Nova Solis

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Morgan's first album is convoluted, pretentious art rock, heavy on interplay between quasi-classical keyboards, operatic vocals, and busy bass, overlaid with some then-state-of-the-art electronics from synthesizers and vocals run through a VCS3 synthesizer ring-modulator. There are some similarities to the early '70s prog rock of Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, without the pop hooks found in much of Yes and ELP's songwriting. It's very difficult to imagine anyone humming (or memorizing) these tunes, and while the musicians involved might take that remark as a high compliment, it isn't. One also pictures even Yes and ELP shaking their heads at the winding excess of the song structures and general impenetrable flash of the entire enterprise. It's music for the planetarium and the spaceship, albeit a craft that zig-zags so ferociously it's apt to give its passengers the astral equivalent of seasickness. You want arching overambition? Go to the fourth (and final; all songs are five minutes minimum) cut, the 20-minute "Nova Solis: A Suite," with six sections, starting and ending with Gustav Holst's "Jupiter" melody. The album's not as strange as their 1973 The Sleeper Wakes effort, and thus not as highly, um, recommended, if that word could be used. Like The Sleeper Wakes, it was reissued on CD by Angel Air, with the addition of detailed historical liner notes.

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