Gordon Giltrap

Perilous Journey

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Part of a trilogy of mid-'70s releases that presents a much different side of the folk-based guitarist Gordon Giltrap, 1977's Perilous Journey is a strictly instrumental album recorded with an enormous cadre of friends and studio musicians. The sound of this record will be instantly familiar to anyone who watched an industrial training film, classy porn flick, or documentary TV series in the 1980s. (Indeed, the best-known song on this album, the near-hit single "Heartsong," eventually became the theme of a long-running BBC travel documentary series.) The album is a pristinely recorded mass of vintage synthesizers, acoustic and electric guitars, prominent drums, and full string and horn sections. Think of the Electric Light Orchestra at their most overblown, then subtract Jeff Lynne's uncanny melodic sense and what's left is pretty close to Perilous Journey. The album sounds so completely dated that it's kind of perversely charming, but fans of Gordon Giltrap's more conventional progressive folk albums might balk at the classical-rock pretensions on display here. [The 2000 Voiceprint reissue adds three bonus tracks: demos of "Quest" and "Heartsong" and the previously unreleased 21-minute improvisation "Guitar & Piano," which is a bit closer to Giltrap's usual style.]

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