Morgan Fisher

Ivories

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In 1972, RCA Italy asked keyboardist Fisher to record a solo album at the same time his art rock group of the period, Morgan, was recording their second LP for the same label. In a sense, you've got to pine for the days when major labels were so daring, or perhaps so clueless, that they were willing to commission something so wholly uncommercial. And it's unsurprising that the label declined to release this keyboard-heavy, wholly instrumental avant- prog rock effort, which did eventually see the light of day in 1984. Quite lacking in anything resembling rock or pop tunes, it's a varied yet inaccessible string of pieces, some only a minute or so long and one ("Danse") almost ten minutes in duration. Fisher was determined to tinker with an assortment of what was then state-of-the-art electronic keyboard equipment, particularly the VCS3 synth, on this group of miniatures. These draw from classical music, difficult serial tones, hard-core electronic dissonance, a bit of prog rock, a bit of cheeky humor (one track is called "Cereal Music"), a bit of vaudevillian tuneage, and occasional passages that sound something like the most dissonant and uncommercial instrumental sections on Mothers of Invention/Frank Zappa albums. When Fisher managed to get it released in 1984, he added a couple of brief new tracks (satirical reworkings of Mott the Hoople songs) and bits of dialogue recorded during his stints with Mott and British Lions. The end product is not the silliest or most uninspired annals of pomp rock (at times it's got virtually nothing to do with rock), but not brilliant, either. The 2001 CD reissue on Angel Air adds extensive historical liner notes by Fisher, with a track-by-track commentary.

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