AMLK/LR64583 lyric sleeve
US April 1976 A&M LP/8T SP/8T-4583 lyric sleeve
AUS'L/NZ 1976 A&M LP L35885  
BRA 1976 A&M LP 2166  
ITA 1976 A&M LP SLAM-74583 picture sleeve
RUS   CD Maximum CDX CDM0600-461 repackaged w. COST OF LIVING
JPN 2003 A&M CD UICY-9295 24-bit remaster

 

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