Andy Votel

Vertigo Mixed

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Andy Votel was asked by Family Records to compile a disc of his favorite songs from the extensive catalog of Vertigo Records, one of the top progressive labels of the late '60s to early '70s in the U.K. After racking his brain and being unable to boil his favorite moments down to single-disc length, he hit upon the idea of jamming his favorite 60 tracks into a single mix (much like his Cuisinart mix albums Music to Watch Girls Cry and Songs in the Key of Death). His idea is a stunning success (especially in the age of commercially motivated label remix albums that are as embarrassing as they are avaricious), making for fascinating listening. Apart from Manfred Mann, Uriah Heep, and perhaps Nirvana, most of the bands here are probably known, if at all, mainly to prog rock fanatics. Groups like Flied Egg, Atlantis, May Blitz, and Gracious don't crop up in everyday water-cooler conversation, even in the snobbiest rock snob circles. No matter, Votel manages to find funky breaks, white-hot guitar freakouts, and wild vocals in every artist he plucks from the archive. The effect is quite astonishing considering the source material; if you went in fearing prog and all it's clich├ęs (flute solos, dwarves and witches, over the top vocals, endless soloing, and general silliness -- all of which apart from the endless soloing are here), you will come out with a new appreciation for it. It makes you wish for a set featuring full-length versions of the songs here -- although if such a set did exist, you might find yourself listening to Votel's mash-up more often, since he really boils the tunes down to their strengths and cuts away most of the excess. On the other hand, prog rock without excess is like a Scotsman without his kilt. Ah well, any way you look at it, this is one of the more entertaining label remix/mash-up records you're liable to hear -- unless more labels get wise and hire Votel to dig through their pasts.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 5:29
2 4:58
3 5:21
7 4:30
feat: Affinity / Atlantis / Patto
9 6:14
10 5:01
feat: Affinity / Cressida
feat: May Blitz / Trace
feat: Nucleus
feat: Cressida
blue highlight denotes track pick