Lee Speaks About Music… #174

The Delicate Sound Of Thunder (Blu Ray Edition) – Pink Floyd



When it comes to making money both The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd have always been amongst the highest earners since the late 80’s. Although the latter of the two never charged extortionate prices for a concert ticket to go and see them play live like the other did. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if Floyd had of continued to play live like the Stones did, they also would be charging £300 or more for a ticket. Apart from the one-off 18-minute reunion with Roger Waters at Live 8 on the 2nd of July 2005. Pink Floyd have not played a full live concert since the 29th of October 1994 yet they still function as if they are still going today with the way their music has been reissued and released in high priced elaborate box sets.


It was only at the end of last year that Pink Floyd released The Later Years 1987-2019 Box Set that came at a WHOPPING! price tag of around £300. That might not appear to be too expensive if your profession is that of a lawyer, doctor, accountant or even a brain surgeon 😁😁😁. But for the average Joe even here in the UK many would be lucky if they took that money home in their pay packet at the end of a week and you would have to be living in places like London to take that home after tax. If you could put aside £20 per-week it would take you 15 weeks (a quarter of a year) just to save up the money to buy it.

The later years of Pink Floyd’s career is hardly the bands best output and their career does not even stretch as far as 2019. In reality even the final album Endless River that was released back in 2014 was only a compilation album of unused material that came out of the recording sessions back in 1993/4 whilst the band were making The Division Bell and was compiled and put together by only one of its band members and was nothing to write home about. In reality you could say the bands career ended back in 1994 and in my personal opinion The Division Bell was the only real decent album the band had produced after Roger Waters left back in 1983.

As with most box sets, they generally try and include unreleased material remaster and remix older material and even include 5.1 surround mixes and throw in other trinkets such as replica concert tickets, programs, posters, badges and include a book and other sorts. The surround mix in particular is what entices many surround FREAKS! such as myself to lash out the extra money for such a box set and, in most cases, those are the things that don’t get to see an individual release and are very much a marketing ploy (along with the way it’s been presented) to try and entice you to buy it. 


Looking at the contents in the picture above it does look like you are getting your money’s worth or even a lot for the money. But if you were to look at the actual music media content that is contained on the 18 discs within this box set, in reality you are only getting around 6 discs of actual media content. Simply because they are giving you the same thing 3 times over on CD, DVD and Blu Ray. Even if this box set retailed at half its price at £150, they would still be making over 100% profit of what it actually costs to make.

This is the sort greed I myself generally stay clear of and would rather wait till they see sense and start releasing part of it individually at a reasonable price I can afford and don’t have to sell a kidney to obtain the thing I want out of it. Now near enough a year later it appears they have seen sense and they have at least re-released one of the items they were bragging about a year ago which is the Delicate Sound of Thunder film to which has been restored and remixed.

OK! its perhaps not the thing I was after but least it’s a start and I did have this concert on double CD and on VHS when they were released years ago. I don’t think I’ve played them since then either 😁😁😁. But my interest in buying it again was really to see how well they had restored the film footage and if it was worth actually putting on a Blu Ray with all they were bragging about of how well it’s been restored. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging & artwork.

Packaging & Artwork…


The Blu Ray is very neatly presented and comes in a cardboard 2-panel DVD-Sized Digipak with a plastic tray to hold the disc firmly in place. It also comes with a 24-page booklet that is stored in the left-hand side of case and it all is stored in a die cut cardboard slipcase. The booklet contains mostly photographs taken from the live concert and comes with all the usual linear production and credits.

Overall, they have done a quality job on its presentation and personally I think this is a better presentation than the discs that were in The Later Years box set. Though to be fair least they did use gatefold Digisleeves which is a lot better than a single sleeve like how the discs came in their Immersion box sets.


The artwork and design were done by Steve Knee of Blade Design who used some inspiration from the original front cover design done by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis. The Sleeve Photography was done by Rupert Truman of Storm Studios and the Package Photography by Dimo Safari. Overall, I quite like this newer design and Powell’s original manakin with light bulbs all over him has been put to good use. I often wonder if Peter Gabriel got the idea from Powell’s original design to have a jacket made with light bulbs stuck all over it to use at some of his live shows.

Release Editions…


The new reissue of Delicate Sound Of Thunder was released on 5 formats counting the Digital Download which is the cheapest option to purchase it at around £12.99. The Double CD is the cheapest of the 4 physical formats and retails around £13.99. Both the DVD & Blu Ray retail around £14.99 & £18.99 respectively and the 3 LP 180-gram Vinyl edition is the most expensive and retails at around £69.99.

They also put out a 4 Disc Deluxe Edition that retails at around £48 which includes the Double CD/DVD & Blu Ray and threw in a 40-page booklet, a double-sided poster and 5 postcards. It’s also worth noting that both the DVD & Blu Ray in the deluxe edition include the 5 bonus tracks “Yet Another Movie”. “Round And Around”. “A New Machine Part 1”. “Terminal Frost” and “A New Machine Part 2”. These bonus tracks were also included in The Later Years Box Set and were omitted from both the single DVD & Blu Ray releases. Once again it can only be seen as another ploy to entice you to spend more money. I pre-ordered the Blu Ray Edition from Amazon UK on the 18th of October and got it slightly cheaper and ended up paying £16.82. 

Delicate Sound Of Thunder In Review…

The latest new reissue of the Delicate Sound Of Thunder by Pink Floyd was released on the 20th of November 2020. The blu ray contains the same 16 songs that were featured on the original 1989 VHS version and they run in the same order. However, what we have here is a 2019 remix where some parts have been added and subtracted from some of their other live shows taken from their Momentary Lapse Of Reason tour back in 1989.  The new edit of the film also includes the full performance of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” whereas the VHS version only had had the introduction to “Part 1” which was played over a montage of footage. The time-lapse of the stage being disassembled with “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 2-5)” on the end credits has been removed and replaced with a black screen accompanied by “Terminal Frost” as the credits instead.

Effectively this is perhaps not for purists but then again not all the film footage from the original 1989 release came from the 5 nights they played at Nassau Coliseum and some additional footage was taken from a couple of the nights they played at the Place d’Armes of the Château de Versailles in France in 1988. That particular footage has now been removed so at least all the footage now comes from the shows they played at the Nassau Coliseum and it’s not unusual for many live releases to feature footage from other venues as they like to include the best performances. Though they may have gone to even more extremes with the editing of this new release and it does look better for it. 

The original double live album released back in 1988 has sold over 1.5 million copies in the US alone and reached number 11 in the Billboard chart the same position it reached in the UK albums chart. It’s also worth noting that the Delicate Sound of Thunder was the first album to be played in space and the soviet cosmonauts took it aboard Soyuz TM-7 that was launched in November 1988 to which both Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason attended the launch party.

I remember buying it on CD and I only had it for a few weeks before I lent it to a work mate who never returned it. I never did bother replacing it and brought the VHS Video of the concert in the following year instead. I was never keen on the A Momentary Lapse Of Reason album and it was the songs from that album that put me off watching the live concert and none of the material from that album was never really any highlight of a Pink Floyd show that’s for sure. To be honest I thought the last album The Final Cut they done with Roger Waters was a weak album but for me this was an album that had very little to say.

To be honest even though they have done a completely new remix of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason that supposedly brings it more up to date. From what I have heard of it I am far from impressed and I doubt that I would be even interested if they re-released the 5.1 mix of the album from The Later Years box set next. Like I mentioned in my introduction I did purchase this release to see how well they had restored the film footage and to see if it was up to the higher standards that blu ray has to offer these days. So let’s now take a look at the blu ray.

The Blu Ray.

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The main menu looks very neat and sharp and displays the front cover artwork along with three options to choose from “Play All”. “Tracks” and “Audio Setup”. It’s a simple navigation system to get around and is indicated by a white triangle or cursor for you to make your choice.

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By clicking on the “Tracks” menu it gives you the choice to play all or select any one of the tracks. I quite like how you do not have to wait for another screen to load and everything is all contained on a one-page menu system where things are simply hidden away. You simply click on the “X” at the bottom to close the tracks menu and it reverts back to the main menu.

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The “Audio Setup” offers you the choice 2 audio soundtracks both of which are high-resolution formats of 24 Bit 96K. You have the choice of PCM Stereo 4.6Mbps and a 6.8Mbps 5.1 DTS Master Audio track for the surround FREAKS! such as myself. Overall, a professional job has been done with the blu ray’s interface and menu system and it is pristine quality.

The Picture & Film Editing Quality.

The original film footage of the live concert was directed by Wayne Isham who had a large camera crew onboard and in total 27 cameras were used to capture the live concert. This new release is sourced from more than 100 cans of original 35mm negatives that have been restored and transferred to 4K. I have to say a TOP JOB! has been done regarding the restoration and this concert never looked so good as it does now that’s for sure. It does however look as if it’s been upscaled to 4K which works very well for the actual detail and clarity of the film footage. However, it’s not quite as pristine or polished as 1080p HD simply because it does show up quite a bit of the grain and other blemishes but overall, its very impressive with what has been done here.

It’s also been re-edited by Benny Trickett under the creative direction of Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis and another TOP JOB! has been done of it too. Overall, despite the presence of grain there is no doubt that this was well worth putting on Blu Ray and even the 4K upscaling that has been applied to it brings out the detail larger than life and it’s worth shelling out the extra few pennies for the Blu Ray over the DVD. The Blu Ray is not even advertised as a 4K release but it’s quite evident that it is with how good it looks and I think many people will be impressed with how well it’s been restored.

The Surround & Stereo Mixes.

The sound quality is even more impressive than the picture quality and considering this was an earlier concert than their tour of The Division Bell this does have a better sound production I feel. Pink Floyd’s long-time sound engineer Andy Jackson & David Gilmour remixed the sound from the original multitrack tapes and were assisted by Damon Iddins and they have done a pretty decent job. Both Stereo and 5.1 mixes sound very good and even though I would not say the 5.1 mix was a surround FREAKS! paradise and I have heard better it’s perhaps worthy of 8 out of 10 and its very much another reason to get the Blu Ray over the DVD.

Musicians & Credits…


Directed by Wayne Isham. Produced by Curt Marvis & Carl Wyant. Audio Produced by David Gilmour. Remixed by Andy Jackson with David Gilmour assisted by Damon Iddins. Filmed & Recorded Recorded between the 19th – 23rd of August 1988 at Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, New York, USA. Recording Engineer Dave Hewitt assisted by Robert (Ringo) Hrycyna. Film Edited by Benny Trickett. Artwork & Design by Steve Knee of Blade Design. Creative Director Aubrey Powell / Hipgnosis. Director of Photography Marc Reshovsky. Sleeve Photography by Rupert Truman of Storm Studios. Package Photography by Dimo Safari.

David Gilmour: Guitar – Vocals.
Richard Wright: Keyboards – Vocals.
Nick Mason: Drums.

Additional Musicians.
Jon Carin: Keyboards – Vocals.
Tim Renwick: Guitars – Vocals.
Guy Pratt: Bass – Vocals.
Gary Wallis: Percussion.
Scott Page: Saxophone – Guitar.
Margret Taylor, Rachel Fury & Durga McBroom: Backing Vocals.

The Concert In Review…

Pink Floyd embarked on a world tour after the release of their 13th studio album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. It was to be the bands first tour since they toured The Wall back in 1981 and notably their first tour without their bassist Roger Waters. The band done two consecutive tours in support of the album and they kicked off the tour at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa in Canada on the 9th of September 1987 and ended off the first leg of the tour on the 23rd of August 1988 at the Nassau Coliseum, New York in America. The venue where this concert was filmed. The band played a total of 158 shows over its first leg of the tour most of which were played in the US & Canada though they also toured New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Europe during the 3 legs of their North American tour.

The second part of their tour was titled “Another Lapse” and this was a much shorter European tour that ran from May–July 1989 starting at the Rock Werchter annual music festival in Belgium on the 13th May 1989. The band played a total of 40 shows on this leg of the tour playing in many European countries such as Belgium. Italy, Greece, Russia, France, Sweden, Finland, Germany, England, Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands. It ended off at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille in France on the 18th July 1989. It’s also worth noting that that the show they played before that on the 15th of July in Venice, at the Grand Canal in Italy was broadcast live worldwide.

The band grossed around 135 million dollars US from their tour making A Momentary Lapse of Reason the highest-grossing tour of the 1980s. They also used part of the set to play at the Knebworth Festival in the following year on the 30th of June 1990 and was the last act to play, to an audience of 120,000. They also financed the £60,000 firework display out of their own pockets to end the show off in style.

The Delicate Sound Of Thunder is a film that captures the band playing live between the 19th-23rd of August 1988 at the Nassau Coliseum indoor arena in Uniondale, New York in the US. The venue itself is a multi-purpose arena that is widely used for concerts and other sports such as Hockey, Basket Ball, Tennis and many more. It was the home of the New York Islanders hockey team between 1972 to 2015 and the venue itself first opened in 1972. The arena had a seating capacity of around 16,300 when Pink Floyd played there in 1988 which was around 1,500 more than what the seating capacity was when they first played the venue back in 1975 on their Wish You Were Here Tour.

Venue CollageNassau Coliseum

Since the venue opened many other bands and artists have played at the arena including the likes of Elvis Presley, David Bowie, The Beach Boys, Queen, Madonna, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Elton John, Genesis, Frank Zappa and so on. It was announced earlier this year in June that the arena would be closed indefinitely but a couple of months later it was saved by Florida-based businessman Nick Mastroianni II whose company was responsible for the loan to help with the renovation of the arena. The Coliseum offers a different capacity for different events for example, 14,500 seats for basketball, MMA and boxing, 13,900 for hockey, up to 15,000 for concerts, and 4,500 seats for its theater configuration.

On With The Show…

Like I mentioned earlier this is not a concert for purists and things have been jiggered with to make it look good more than anything and on that score it certainly does. The other notable thing is that this new version of the concert is now some 15 minutes longer than the original UK VHS release. One of the major reasons for that is that this release now includes “Money” which was only ever included in the US VHS release and some intro’s and guitar solos on some of the other songs have been extended. The total running time including the end credits is now 1 hour 55 minutes 26 seconds precisely.

The show gets off to a cracking start and it’s good to see that they feature all five parts of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” together rather than apart like on the studio version and this has to be one of the highlights of the show. Though I do think that the sax player Scott Page is a bit too flamboyant at times throughout the show and he does tend to go over the top at times.

The band then knock out five of the songs from what would of been their latest album at the time A Momentary Lapse Of Reason and they roll out the first couple of tracks in order as they were on the album “Signs of Life” and “Learning To Fly” to which I quite like the film footage you also get to see that was done for both of these tracks and it does look even more impressive in 4K. The first of them is really just an instrumental piece and does not really speak that much to me and neither does the latter of them to which Tim Renwick gets to play the lead guitar on. I have nothing against Renwick personally and am quite in ore of some of his playing I have heard him do as a session player on many other artists albums. Some of the echo has also been removed from Gary Wallis’s electronic drums on this newer remix of the song.

Sorrow” is up next and this is one of the better songs from the album and Dave Gilmour gets fly on the lead guitar and his guitar solo is also extended on this remix. It also does sound more like the material we seen on his solo album About Face rather than classic Floyd Material. They do a good job of rocking things up a bit with “The Dogs of War” and this new mix has a longer intro. Once again Page on his sax tries to hog the limelight here and I quite like how Gilmour has a little chuckle watching him do so 😁😁😁.  “On the Turning Away” is up next and its the last song from this album for a bit and its quite a mediocre one that does not really set things on fire not even with its extended solo on this mix either certainly not for myself anyway.

The next part of the show features some of the bands iconic material and “One of These Days” is another of my personal highlights and the surround sound kicks in well on both “Time” and “On the Run” and once again I like the film footage that accompanies these tracks and the way the bed flies across the arena is put to good visual effect. Both Richard Wright’s vocals and Nick Mason’s drums are also dominant good features on the first of those tracks. “The Great Gig in the Sky” is up next which features the voices of the backing singers and once again they do a very good job of it here too. This is also all in colour unlike the original which has black and white footage from the Place d’Armes of the Château de Versailles in France.

They take a slight break from the “TDSOTM” album and both Gilmour and Renwick jump on the acoustic to play “Wish You Were Here” and another GRAND! job is done here and on the next song “Us and Them” which apparently has a piano added to the intro on this remix. It’s also said that even though “Money” that follows it that has now been included is not the full performance and has been condensed omitting Pratt’s bass solo and a female acapella section. Though this is another of my personal highlights of the show.

Comfortably Numb” is up next and here we have Wright, Pratt and Jon Carin singing the verse sections of the song in unison and I am sorry to say that Roger Waters voice is tremendously missed here and even though Gilmour’s solos (which have also been extended on this mix) and his voice do in some way rescue the song, this is by far the best performance I have personally seen and the way the verses are actually sung I think is diabolical. No doubt others will disagree but they honestly do my head in 😁😁😁. To be honest all 3 of them can very much sing individually but this for me simply does not work at all.

The band then return to their latest album at the time and roll out “One Slip” and this is actually my favourite track from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason only here they more or less use the song to feature Pratt’s slap bass solo and some heavy percussion. I don’t think it measures up to the studio version but it’s not bad. They then wind up the show with “Run Like Hell” and this has never been one of my favourites however, at least the vocals do sound right with Gilmour and Pratt and I am not even missing Waters voice here at all. This new remix has an extended intro and also includes Gilmour thanking the audience at the end of the show and the audio of “Terminal Frost” is used for the rolling credits at the end.

Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up this new 2019 remix of Delicate Sound Of Thunder by Pink Floyd. I am quite impressed with how well they have restored the film footage and because it has been upscaled to 4K that is really where you will benefit more from the Blu Ray more so than the DVD. Though I am pretty sure even the DVD will be quite an improvement over the original VHS which was very poor. It’s not as pristine or as polished like an up-to-date live concert that was captured with the latest technology and if it was not for the 4K upscaling I personally do not think this concert would look as impressive as the DVD that was put out in 2003 of Led Zeppelin that captured 4 earlier concerts and was restored by Dick Carruthers. I would even say that the 5.1 mix was more impressive on that DVD than what we have here as well.

However, with all that has been done here it is without doubt quite a major improvement and well worthy of putting on a Blu Ray. Both the picture and sound quality are very good and I would even say that the sound quality and the 5.1 mix is better than the Pulse DVD. Although I myself prefer that concert in relation to this one and that is really down to my disliking of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Which is why my personal highlights from this show are “Shine On You Crazy Diamond“. “One Of These Days“. “Time“. “On The Run” and “Money“.

I think the one thing that was quite evident is that Pink Floyd proved that they could still function as a band without Roger Waters and the name was still the much bigger attraction. Though I do think both David Gilmour and Roger Waters have also put out better live shows than this one. But even though this particular concert is not the best the band have put out, it’s still got it’s fine moments though I don’t think it will ever be one of my GOTO! concerts of the band even with how much more impressive the picture and sound are now with this new release.

I do however feel this is worthy of getting and for others they will get a lot more out of this concert than myself that’s for sure. Especially those who are more into A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. The price point might be a tad too high but at least it’s not going to break the bank and it comes in a quality package that’s worth paying the extra few pennies for which is why I would still recommend it.

Now Shines On Much More After All These Years…

On a final note, I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year and let’s hope its a Covid Free one so things can start to get back to normal. 2020 has not been the best of years that’s for sure and even I am well behind on my reviews of the music I have purchased this year and still have to review 2 box sets and 3 albums I purchased between October – December.

The Blu Ray track listing is as follows:

  1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5) (Live, remix 2019) 12.02
  2. Signs Of Life (Live, remix 2019) 3.24
  3. Learning To Fly (Live, remix 2019) 5.20
  4. Sorrow (Live, remix 2019) 10.33
  5. The Dogs Of War (Live, remix 2019) 7.58
  6. On The Turning Away (Live, remix 2019) 9.04
  7. One Of These Days (Live, remix 2019) 6.28
  8. Time (Live, remix 2019) 5.19
  9. On The Run (Live, remix 2019) 2.47
  10. The Great Gig In The Sky (Live, remix 2019) 4.51
  11. Wish You Were Here (Live, remix 2019) 4.38
  12. Us And Them (Live, remix 2019) 7.34
  13. Money (Live, remix 2019) 8.18
  14. Comfortably Numb (Live, remix 2019) 9.54
  15. One Slip(Live, remix 2019) 6.08
  16. Run Like Hell (Live, remix 2019) 8.05

The Price Point Rating. 9/10.

The Picture Quality Rating. 8/10.

The Surround Mix Rating. 8/10.

The Stereo Mix Rating. 10/10.

The Overall Concert Rating. 7/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #173

The Whispering Of The World – Tiger Moth Tales



Peter Jones is back with another album from his Tiger Moth Tales project and depending how you look at it this is either the 5th or 6th studio album to be released in this protect of his. I myself am sticking with the record company which clearly has tagged his previous release Still Alive from earlier this year as a EP “White Knight Records ‎– WKEP0720”. Although in retrospect that EP could also be seen has a mini album and in all honesty, it is perhaps more fitting with his project than what we have here with the material on this latest offering.

The Whispering Of The World is quite a different album and I suppose in a way it does sort of emulate what he was doing with some of the material that found its way on his previous EP. Certainly regarding its self-titled track “Still Alive” and “Golden” along with the other odd track here and there that have appeared on other Tiger Moth Tales albums over the years. These are very much songwriters’ songs to which I personally have nothing against and even I myself will find a hell of a lot more meaning behind those types of songs than what I ever will with much of the mythical fantasy lyrics that are quite often associated with prog-rock.

However, what we do have here is much more of a stripped back affair and more of an acoustic and meaningful light-hearted approach has been given to the new material in that it only features voice, piano and orchestration. It’s not an album that will be competing for the PROG! album of the year for example, and in some respects, it could be said that this is more of a Peter Jones album than a Tiger Moth Tales album even though they are both the same person.

But I am sure you will know where I am coming from with the differences between his own solo material and that of his project which was set up more for the purpose of PROGSTERS! or even MOTHSTERS! depending on which way you look at it. However, you look at it there is no denying that the man himself is quite a remarkable talented and gifted musician who knows how to write a good song or two. But before I delve any deeper into what lies beneath the surface of his latest album, let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

Packaging & Artwork…


The discs come in a very good quality well-made 3-panel cardboard Digisleeve which gives it a nice touch regarding it presentation. Die cut pockets holds the discs and the booklet firmly in place and overall, it’s a very neat and tidy package. The 12-page booklet contains all the usual linear credits and production notes, including lyrics and photographs plus it also comes with some informative information which is nice to see.

I pre-ordered my copy on the 9th of November from White Knight Records and I was well surprised that it arrived a couple of weeks before its release date. They really were well on the ball this time and it was most unexpected I will say. I do find both this record company and its older brother Tiger Moth Records cheaper than the other outlets and use them all the time and they do offer GREAT! value for the buck. As you can see from the picture above the CD comes with a bonus DVD and at its price point of £12 plus £1.75 postage & packing you cannot go wrong with and are onto a real winner.


The albums cover artwork is a picture of Mary’s Shell which can be found on Cleveley’s beach in Lancashire, England. It was sculptured by the British sculptor Stephen Broadbent who specialises in public art and the shell is only fully visible when the tide goes out. The metal sculpture is part of the Mythic Coast art which brings the story of the Sea Shallow to life! You can see the shell more clearly in this video clip.

Unfortunately, I have no idea who took the photograph of the Shell for the album cover or any of the other photographs in the booklet because they have been left out of the credits as well as the artwork itself. But through my research there are many photographers who photograph the object and sell the prints in frames. My guess is whoever snapped the photo used a long exposure for the effect. I quite like the artwork and it’s well apt to fit in with the albums title.

The Album In Review…

The Whispering Of The World by Tiger Moth Tales was officially released on the 4th of December 2020. The album contains 10 tracks to which all bar one are very much vocal tracks, and it comes with an overall playing time of 46 minutes 55 seconds which is a very respectable time slot that allows one to take things in and digest a lot more comfortably. It’s very much more of a songwriter’s album in that most of the tracks are over a shorter distance and only a couple of them are over more of a lengthier distance that is perhaps commonly associated with PROGMATIC! side of things.

Pete Jones was working on this album before the pandemic arrived and once it did arrive, he got side-tracked, hence the reason why he worked on the newer material that made up the EP Still Alive at home and why that got put out before this release. What was to become Tiger Moth Tales 5th studio album was recorded at Rockfield Studios and it was Robert Reed who gave Jones the idea to make a different album and also produced it along with Andrew Lawson.

It is without doubt quite a different album and it’s not so much on the PROGMATIC! side of things like the previous EP and some of his other albums. In some respects, I would liken the material leaning more towards his 3rd album In The Depths Of Winter. Only here the songs I personally feel are more meaningful and the fact that they are shorter and not so overcooked like I felt they was on that album; it does make them tie in with more of a good songwriter’s song. It is more so the lyrical content that makes good songwriters songs stand out so well to which “Still Alive” certainly did and was the standout track on that EP.

This new album also has a standout track and speaking of things that standout, just like the previous EP, this latest release also comes accompanied with a live DVD. So, lets now take a look at the contents and see what extra bonus material you get here.


The bonus DVD main feature contains what’s known as The Quiet Room Session which was recorded at Fieldgate Studios whilst Pete Jones was working on the material for the new album. Pretty much all of the songs from these live sessions were screened and streamed on the Quiet Room TV website back in April of this year to which you could watch for free. The only song that was missing from that streamed session was “Blackbird” which is included on this DVD.

Five of the older songs from the sessions was also released in audio only back in August and put out as an EP in the form of a digital download only and sold on Bandcamp. The DVD also includes three Promo Videos which feature a short interview with Pete Jones and a couple of promotional videos from the new album. The total running time of the DVD is 58 minutes 29 seconds.


The DVD’s menu contains everything on one-page making it very easy to navigate your way around and you simply point the white triangular cursor at any one of the tracks to play, or simply play the video from the beginning as you can see in the picture above. It’s also worth noting that the promotional videos will automatically play after the main feature.

Picture / Editing & Sound Quality.

Both the picture and the editing were done by Andrew Lawson and he’s done an excellent job on the both and it’s been filmed in HD. The picture quality is quite pristine and looks as sharp as a blu ray when played back on a blu ray player that has good upscaling. To be honest even though it’s a DVD you would think you were watching a blu ray. It comes with a single Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo 48K 448kbps soundtrack and the sound quality is very good. It would have been better if they included a lossless format such as LPCM but I have no complaints here and a TOP JOB has been done overall.

The Bonus DVD In Review…

Unlike the live DVD that came with the Still Alive EP. These are individual live acoustic takes featuring Pete Jones on the piano and vocals only that have been captured on film at various times unlike a live concert where everything is rolled out at once. So, there is margin for error and some of them may of took more than one take and more of a studio process has been given to each live recording sort of thing. Both the introduction interview is short but do give some useful informative information.

Both the promotional videos like the album tracks are accompanied by a string arrangement and have images superimposed over them. I am pretty sure that “Blackbird” is a different take to the solo performance that is on the main feature of the DVD or they may have used a different camera angle. Overall, the bonus DVD is very good and a nice feature to have. It also comes for free making it a real bonus to have.

Musicians & Credits…


All songs written by Pete Jones. Produced by Robert Reed & Andrew Lawson. String Arrangements by Ian Lawson & Pete Jones. Recorded & Mixed by Andrew Lawson at Fieldgate Studios in Wales sometime between 2019/20. Filmed & Edited by Andrew Lawson. Artwork Sculpture by Stephen Broadbent.

Pete Jones
: Grand Piano & Vocals.

Additional Musicians.
David Adams
& Lowri Porter: Violin.
Nancy Johnson: Viola.
Sandy Bartai & Sarah Berger: Cello.

The Album Tracks In Review…

Much of the material that Pete Jones wrote for this new album is based on memories and significant moments of time he’s either spent alone or with family and friends. Like his third album In The Depths Of Winter there is more of a serious side to the material and it tends to lack the humorous side of things that featured so well on other albums in the discography of his Tiger Moth Tales project.

Though like I mentioned earlier I do feel that lyrical content we have here does have more of a purposeful meaning in that it reflects on the things that are around us like nature and life itself, rather than mythical tales such as Robin Hood for example. That’s not to say that “The Ballad of Longshanks John” is not a good song and to be perfectly honest even the lyrical content that is in some of his humorous songs he’s done in the past are very cleverly written. But what often makes GREAT! songwriters’ songs are by writing about the things around us and all that relates to life itself.

Even though I am no big fan of The Beatles or Bob Dylan I could never deny that they wrote GREAT! songs and quite often that is exactly how they went about the lyrical content to their songs and that is what made them so successful. The definition of any good song is one that will be more memorable and stick inside your head and they wrote a good few of them. That perhaps is more of the approach and direction that Jones is going with this new set of songs with its acoustic approach and besides his voice and piano he is also accompanied by real strings played by real musicians which is nice to see. So, lets now delve a bit deeper into the album tracks and see how it all pans out.

Track 1. Taking The Dawn.

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The album opens up in quite a joyful and pleasant way with it’s opening song to which the piano is nicely embellished by a string quintet or a “Cello Quintet” which is basically scored for a standard string quartet plus an extra cello instead of the extra viola which is more usual in conventional string quintets. It’s very much the same sort of quintet that Franz Schubert used for his final chamber work, the String Quintet in C major (D. 956, Op. posth. 163) to which he completed two months before his death back in 1828. All five string players are doing a wonderful job and the arrangement fits in and follows the piano like a glove.

Musically its quite a nice structured piece that Jones has written here on the piano and it’s almost like it does not have a chorus with how it follows the verse which is more like a two-part verse, he’s also incorporated a nice bridge into it to take it somewhere else and break it up and it can be quite uplifting. Lyrically the words pertain to the title literally and they are pertaining to one of the first things you will hear at the crack of dawn which are the birds singing gleefully away.

One of the interesting things about the lyrics is that the song opens up with the same verse (as seen below) that was used on “Still Alive (Reprise)” from his previous EP. That particular song ended off the EP and it’s a bit like they are in some way tied together in a way of a continuation sort of thing. Though I am fairly sure that “Taking The Dawn” was written beforehand but it’s worked out quite well with how both the EP and album were released.

“Way before the light
I’m waiting by the window
Who will be the first?
The first to break the silence”

Overall, the opening song gets the album off to quite a promising start and although Jones does a convincing enough job of delivering the words with his fine voice and there are parts where he does have to excruciate his voice to get the words out which will make it that bit harder to perform live. It may even present him with a problem further on in the future if his voice drops like many singer’s voices have has, they have got older. Hopefully he will not have that problem like many others and I quite like the bright and airy feel of this song and would put it as one of the contenders for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 2. The Whispering Of The World.

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The albums self-titled track is up next and this is a song that was inspired from the echoes of his past from a time he was on holiday in Majorca standing on a rock cliff by the sea hearing a strange sound. The sound he was hearing was the whispering of the wind which was being channelled through a hole in a rock and I quite like how he’s put the words into context and how they fit with the title. It’s quite a haunting song and it’s very well portrayed in the video that was made for it as you can see here.

Musically Its quite dramatic and down-tempo with its undertones, it also captures fear, darkness and even a sense of depression with its mood but also reflects a certain amount of elegance and grace in some of its brighter parts. Considering all of this came out of a bit wind blowing through a rock is quite an achievement and shows you how creative one can be when they put their mind to it.

It is one of the better songs on the album and a strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! However, it’s not exactly what one would call Top Of The Pops material and with its depressing mood it would stand more chance of being more popular at a wake 😁😁😁.  JOKING! apart it’s a very well-constructed song that reflects the more serious side that was given to some of the material on his third album In The Depths Of Winter, and this is the type of song that is perhaps more fitting to that album.

Track 3. Sweeter Than Wine.

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This is quite the opposite in contrast to the previous track and effectively this song might very well have been purposely placed here to lift you out of the doldrums sort of thing. This is quite a colourful song that reflects an elegant touch of beauty and romance and it flows like a river of wine with how it’s put over so sweetly with Peter’s voice. The piano is dancing along with the orchestration and everything is in perfect unison and fits in like a glove. Lyrically there is a touch of romance too, and the words are pertaining to memories of love and friendship. It’s the shortest track on the album and a BEAUTY!

Track 4.  Quiet Night.

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From the shortest to the longest track on the album and this song has more of PROGMATIC! feel to it and weighs in at a tad under 9 minutes. The lyrical content evokes and pertains to fear and was inspired by another of his childhood memories on another of his holiday’s. There is some nice chord progression along the transitional changes and I am hearing influences from Neal Morse, Frost* and Genesis along its path and this is once again masterfully very well-orchestrated and the strings add to the colour and enhancement.

It’s very much a song that is cooked on a slow burner regarding its pace and is beautifully lifted up towards the end. The contrast of light and shade reflect very well throughout and with how Jones delivers the story and its melodic structure provide a glowing and comforting warmth to the fear and the darkness. It is without doubt another of the better songs on the album and a really GREAT! job as been done on it. Enough to make it one of the contenders for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 5. A Town By The Sea.

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Another very well-orchestrated piece and this is the only instrumental piece on the album and it borders on the lines of contemporary classical and folk music. It’s quite unusual especially in comparison to something like “Hundred Acre Wood” from Story Tellers (Part Two) which is more along the lines of classic jazz. I don’t think there is as style of music Jones cannot play and I love him doing some of those old songs like “The Gas Man Cometh” by Flanders & Swann and he and the orchestra of strings have done another GREAT! job here for sure.

Track 6. Blackbird.

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I said this was an album with another standout song and this is it. No doubt Paul McCartney wrote a GREAT! song about a blackbird on his guitar when he was in the Beatles back in the 60’s and now Jones has done one equally as good with this one on the piano. These are really GREAT! lyrics that pertain to nature and the things around us, they are the very thing that make GREAT! songwriter songs as you can hear in the second promotional video that was made for the album.

This is very much the song that makes this album and made me go out and buy it. It’s quite a memorable song and a little GEM! It’s also my personal favourite track on the album and I expect it will be for many others too. It easily merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 7. Waving, Drowning.

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This next song musically has a sort of a striking Burt Bacharach feel and presence about it with its melody on the keys and the way it’s been orchestrated. Though I would not say it was a Bacharach classic and even though this is more up-tempo it’s not exactly going to light any fires. But nevertheless, it’s still very well executed. Lyrically the words are pertaining to the title and it could also be seen as a case of “sink or swim” so to speak. 

Track 8. Lost To The Years.

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The album ends off with my second favourite track on the album and the melody to this one reminds me of a cross between “Mad Man Moon” and “Visions Of Angels” by Genesis in parts and towards the end we also get a few notes from one of his own two-part songs “Feels Alright“. It’s very much an emotional song that reflects a lot of BEAUTY! and is BEAUTIFULLY! played and sung. It’s also the second longest track on the album and just like the longest track it once again cooks on a low heat with its slow pace and is almost delivered like a sweet lullaby.   

It’s a song that comes with caring and meaningful lyrics that pertain to what little time we have on this planet and what we leave behind for those who have yet to come. It also fits in very well with present state the world is in right now and is a wonderful sentiment to end off the album with and another contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!


To sum up The Whispering Of The World by Tiger Moth Tales. I would say that it is very much a different album in that its stripped back and it’s more of a songwriter’s album and less of a PROGMATIC! affair. It’s more of a personal album which is perhaps why it contains material that is suited to both sides of his musical output for his solo career and his project of Tiger Moth Tales. It’s also more of a serious body of work that is more along the lines of the material that was written for In The Depths Of Winter and will appeal to those who like that album in particular.

I have to confess that when I first heard this album was about to finally get finished and released, I was excited and eager to get my hands on it. But when I first heard all the material on it was stripped back and it was less PROGMATIC! I did not have much hope for it and was a bit disappointed at first. Like the album In The Depths Of Winter this is not one of my GOTO! albums from his project though I do think more thought has been put into it and prefer this album over that album of his.

I think the best way I can describe an album like this is like doing the washing up where you are not really keen on doing it until you get your hands in the water and only then you will get some pleasure out of it so to speak. There is a lot of pleasure you can get from this album once you put it on, and you really do have to stick your hands or dip your toe in the water to reap the benefit it has to offer. Once you do it becomes quite a satisfying album and a pleasure to listen to and there is some strong enough material on here that holds it up very well. My personal highlights are as follows: “Taking The Dawn“. “The Whispering Of The World“. “Quiet Night“. “Blackbird” and “Lost To The Years“.


To conclude my review of The Whispering Of The World. I personally don’t think it’s a solid album but there is nothing remotely bad and certainly enough here to make this album worthy of getting your hands on even if it never came with a free DVD of extras as well. Speaking of the DVD there is not really a lot on it that has not been previously put out before but nevertheless it’s comes for free and is a well worthy addition to the package and you are certainly onto a winner regarding its price point.

In many respects even though I myself prefer his previous EP Still Alive over this new album. I cannot deny that some of the written material upon The Whispering Of The World is a lot stronger and in reality it does contain more strength in relation to some of the whimsical humorous side of things. But for me personally it is also the humorous side of things that Pete Jones is also very clever at doing and that is what I miss on this album and on In The Depths Of Winter.

At the end of the day The Whispering Of The World is an album that should appeal to all fans of Pete Jones and his Tiger Moth Tales project alike and it does continue to show his strength as a songwriter which will hopefully bring in more listeners on that strength. It’s an album I can still get a GREAT! deal of pleasure listening to and would still highly recommend. It’s also very well produced and I have nothing but praise for this man’s GREAT! talent and am looking forward to seeing him live once all this pandemic is beyond us.

The Sound Of New Days Yet To Come…

The CD Track Listing is as follows:

01. Taking The Dawn. 5:23.
02. The Whispering Of The World. 5:50.
03. Sweeter Than Wine. 3:32.
04. Quiet Night. 6:56.
05. A Town By The Sea. 4:50.
06. Blackbird. 3:39.
07. Waving, Drowning. 5:59.
08. Lost To The Years. 8:44.

The DVD Track Listing is as follows:

01. Introduction.
02. Feels Alright.
03. Match Girl.
04. The Ballad of Longshanks John.
05.  Hygge.
06. Blacbird.
07. Taking The Dawn.
08. A Visit to Chigwick.

Lee’s overall Complete Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

The Bonus Live DVD Rating Score. 6/10.

The Album Rating Score. 7/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #172

Get Out Of My father’s Car! – Gryphon



Since Gryphon reinvented themselves a couple of years by putting out their first album in some 41 years they are now back with another new album and a slightly different line-up. But not to worry folks! because the same three core members of the band who have been there from day one and who appeared on their last album ReInvention along with Andy Findon are still with us. I am just grateful that I never had to wait another 41 years for another album to arrive 😁😁😁.

I have to admit that I was a bit concerned and sad to hear that the multi-instrumentalist Graham Preskett had let the band in order to further pursue his own personal projects. Simply because like the bands former member Richard Harvey, he was very much a tremendous talent and gifted musician who gave such a lot to the band and slotted in and filled Harvey’s role quite comfortably. 

For their latest album Get Out Of My Father’s Car! It now appears that the band have found themselves a new star and a female one at that. Bringing a female into the band was perhaps the most unexpected thing I could possibly think of and I personally never thought it would have worked in a million years. How wrong was I to even think that?

Well, I can tell you now that I was very wrong simply because this band have just come up with one of the most unusual folk albums I have ever encountered before in my life. This is that fresh it’s never been done before and you could say that they have reinvented folk and gave it a new lease of life. But before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

Packaging & Artwork…


The CD comes in a 2-panel cardboard Digipak with a plastic tray to hold the disc in place and a die cut pocket to store the booklet. The 8-page booklet contains all the usual linear credit and production notes along with all the lyrics. It also includes some additional informative information on a track-by-track basis and overall, it’s a very neat and tidy well-made package.

I pre-ordered my copy from The Burning Shed on the 9th of November and it arrived 3 days after its release. It’s the first time I have used the online store for quite a while due to them overcharging on the postage and packaging and its nice to see now that they have made a few changes. I ended up paying £12 plus £2.20 p&p making a total of £14.20 which was a very reasonable and respective price point.


Like the bands previous album, the artwork and design was done by the English psychedelic artist John Hurford and I quite like the way he’s made it look colourful. It’s also well apt to the albums title and reflects on some of the humour that is injected into the bands music. Additional photography was by Andy Holdsworth.

The Album In Review…

Gryphon’s 7th studio album Get Out Of My Father’s Car! was released on the 25th of November 2020. It contains 11 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 47 minutes, 37 seconds which is a very comfortable time slot making it easy to digest. It’s very much a mixture of vocal and instrumental tracks with all of the new line-up of the band contributing to all the written material on the album.

Like the bands previous album, the new album was recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Graeme Taylor at his own studios Morden Shoals Studio. The studio over the last year has been relocated from his attic to where it had been for the past 22 years and he’s now purposely built a 42 sq. mt. totally soundproofed and treated outhouse at the end of his garden.

Morden Shoals Studio

The new building is fully air-conditioned and features a completely isolated 3.6 sq. mt. recording area at the far end, with an open control area at the other, also housing the ISO booth, which is now often used for vocals or guitars whilst a drummer might use the far end booth.

I can tell you now that the new album sounds GREAT! and Graeme’s new studio is not the only thing of his that contributed to it. The new female star I mentioned earlier happens to be his daughter Clare Taylor and what a talented musician she really is and it must run in the family. Clare is very much a classically trained violinist who can turn to anything including the fiddle and many other instruments. She also comes with a voice and a fine one at that.

Due to an incurable neurological illness, which renders it impossible for him to play. Rory McFarlane had to step down from playing the bass and has been replaced by another old friend Rob Levy. Over the many years Levy has played in jazz, rock and even folk-blues bands and has worked with many artists including the likes of Helen Shapiro, Sacha Distel, Jerry Lewis, Petula Clark, Max Bygraves, Russ Conway, Tony Hadley, Jimmy Tarbuck and Des O’Connor.

The material that makes up and found its way onto the new album was put together over the last couple of years and all band members with the exception of drummer Dave Oberlé contributed to it. Some of it even stretches way back to the late 60’s and it’s all been skilfully arranged to fit in with the bands formidable style.

Gryphon have always tried to come up with something a bit musically different for each of their albums and they may of even excelled themselves with this new fresh approach. The other thing that is always present is their sense of humour, and even though they are quite remarkable musicians they never like to take themselves seriously. This new line-up of the band I feel have come with something quite special so let’s now take a look at the musicians and credits.

Musicians & Credits…


Produced by Graeme Taylor. Recorded, Mixed & Mastered at Morden Shoals Studio between 2018 – 2020. Recording Engineer  Graeme Taylor. Art & Design by John Hurford. Photography by Andy Holdsworth.


Brian Gulland: Bassoon – Recorder – Soprano Saxophone – Whistle – Melodicater – Piano – Organ – Harpsichord – Harmonium – Vocals – Bell Holder – 16-panel quick fold rainbow coloured Golf Umbrella.
Graeme Taylor: Santa Cruz OM Acoustic Guitar – Reproductions of 1952 Telecaster Blackguard & 1957 Sunburst Stratocaster by Alan Kennedy – Vocals – Keyboard & Drum Programming.
Dave Oberlé: Drums – Percussion – Vocals – Bell Shaker.
Andy Findon: Flute & Piccolo(With and without Abell Whistle Headjoints for Boehm-System Flute) – Soprano Krumhorn – Soprano Tenor & Baritone Saxes – Clarinet.
Clare Taylor: Colin Mezin 1871 Violin – Francois Nicolas Violin Bow – Joseph Alfred Lamy Bow – Vocals – 8-panel quick fold 25 inch multicoloured Golf Umbrella -Percy Prius Carhorn & Door Slams.
Rob Levy: Sadowsky & Musicman Bass Guitars.

The Album Tracks In Review…

Gryphon are a band who like to do things different and each album they have made over the many years of their career can reflect that as they have gone along. Sometimes it can be quite hard to pigeon hole their music although I would say that there has always been an element of folk or traditional folk that has followed them along since they kicked off their career back in 1973 with their self-titled debut album. Their unusual choice of instruments date back to the renaissance period or medieval times and their debut album was a combination of renaissance dance music and traditional folk songs.

As the band progressed along many more genres of music started to come out of the woodwork and appear in their music, such as the classical influences that were injected into the self-titled track on the bands 2nd album. The combination of influences from other bands that made the bands 3rd album more of a PROGMATIC! affair. There was even a little touch of funk injected into their 4th album and forms of popular music was introduced into their 5th album. After a 41-year hiatus we got some more jazz and even a bit of blues thrown in for good measure on their 6th album.

The band have always been tagged with the genre of Medieval Prog-Rock and that is perhaps the best way to describe the biggest output of the music they have put out over the years. Although if you were to go back to the 70’s when we had far less genres to categorize music, it would not be unusual to find their albums in a record store filed under the genre of “Folk” and even today its quite evident that folk is still present and exists within their music.

Folk is very much the essence that is contained within their latest album Get Out Of My Father’s Car! Though there are many other ingredients that have gone into how the music is constructed, and it’s the way they have combined and incorporated many of the other genres that we have seen from them in the past so differently that make this album quite unique and sound fresh. To be honest I have never come across anything quite like this before and it really is like they have created a new direction for folk music to exist and breathed new life into it. It really is a breath of fresh air and the way forward for folk music in many respects.

To be perfectly honest I am still racking my brains out of how they have managed to come up with this new approach and the only thing I can put it down to is the sheer class musicianship that was involved in making it. I thought the musicianship was very much the strength behind their last album more so than the actual composition side of things, but here the strength is very much measured in equal terms I feel, making it a much better album to sit with. So, let’s now go through the album tracks and see how it all pans out.

Track 1. Get Out Of My Father’s Car!

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The album kicks off with its self-titled track and this is more of an instrumental piece with a few words of humour (along the lines of the sentence of its title) thrown in for good measure. This particular piece was penned by Graeme Taylor & Brian Gulland and the bit of fun they are having with the words goes back to an incident that happened when the band had more or less formed way back in 1972.

The four original band members were returning home from a meeting in London with Brian at the wheel who was putting up with more than his fair share of barracking in particular from Graeme in the back seat which caused him to blow his top and tell him to “get out of my car!”. To which Graeme cheekily replied “it’s not your car it’s your father’s car”. Amity was quickly restored and the memory of the incident popped back up last year in a kebab shop in Liverpool before they were about to play a gig and Graeme suggested it as the title for their net album.

Musically although its mostly a funky piece it crosses quite a few styles of jazz, rock, classical, folk, you name it, it’s got it, and it’s got as many transitional changes as a leopard changing its spots😁😁😁. The interesting thing about the funky side of this particular piece is that it’s not constructed from the bass line and it’s more or less centred around the harpsichord, bassoon and electric guitar. The other styles including the bands formidable style are flying out of the woodwork and different time signatures are all over the shop.

It’s very cleverly been put together even to how well Clare Taylor’s violin intermingles and weaves its way into the piece and it’s almost like they have injected big band music into it and it even has a sort of Broadway musical showcase feel to it.  Apart from the funky side of things it’s very difficult to describe just what we have here because there is so much going on. The musicianship is TOP NOTCH! and effectively this piece is more PROG! than PROG! and how they got all of this into 4 minutes is quite mind boggling and it’s a very fascinating and intriguing piece of work that has a touch of BRILLIANCE! and is a very strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 2. A Bit Of Music By Me.

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The elegance of BEAUTY! springs to mind with this next instrumental piece of music and although its title suggests that it was written by one person it is in fact credited to two. It is credited to both Gary & Andy Findon and part of it goes back to around 1969 and was composed originally by Andy’s long lost brother Gary to which Andy has now revived by reworking part of the original piece into it so to speak. The original short piece is based upon material that came from some of Gary’s final works before his tragic death and was a short trio written for 2 flutes and clarinet.

This is very much a classical structured piece and it’s been quite skilfully and masterfully arranged to incorporate and include all 6 musicians of the band. The way it opens up with the flute very much put me in mind of Elton John’s 1971 soundtrack album Friends to which utilises the woodwind section of an orchestra very well especially on “Michelle’s Song“. I’ve always loved the woodwind section of an orchestra and it is that section that quite often articulates the real beauty that can be found in most classical music. The tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss is a perfect example and there is a lot more beauty in that piece of work than its opening Fanfare that became more widely known after its use in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

On this particular piece the flute is very much paired up with the bassoon and the interplay between Findon and Gulland is a real playful treasure to behold. It’s also beautifully embellished by Taylor’s acoustic guitar and his daughter’s violin in sections to which both instruments have more of classical presence and feel to the notation. This is a piece that should have no problem being aired on classical radio stations such as BBC Radio 3 and Classical FM and its quite a GEM! It’s my personal favourite track on the album and merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 3. Percy The Defective Perspective Detective.

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The shortest track on the album and this is another fine instrumental piece that was penned by Brian Gulland and came about from him noodling out some fine riffs on the harpsichord. I have to say that Brian’s keyboard skills have come on in leaps and bounds since the early days of Gryphon to which were mostly left to Richard Harvey to play. I certainly have not missed Harvey on this album or the previous album and the band are doing just as well without him and have brought in the right musicians to step into his shoes so to speak. Though I mean no disrespect to him because he is without doubt another outstanding multi-instrumentalist and musician.

This is another playful piece and is perhaps verging more towards the medieval folk or familiar side of Gryphon’s music and is a combination of folk and classical styles and I quite like how well Rob Levy’s bass lends support by playing around the same notes of the harpsichord on the intro. The sound of Findon’s flute around the 1:30 mark also has a familiarity with the theme tune to the TV comedy series Some Mothers Do Have Them and this is another wonderful piece that has been skilfully arranged for all the members of the band to fit in somewhere along the line and is very skilfully done. It’s easily another strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 4. Christina’s Song.

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You could say that this is the first song on the album and it is more along the lines of English traditional folk music with how its delivered. The song is credited to Clare Taylor & Christina Rossetti and the latter of the two is credited for the words which come from one of her poems entitled “When I am Dead, My Dearest“. Rossetti was a 19th Century English poet who also wrote poems to be put to song such as this “Song”, that appears in Goblin Market and other Poems, first published 1862.

Clare wrote the music on a Casio keyboard many years ago whilst she was at school studying Christina’s poem and now, she gets to be the first female singer of the group and her voice is well suited to the song and its familiar folkie style. I also think the characteristics in her voice and violin gives it a slightly different edge to the bands usual approach to English traditional folk music. Both Graeme Taylor’s acoustic guitar and Andy Findon’s flute also feature very well throughout this fine song.

Track 5. Suite For ’68.

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This is another piece that Andy has rejuvenated with the band and is based on a three-movement suite written by his late brother Gary back in 1968. I have to confess I did not do a lot of research on Findon when I reviewed Gryphon’s previous album ReInvention and the informative information in the booklet, I found very useful. Apparently, Andy’s brother was a classmate of the British journalist and former politician Michael Portillo. Back in 2008 he made a documentary entitled “Death of a School Friend” to which unearthed some of Gary’s music that had laid dormant and unnoticed for 40 years.

The program was originally broadcast on BBC 2 on the 7th of November 2008 and it’s unfortunate like many old series that they have not been screened again or have found their way on Youtube. I cannot locate anything from it as I would of loved to have seen it. However, I did find this write up of it that goes into more detail about the program if you want to read more about it. https://www.jeffreymaynard.com/Harrow_County/Death_of_a_Schoolfriend_Gary_Findon.htm

This is another playful instrumental piece and the first section merrily waltzes and dances its way along and features some lovely interplay between the two wind players Andy & Brian and also Clare’s violin. There is even a bit of humour that reflects from the strings possibly played by Graeme on the guitar that replicate the sound of a car horn and some of the notation from Brian’s bassoon adds to the comical side of things in this merry waltz. As it transcends its way along Andy switches from flute and clarinet to the krumhorn for the second and sweeter section of the suite and back for the final section. The harpsichord also features heavily throughout the piece and both Rob and Dave are also playing their part in holding up the fort here. It really is a wonderful piece done in GREAT! Gryphon style.

Track 6. The Brief History Of A Bassoon.

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A fun comical song penned by Graeme Taylor to which the words were inspired from his visit to India last year having come across some banyan trees in a dream that sparked up some of his memories from decades ago when Brian used to think he was a tree. The comical story he jotted down whilst in a car on his travels through India and the tune he wrote a few months later on his guitar.

The story is very well written and Brian himself takes on the vocal duties to put it across and is extremely funny how he projects part of it with the lower regions of his voice to reflect how he changed from a krumhorn to a bassoon. I also noticed that Brian does not play the krumhorn on this album and he’s left that too Andy to play, and once again the band have done another GREAT! job.

Track 7. Forth Sahara.

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This next instrumental piece was written by Rob Levy and it’s a tune of his that has been through quite a few incarcerations over the years and originally started out as a Spanish Sahara with an improvised bit in the middle and has now been given the Gryphon treatment. It’s a lovely piece that contrasts between styles of classical, folk and rock and features some GREAT! interplay between violin flute and bassoon. I like how Graeme also weaves his electric guitar into the interplay along with Rob’s bass and Dave’s drums and they help to rock it up a bit and this is another super job they have all done.

Track 8. Krum Dancing.

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This next instrumental piece does hark back to the bands earlier renaissance-style and this is a series of four dance tunes they have stitched together and the individual tunes are “Krum Dancing“. “Rum Bust“. “Escalade” and “Village Thrump“. It was penned by Graeme Taylor & Andy Findon and it kicks off in GREAT! Gryphonish! style and I like how well Clare’s violin easily fits into place throughout and Dave’s drums and percussion also hold everything up so well. Graeme gets to rock things up on his electric in particular on the second part whilst Rob’s bass lines also play more of a dominant role in particular on the third part and both Brian and Andy battle it out in duel on the final part with them both playing soprano saxes. It’s very much another GREAT! track and one I would put in contention for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 9. A Stranger Kiss.

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It’s time for another song and this is another of Clare Taylor‘s contributions she wrote that was inspired by a piano piece written by Gary Yershon for a Royal Shakespeare production of Hamlet that she got to see in her teenage years. The is another folky song with her fine voice and violin at the helm and the words are pertaining to a failed relationship. It’s quite a lovely ballad of a song to which the flute, bassoon and even the violin in parts give it a touch of a classical feel and her father’s acoustic guitar also adds very well to the melodic feel of it all. There is also a dramatic feel to it which was most likely inspired by Yershon’s original piano piece.

Track 10. Normal Wisdom From The Swamp…(A Sonic Tonic) 

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The is another piece that crosses many contrasting styles and can be quite PROGMATIC! in parts and was written by Brian Gulland. It also features him playing the piano and he’s doing a GRAND! job on it I will say and this was very much constructed around the instrument. It is mostly an instrumental piece but does have some spoken words delivered by Brian, Dave and Clare who take turns with each sentence in the dreamy comedown organ section. They are also very strange words of wisdom coming out of this swamp too and I have to admit when I first seen the title I thought it said “Norman” not “Normal” and that would have been even stranger 😁😁😁.

 It’s a piece that goes through many transitional changes and time signatures and was stitched together by umpteen different tunes which happily seem to have found sympathetic neighbours according to Brian’s notes in the booklet. It does seem like a mishmash of tunes put together but it works extremely well and the instrumentation is flying out of the woodwork and weaving and meandering its way along in quite a mesmerising magical way and skilfully played. It’s very much another strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 11. Parting Shot.

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The album ends off with a beautiful song written by Graeme Taylor and this is a tune he knocked up some 35 years ago and later wrote some tender lyrics to it for his wife. The tune itself was quite often used as an encore to introduce the members of the band Home Service at the end of their gigs to which Graeme also plays in. It’s the longest track on the album weighing at just under 6 minutes and is now getting the Gryphon treatment by appearing on this album and is beautifully sung by Dave.

In some ways this song could be a bit out of place with the rest of the material on the album and it perhaps harks back to some of the popular material that found its way on Gryphon’s 5th album Treason back in 1977 which was an album that Graeme was not on. However, it does round up the album very well being placed here and I have always loved Dave’s sweet voice since I heard him sing “The Astrologer” and “The Unquiet Grave” on their debut album. He still is my favourite singer of the band and I was glad that he was not completely pushed aside by the bands new rising female star 😁😁😁.

Graeme plays some lovely lead lines on his electric guitar on this song and I like how he has brought that back into the fold and not gone completely acoustic on the album. I have always loved both his acoustic and electric playing. Quite often on the few occasions I have seen him play live with the band over the recent years he does bring his electric along but sometimes its only there for display on a stand and he never picks it up 😁😁😁. When they eventually get back out there and play live, I feel he will have to for quite a bit of the material that is on this album and that is something I will look forward too.


To sum up Gryphon’s 7th studio album Get Out Of My Car! I personally think that the band is as strong as ever and have come up with a very strong body of work of material to make up this new album. Although it’s very much a different album in some ways I would put this almost on par with the bands first three albums for its strength. I would even go as far as to place this album as my 4th favourite album out of the bands discography. It’s very much a folk album that has a strong classical influence thrown into the pot and that is what makes it work so well.

In musical terms of the way some of the music has been structured it is without doubt more PROG! than PROG! Although I would not vote it for the PROG! album of the year like I did with Wobbler’s latest album for example, and that is down to how it sort of gives folk music a fresher approach with the progressive side of things that have been thrown into it. It’s hard to explain what it is and perhaps the best way I could describe it is by saying that it’s taken the progressive aspect that bands like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span put into their music many years ago onto another level or plain so to speak.

My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Get Out Of My Father’s Car!“. “A Bit Of Music By Me“. “Percy The Defective Perspective Detective“. “Krum Dancing” and “Normal Wisdom From The Swamp… (A Sonic Tonic)“. Though in reality I could easily add all 11 tracks because it really is such a GREAT! album and one that is easy to sit with and simply enjoy.


In conclusion Get Out Of My Car! is an album that has a lot more under the hood than one might think and is far from just another folk album. It could even be seen in some respects as a fresher approach to folk music. Though be warned, because to pull off an album like this it does require a great deal of technical skill and timing and this is a band that are as tight as a bear’s arse. This is also a band that will have no problem performing the material from this album live on stage and I am eagerly looking forward for this pandemic to blow over so I can get to see them again.

It might not make the PROG! album of the year but it’s certainly one of the best albums I have brought this year and is pretty much a solid album and has been very well produced. It should easily satisfy all the GRYPHONIONS! out there and appeal to all FOLKIES! and other sorts who have a eclectic taste. I have nothing but high praise for the album and they really have come up with something quite special and unique in that it sounds fresh yet still maintains the bands formidable style.

The band did put out a 3-mintute sampler of the album as you can see above. Personally, I do not think this does the album any real justice and it’s a shame they never put out a full song from the album that really shows what the band have injected into all the album tracks. It is without doubt one of the bands better albums and for all you vinyl lovers there is a vinyl edition scheduled to be released sometime in January. Though what I would love to see is a 5.1 release because this bands music would be most fitting to that format and I would love Steve Wilson to get his hands on their albums and do them.

A Car To Get Out Of And An Album To Get Into And Enjoy The Ride…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Get Out Of My Father’s Car!. 4:06.
02. A Bit Of Music By Me. 4:47.
03. Percy The Defective Perspective Detective. 2:30.
04. Christina’s Song. 3:41.
05. Suite For ’68. 5:04.
06. The Brief History Of A Bassoon. 2:58.
07. Forth Sahara. 3:45.
08. Krum Dancing. 5:25.
09. A Stranger Kiss. 4:19.
10. Normal Wisdom From The Swamp… (A Sonic Tonic). 5:11.
11. Get Out Of My Father’s Car!. 5:51.

Packaging Rating Score. 9/10.
Price Point Rating Score. 9/10.
Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #171

Cursus 123 430 – Robert Reed



The latest album by Robert Reed is quite a margin away from his usual output we’ve seen from him in the past regarding his own solo career. Instead of emulating the music of Mike Oldfield like he has done with his last 3 solo albums he’s now gone all electronica on us and is now emulating the music of the likes of Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre and those sorts. Though not to worry folks because Sanctuary IV is in the pipeline and I am sure normal service will resume soon 😁😁😁.

I have to admit that this latest album of his came as quite a shock, simply because the core behind Reed’s keyboard skills is his piano playing which is far more complex and complicated to play than the biggest majority of electronic music which involves more knob twiddling than playing skills. To be perfectly honest I would most likely die of shock if I saw Jean-Michel Jarre playing the piano 😁😁😁. Simply because his playing skills are far from as complicated as one might think.

I think most electronic music is fairly easy to play and more time is spent twiddling and tweaking things to bring out all the colours and textures more than anything else. There is an art to all forms of music and I am quite a fan of Jarre’s music and have the biggest part of his discography in my record collection. I also have many other electronic albums by the likes of Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Isao Tomita. However, that is as far as it goes for me and electronic music.

I can at times go through phases regarding electronic music and there can be long periods where I simply can no longer listen to it. When I first spotted this new release by Robert Reed, it’s title of Cursus 123 430 very much had Vangelis spring to my mind and I was in two minds of whether to jump onboard and pre-order it. In the end I decided to come along for the ride. But was it worth it? Before I answer that question let’s take a look at the packaging & artwork.

Packaging & Artwork…


The both discs come in a cardboard gatefold Digisleeve that has die cut pockets on each side (as seen above) that firmly hold the discs in place. The material is on the thinner quality side of things to cut down on cost, but nevertheless is well adequate to do the job. It does not come with a booklet or contain any additional informative information and the usual linear credits are printed on the inside and back of the Digisleeve.

Overall, it’s a neat and tidy presentation and very much the same packaging Rob Reed uses for all his albums including Magenta. I pre-ordered my copy from Tigermoth Productions on the 9th of November and it arrived a week after its release. I’ve always used the record companies’ website to order his solo and Magenta albums because even with the postage and packaging it does work out slightly cheaper than Amazon.


The album cover artwork was done by Matt Rooke and it’s well fitting with the concept of earth and space that is perhaps associated with the biggest majority of electronic music. It also fits in with conceptional story that’s been tied to the album. Rook is a freelance illustrator and motion graphics designer, with 20 years design industry experience. I quite like it and he’s done a very good job of it.

Release Editions…

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The album was released in the form of 3 various physical packages to suit your pocket. It was also released as a Digital Download which is the cheapest option to get the album and is priced at £7 on Bandcamp. As far as I am aware of there is no vinyl release, although there might be a possibility of one in the future depending on how well the album sells you never know.

The cheapest of the physical packages is the one I purchased to which the CD comes accompanied with a DVD with the 5.1 mix of the album and is priced at £12 plus £1.90 postage & packing. This is excellent value for the money and I love the how Rob Reed thinks of us SURROUND FREAKS! with every album he makes.

Next up for £20 you can get the Limited Edition which comes with the same as the CD/DVD release above plus a bonus CD that contains a 19-minute Symphonic Poem version of the album along with 5 other bonus tracks. All these tracks are basically orchestral and solo piano pieces that offer you alternative versions.

To be honest I am not really sure how this is a limited edition at all, because you can purchase the bonus material on Bandcamp in the form of a digital download for £5 and the physical CD which comes in a cardboard wallet for £8 from the website.


The most expensive package was the Special Limited Edition which I believe was priced at around £22. This edition was limited and has sold out. It contained the CD/DVD & Orchestral Suite Bonus CD. Plus, it was accompanied by a 20-page companion book featuring colourful graphic illustrations by Matt Rooke and Pete Rogers that pertain to the concept story.

The Album In Review…

Robert Reed’s 4th solo album Cursus 123 430 was released on the 14th of November 2020. The album contains 10 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 55 minutes, 58 seconds. The albums title very much reminds me of the 1976 Vangelis album entitled Albedo 0.39 and its concept follows a similar vein in that its themed around space physics.

It also has a narrator and the voice behind the narration is Les Penning who he has been doing quite a lot of collaborated work with him on much of the Mike Oldfield material for quite some time now. He also wrote the story for the concept to which I will touch on later in the album tracks section of my review.

Like I mentioned earlier this is perhaps an unusual direction for Reed to go down though it was only earlier this year that he released The Empathy Machine from his Chimpan A project he did with Steve Balsamo. That album had quite an electro vibe about it and may have ignited a spark to take on an electronic project like this.

It was during a break from working on Sanctuary VI earlier this year that he decided to work on the album and like much of the music Reed writes it is inspired by earlier influences. Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells had a massive influence on him which is plain to see if you have been following his Sanctuary series like I have.

The inspiration for electronic music came from his older brother and he was thinking back to the time when Jean-Michel Jarre released Oxygene and he used to lend the album off him to listen to. That is pretty much the same way I got into that album and some of the other artists who work in that genre of music.

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Reed spent 6 weeks at his own studio in Wales back in July and August working on the album and went out and brought some analogue synths to make it more organic. Not knowing much about synths that do not come with presets a couple of those weeks was spent studying and learning about how to use them and get a sound out of them. Besides using a drum machine, he also threw in some orchestral percussion to beef it up and give it that Vangelis touch and feel.

One of the other things that enticed me to get this album was that it came with a DVD with a 5.1 mix. I have always had a lot of admiration for how Robert Reed takes the time to do one for almost everything he puts out and he certainly has the right head on his shoulders to do them unlike many mixing engineers who have worked in this field.

However, this is the first time I have ever experienced something quite like this from him were the stereo and 5.1 mixes have a major difference and are like chalk and cheese. I shall go into more detail at the end of my review but first let’s take a look at the DVD that comes in the package.

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DVD Menu

The DVD’s menu is pretty basic, straightforward and easy to navigate your way around. You simply point the white triangular marker to play any track or at the beginning (as seen above) to play the whole album. By default, the white triangular marker is set to “DTS Surround Mix” for you to make your choice of audio first.

There are only 2 audio soundtracks to choose from and no stereo soundtrack is available. Both are in 48K and the DTS 5.1 is the better format of the two giving you a higher quality at 1.5 Mbps. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is only 448Kbps though both sound very good.

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Whilst listening to the album it displays the artist; album title and cover (as seen above) and it does look very nice on a big screen. Although it’s unfortunate that is all it does display throughout the whole album and not even the title changes to display the name of the tracks on the album.

The very fact that it is a still picture might be a concern leaving it on display all the time and could quite possibly burn out some of your pixels. If you have an OLED display screen it could even permanently burn the image on your screen. More thought should have been put into the making of the DVD and even having a moving picture would have helped. I would advise turning off the TV whilst listening to the album to be on the safe side.

Bonus Features.

The bonus features are short but very good and the first of them is an interview with Rob Reed talking about why he decided to make the album and the new synths he had to purchase to make it. It runs for around 7.5 minutes. Both “Man of Sight and Feathers” and “Witness” are solo piano performances of a couple of tracks from the album. These are also included on the Symphonic Poem bonus CD only here you can see him in the studio play them.

The 5.1 Mix.

I find with a lot of electronic music that a 5.1 mix can add plenty of excitement to it and it’s a genre of music that is suited and will benefit from having one in some cases. I have some excellent examples in my collection by the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk. Although I do also have some really disappointing ones by Tangerine Dream as well were the mixing engineer simply does not have a clue how to do a 5.1 mix.

However, some of the atmospheres and ambience in electronic music can also sound like a surround mix even in stereo and Jean-Michel Jarre’s 1976 album Oxygene is certainly one of them. I could also say the same for some of his other albums and for the biggest majority of albums done by Tomita. It’s perhaps even hard to say that those albums with how well they were recorded in the first place would really have any benefit from a 5.1 mix.

The stereo mix of Cursus 123 430 is not one of those albums that will breath in and out and project the music out of your speakers like those albums do. I think it’s down to that factor why this album benefits way more for a 5.1 mix and in all honesty the only way you will ever get to hear this album properly is with the 5.1 mix. Effectively the 5.1 mix brings out every detail of all the layers and tracks that were used to record the album and this mix is TOP DRAW! and easily merits a 10 out of 10 rating.

Musicians & Credits…


Written, Produced and Performed by Robert Reed. Narration Written and Performed by Les Penning. Recorded at Big Studios Wales between July & August 2020. Recording & Mixing Engineer Robert Reed. Album Cover Artwork by Matt Rooke.

Robert Reed: Keyboards & Percussion.
Les Penning: Narration.

The Album Tracks In Review…

The concept story that’s behind Cursus 123 430 does perhaps have a bit more to it than just being based around space physics and is more like a futuristic look or portentous sci-fi tale of how mankind through its years of war and industrialisation have ruined the World. It’s about interstellar ‘Watchers’ arriving on Earth through a portal to repair the planet.

The colourful companion book that came with the Special Edition outlines Les Penning’s story in more detail and his part as the narrator only briefly touches on the story. Rather than having a bigger part in the narration like Richard Burton had with War Of The Worlds this is perhaps more like the smaller role Patrick Allen had on The Planets which was also associated with Jeff Wayne and featured Rick Wakeman on keyboards. It is more of an instrumental album and musically it is mostly like a cross between Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre. So, let’s now take a look at the album in more depth as I take your through its tracks.

Track 1. Erthynge.

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I have no idea what the title means and through my research the only thing that I could find that refereed to it was written in Latin and was in some book titled Narcissus Englished: a study of the Book of Thel, Alastor, and Endymion and it can be found under the “Argument Of The Fable”. According to the fable from what I can make of it “Erthynge” is a form of returning to the state one was before, a bit like man turning to dust and to the ground he came from and it most likely translates to “Earth”.

This opening piece is the longest track on the album weighing in at 8 minutes, 18 seconds. It opens up with the sound of the wind being swept across the waves of the sea and some glistening Vangelis like vibes set the background for Les Penning to narrate his opening words of the story. To which I should add he does very well.

Musically it has both Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre written all over it and he has fused the two together mostly by using the vibes, synths and punctuating stabbing percussion from Vangelis and the sequencing, layered textures and drum machine from Jean-Michel Jarre.

I think it’s quite good how he’s blended the sounds of them both together to make what you have here. Though I do feel in relation to how he reworked Mike Oldfield’s material for his Sanctuary albums he might be overstepping the mark when it comes to how close he is to the original melody lines. For example, the sequencing pattern he used from Jarre’s “Oxygene (Part 2)” is as plain as the nose on your face so to speak.

Track 2. The Hawk And The Harbinger of Dawn.

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From the longest track on the album to one of the two shortest tracks on the album. This short piece is played on the pipe organ and reflects upon the words spoken at the end of the previous track about the saddest darkest days. It’s very much a non-stop album and this is a bit like a fugue played at a funeral sort of thing and is perhaps used to bridge the gap in-between the tracks so to speak and does it quite well too.

Track 3. Stoneborn Watchers.

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This next piece has other influences in it and in the interview on the DVD Reed did mention some of his other influences were from 80’s retro electro bands like Erasure, Ultravox and Depeche Mode for example.

To be honest I know very little about these bands because their music did not appeal to my taste and I never really paid much attention to them. About the only thing I can recall from any of them was “Vienna” by Ultravox which I thought was very good, though it was the only thing they did that stood out for my ears and take notice of.

This is quite a spritely up-tempo piece that springs into action and the only real influence I can hear in it comes from Jarre’s Rendezvous album more than anything else. It also has some sort of Bach touch and feel about it in parts too and gets rounded off by falling back into that funeral fugue played on the pipe organ from the previous track.

Track 4. The Man Of Sight And Feathers.

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This is another of the lengthy tracks on the album and it’s one that goes through some nice transitional changes and is built up with power and subtlety to guide it along its path so to speak. It also allows Penning to speak a few more words and contains some more Jarre like sequencing at the beginning, though its perhaps more influenced by Vangelis with its vibes and punctuating stab like percussion. There is also a very nice synth lead break that’s verging along the lines of Pink Floyd and its quite a strong album track.

Track 5. Witness.

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This next track is one of the standout tracks on the album and once again there is a Floyd feel with one of the lead synths which sounds like Richard Wright’s Kurzweil used on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond“. Though the biggest influence here is from Jean-Michel Jarre in that it draws on the swirling swooshing melody lines of “Oxygene (Part 5)” and is fused with the bossa nova beat of the drum machine on “Oxygene (Part 6)“.

Track 6. Stoneglow Warnings.

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This is another of the stand out tracks on the album and my personal favourite and merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! It goes through some GREAT! transitional changes and once again has Jarre like sequencing and Vangelis textures and vibes. The way the sequence is built up is almost like its verging on Donna Summer’sI Feel Love” and Les Penning gets to be a bit more effective with his voice on the track too.

I also love how effective the lead synth with the pitch bend projects from the front to rear speakers on the surround mix. It’s like it’s going right through your body and is way more effective than the stereo mix where it moves from right to left. You can feel it as well 😁😁😁.

Track 7. Stalemate.

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This is quite a vibrant and pleasing piece and the Vangelis like stabbing percussion is perhaps better punctuated on this track and stands out more. Once again both his and Jarre’s influences are quite evident and you also get a few more words from Penning. It’s another really GREAT! track.

Track 8. Dust And Flowers In A Lost Eden.

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The shortest track on the album weighs in at 53 seconds and is very much heavily influenced by Vangelis with both its vibes and synths. Once again it does a very good job of bridging the gap in-between the tracks just like the man himself would have done with the score for Blade Runner and it fits in with the title here and is a nice little ditty.

Track 9. Gatherings At Farewell Places.

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There is perhaps a bit more of Reed’s own input into this piece however the other influences are still present especially those of Vangelis. Albedo 0.39 certainly springs to mind with not only the music but also the narration with its trajectory physics sort of thing. This is another piece that works very well effective in the surround mix and even Penning’s voice is utilised very well in the front and rear channels. It’s another of the albums highlights and has some GREAT! progression along its path.

Track 10. Erthsheelde.

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The album ends off with another one of the longer tracks on the album. Once again, I have no idea what the title is supposed to be and can only presume that its “Earths Shield” spelt very badly 😁😁😁. This one has more of a Jarre influence and even though the “Watchers” mentioned in the narration could be linked to the cover of his 1978 album Equinox, there is more of an influence from his 1986 album Rendezvous here.

It’s a piece that has 3 parts to it “I. Exodus II. The Odessy of Souls III. Erthynge” although the way it transcends along its more like one piece that ends off where the album started sort of thing by returning back to it’s opening theme. It puts an end to the album very well.


To sum up Cursus 123 430 by Robert Reed. I suppose in many ways one could say that no matter what genre of music Reed decides to do in his solo career he seems to invite “plagiarism” at his door, and no doubt this album will also get plagued for it by some I dare say. It is an album where the influences of Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre are quite evident and stick out like a sore thumb.

However, where this man’s genius lies is with how he can re-shape and re-structure existing melody lines and make his own music out of them, and it is only really the sound that is more like a carbon footprint or copy and not the music itself. I personally could never accuse him of plagiarism and I particularly like how he’s sort of resurrected Mike Oldfield’s music with his Sanctuary albums.

I have to confess that this electronic adventure and path he’s chosen to go down on this new album took me a few spins to appreciate it and like I mentioned earlier there is a major difference between the stereo and 5.1 mixes and they are like chalk and cheese in comparison. To be honest I have never encountered anything like this before on any of his recordings and Rob Reed is not only capable of doing very good stereo mixes, but he’s also has the ability to do very good 5.1 mixes which is a field that only a few minute engineers are able to do very well.

On the day the album arrived it was a busy day so I could not get to hear the 5.1 mix that day and I ripped the CD onto my computer and gave it a couple of spins in the headphones. I can honestly say I was ready to kick this album in the teeth and slag it right down.

The following day I played the 5.1 mix and I had nothing but praise for the album and I was hearing tons of things that do not project very well at all in the stereo mix. Most of which is the layering of the sounds he used. I also played the CD on my hi-fi through the loudspeakers just to check that nothing went wrong with the ripping process on my computer and once again the album said nothing to me.

Let me just stress that there does not appear to be anything wrong with the stereo mix as far as I can tell. However, it does sound very empty in comparison to the 5.1 mix and is missing loads of detail. Listening to this album in stereo it would be lucky to get 4 out of 10. It’s got to be the most extraordinary thing I have ever come across and in general I can listen all his solo and Magenta albums in stereo and 5.1 and enjoy them.

The difference is that MASSIVE! that it’s going to be very difficult for me to give this album the right rating at the end of my review. I generally do rate albums on how well the material is written and comes across to me as a whole. In general, the 5.1 mix is really only an added bonus but it’s like there are two different languages here and they are not speaking the same to me at all.


To conclude my review of Cursus 123 430 by Robert Reed. I do feel that the concept and the written material holds up very well. However, I do feel the only way you will ever truly appreciate this album is by playing the 5.1 mix simply because so much detail is lost in the stereo mix and it simply cannot project or be heard properly with how it comes across. I have played the stereo mix a good few time now and have sort of come accustomed to hearing the album this way and for those who only play the stereo mix and have not heard the surround mix I do not see it presenting you with a problem after a good few spins.

Though I will stress that both mixes really are like chalk and cheese and if you are a surround FREAK! like myself, this 5.1 mix is to die for and is very much a SURROUND FREAKS PARADISE! It’s that exciting it will keep you coming back for more. So, in answer to my question of was it worth it? The answer has to be YES!

To be honest I would not say this body of work is very strong and it’s far from a solid album regarding the written material. However, it does hold up very well like I said, it also flows very well throughout and my personal highlights from the album are “Stoneglow Warnings“. “Witness” and “The Man Of Sight And Feathers“.

Where I praise this album more than anything is for its surround mix and this is an album that I would highly recommend for SURROUND FREAKS! He’s done the bees knees with it and it’s highly addictive and up there with some of the very best surround mixes out there. Considering I myself no longer listen to electronic music that much these days this 5.1 mix is that good that it’s made this one of my GOTO! albums. It’s certainly not going to win the progrock album of the year but if there is an award for the best surround mix of the year this would most likely walk away with it.

A Surround Freaks Heaven…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Erthynge. 8:18.
02. The Hawk And The Harbinger of Dawn. 1:19.
03. Stoneborn Watchers. 5:24.
04. The Man Of Sight And Feathers. 8:07.
05. Witness. 4:39.
06. Stoneglow Warnings. 6:31.
07. Stalemate. 5:05.
08. Dust And Flowers In A Lost Eden. 0:53.
09. Gatherings At Farewell Places. 7:34.
10. Erthsheelde. 8:08.

Packaging Rating Score. 8/10.
Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.
5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.
Bonus Material Rating Score. 7/10.
Album Rating Score. 6/10.