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Sweet Slag - Tracking With Close-Ups (1971)

Proszę Państwa - macie przed sobą pozycję absolutnie unikatową. Jej unikatowość nie polega jednak na dostępności (chociaż i to nie jest proste), ale na muzyce, którą ten album zawiera. Jest to wprost rzecz niepojęta, że płyty takie jak ta giną gdzieś w czeluściach pamięci. W 1971 roku mało znana grupa Sweet Slag nagrała według mnie jeden z najlepszych albumów z gatunku progressive rocka, ale z wieloma elementami jazzowych improwizacji, Beefheartowskimi fascynacjami oraz ciężką brytyjską psychedelią. Nie można nie posiadać w swojej kolekcji tej pozycji. MUS !!!

Mick Kerensky - guitar, vocal
Al Chambers - drums
Paul Jolly - sax, clarinet, flute, oboe, woodwind
Jack O'Neill - bass, trombone

Ladies and gentlemans - here you have the absolutely monster and brilliant album !!! A lost gem from the 70's British rock scene, Sweet Slag explore the darker side of mans soul in their one and only release.

By 1971 the UK rock music scene was undergoing change. The psychedelic era was on the wane as a Syd Barrett-less Pink Floyd departed from the surrealist brilliance of Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Progressive rock, with Peter Gabriel at its helm dressed as a transvestite fox, was getting grander and more conceptual. David Bowie was about to christen himself Ziggy Stardust and Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were ushering in a new heavier sound with their own reinterpretation of the blues.

With this in mind it’s difficult to see where Tracking with Close Ups, the sole album by UK band Sweet Slag, fits into the music scene at the time. Practically nothing is known of the band, except that they were a four-piece outfit from London and cut their solitary album for the President Record label. Nor has the mystery been cleared up by the re-release of the album by Sunrise Records, as there are no additional notes on the bands history (although Sunrise have made their music much more affordable than the hefty price which dealers command for the original LP on ebay).

Sweet Slag’s music is less concerned about creating anthemic popular rock like Zeppelin or Sabbath, and though their sound could be deemed psychedelic or progressive the over all feel of the album is darker with none of the pretence that would be normally found on albums in these genres. In truth Tracking with Close Ups owes much to the free experimentation of Zappa and Beefheart, with references to avant guarde composers such as Karl Heinz Stockhausen.

Each of the seven songs on the album are experimental with the entire band soloing freely and seemingly without direction. The tight drumming of Al Chambers and steady bass of Jack O’Neill just about manage to hold the threads of the ideas together. This freedom of expression can be a bit off-putting for the casual listener, but as in the best avant guarde work of John Coltrane, there are moments when all the ideas and discordant improvisations come together and intricate melodies weave their way out from the maelstrom.

Rain Again” repeatedly morphs through different styles and time signatures over it’s 10 plus minutes, beginning with hazy horns over Chambers’ lazy funk break-beat, before quickly disintegrating into cacophony. ‘Twisted Trip Woman’ with its incessant bass riff is also a highlight, with a middle section which sounds like it could’ve been lifted straight off of a Plastic People of the Universe LP.

Vocalist and lead guitarist Mick Kerensky takes writing credits for all seven songs, and his lyrics are full of bleak imagery concerning his complete hatred and mistrust of society. “World of Ice” is the most psychedelic track; a slow eerie 'stoner rock’ tune much akin to “The End” by the Doors. An embodiment of Kerensky’s paranoia, its eerie bass riff and swathes of atmospheric percussion lead on to his tortured guitar solo, which moves by turns discordant and delicate to create something truly beautiful and melancholic. Suicidal fairly sums it up.

The final track ‘Babyi Ar’ is based on the poem by Yevgeny Yevtushenko about the Jewish massacres at Babi Yar in 1941 perpetrated by the Soviet Union. Kerensky screams the song title repeatedly over the horrific noises conjured up by the rest of the group. It stands as a poignant homage to the darker side of the human condition, and a fitting way to end an album so eager to explore this part of mans psyche. (Gerard Fannon)

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8 komentarzy:

Ankh pisze...


Osiris pisze...

ciekawie ciekawie...

hxx pisze...

właśnie słucham. faktycznie super!

Ankh pisze...

Bardzo mnie to cieszy, że się podoba. Album jest rzeczywiście wyjątkowy. Dawno nie slyszalem czegoś takiego. Pozdrawiam wszystkich. Piękne tlumaczenia @hxx :))

Edurocker pisze...

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Anonimowy pisze...

Hi SavageSaints

Thanks for this one Really amazing !


Anonimowy pisze...

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Anonimowy pisze...

Although the album review contains interesting information, it is necessary to make some remark. 1941 was the year when Hitler’s Germany assaulted Soviet Union and it was fascists who murdered soviet Jews in Babyi Yar (the region in Kyiv, Ukraine). Later on these events were described by soviet poet Yevgeniy Yevtushenko in his work 'Babiy Yar'
Anyway, thanks for rare album.

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