Septober Energy

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The initial tendency is to dismiss this recording as one of those failed experiments from the progressive-rock era, and the opening band on Disc One definitely invites that treatment with what appears to be an almost deliberately provocative aimlessness. parts of Disc Two, which seem buried in noise and masses of sound that don't go anywhere over many minutes, have similar problems. In between, however, are sublimely beautiful virtuoso passages for various soloists and small units within the orchestra. Alan Skidmore, Elton Dean et. al. get some great moments on the core of the first disc, which evolves out of the annoying big-band noodling of the opening into a swinging, big-band progressive-rock sound with elements of bop as well. There are vocal passages on this record, mostly built around Julie Tippett's gloomy, doom-laden Crimson-like words, and they're pretty but they're not a major part of "Septober Energy." Unfortunately, there is also more meandering, and just as it looks like the finale has pulled it together, with a very pretty and understated acoustic piano section featuring Keith Tippett solo, the piece loses it in an extended and very repetitive part for the full orchestra that goes nowhere and takes forever to fade. In fairness, the sound on the CD is excellent, and the second half of Disc One in particular is worth hearing, but there's too much here that isn't -- and too much that also sounds like those crashing sax-based sound explosions that puntuate King Crimson albums like Islands -- for anyone except hardcore fans of Soft Machine et al.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick