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8.12.08

Kerry Livgren




Kerry Livgren - One of Several Possible Musiks - 1989 - Sparrow

Kerry Livgren is probably best known for his work with Kansas, the American prog rock band who sold several million albums. When he left Kansas, (The band), he formed a group, with Kansas' Dave Hope called AD, which released a few great albums which many rock music fans were unaware of, as they were classified in some quarters as "religious music," and never reached the "rock" audience through the normal channels. "One of Several Possible Musiks" is a very good album from the ex-Kansas multi-instrumentalist, Kerry Livgren. It's a wonderful blend of Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Metal, and classic symphonic Art-Rock, with an underlying medieval touch. It is this "symphonic medieval" influence which gave rise to AD's music being mistakenlycategorized as "religious" music. Kerry did all the creative work on this album. All the tracks were composed, arranged, performed, & produced by Kerry. He used electric, and acoustic bass guitars, mandolin, keyboards, and real piano. He also arranged the drum-programming. In the liner notes for "One of Several Possible Musiks," the track "Tenth of Nisan" has a footnote reading: "(The obvious debt to M.R. is acknowledged.)" M.R is Maurice Ravel who was a classical composer of the late 19th or early 20th century, and best known for his "Bolero", (remember "10" with Bo Derek/Dudley Moore ? ), which influenced "Tenth of Nisan". In fact the whole album has classical influences throughout. As well as Ravel, there are shades of Gustav Holst. If you like the early ELP, and Rick Wakeman/Yes albums, you should enjoy this album. It is worth buying Kerry's excellent "Time Line" album, and AD's "Art of the State" album is one of those great overlooked albums of "religious music" which is worth tracking down.

TRACKS

1. Ancient Wing
2. And I Saw, As It Were...Konelrad
3. Colonnade Gardens
4. In The Sides Of The North
5. Alenna In The Sun
6. Tannin Danse
7. Far Country, The
8. Diaspora
9. Fistful Of Drachmas, A
10. Tenth Of Nisan
11. Eerie Cove - (bonus track on later CD editions)
All tracks composed, arranged, performed, & produced by Kerry Livgren. He used electric, acoustic, & bass guitars, mandolin; keyboards; real piano; real electric, and bass guitars. He also arranged the drum-programming. The album was recorded & mixed by KL at "The Peach" studio, Covington, GA., and mastered by Glen Meadows at "Masterfonics, Inc.", Nashville, TN.

REVIEWS

Kerry Livgren, veteran of Kansas and AD takes us on a fascinating instrumental musical journey on this set. Before any Kansas or AD affectionados rush out and buy this on the strength of being a Livgren album, I would warn them not to expect polished AOR. A better description would be a contemporary "Pictures At An Exhibition". Don't mis-understand - not a musical meditation on a seascape, contractual-obligation-album. Definitely not! This album has the stamp of a deeply considered labour of love. Each track creates a vivid image in the listener's mind (unfortunately, the only clues the listener gets as to each piece's inspiration are the composition's titles - more sleeve notes please). 'One Of Several Possible Musiks' bears the distinctive Livgren musical stamp, that pot pouri of styles that has permeated much of his previous works. Stylistically, it's rock with hints of baroque, progressive rock, Asian, etc, each style used to strengthen the emotive imagery created by each track. Some tracks are easier to relate to than others. In particular, "Colonnade Gardens" is immensely powerful, for me its imagery knock the socks off 20% of the movies I've seen in the last year. The big question; should you put out your hard-earned cash to acquire a copy? No, if you're looking for CCM product, but yes if you want to take time on a thoughtful musical statement, and are prepared to put the maximum (many listens) in to get the maximum out. © Tim Cockram, © Cross Rhythms 1983 - 2008

Say this first: The electric drum sounds are dinosaurs technologically and come dangerously close to ruining the whole record -- but most specifically on an otherwise dynamic track "And I Saw, as It Were....Konelrad." Beyond that, this is a spectacular collection of songs that highlight Livgren's prowess as a composer better than any of his previous releases and his ability as a performer free to explore musically with little restraint. Livgren himself plays all the instruments on this album. Though most of the sounds are electronically generated, it is clear (beyond the drum sounds) that he went to great lengths to imitate the sounds of acoustic instruments -- it would be difficult to distinguish his sampled flute sounds, for example. Great guitar work abounds, and it is mystical, almost dreamy in places. The more subtle tunes really make the record ("Colonnade Gardens," "The Far Country"). His flair for spooky writing can be heard on "A Fistful of Drachma." Album-closer "Tenth of Nisan" is reminiscent of Ravel's Bolero in feel -- and Livgren specifically acknowledges his influence. © Mark W. B. Allender, All Music Guide



ABOUT KERRY LIVGREN

Kerry Livgren was one of the founding members and primary writers for the '70s supergroup Kansas. Having grown up listening to the works of classical composers (notably the Romantics such as Liszt and Wagner), Livgren's songwriting technique has always tended toward orchestration -- with an ear for the majestic or the symphonic. Playing with numerous bands throughout the late '60s and early '70s -- including early incarnations of Kansas that included Dave Hope and Phil Ehart -- Livgren joined White Clover in 1974, a band featuring vocalist Steve Walsh and violinist Robbie Steinhardt. Shortly after Livgren joined, the group changed their name to Kansas. As a member of Kansas, Livgren shared songwriting duties with Walsh and as the group progressed, it became evident that Livgren contributed much of what made their music so unique -- specifically, its complexity and lyrics that spoke of a restless search for truth. In 1976, while Walsh was suffering from a bout with writer's block, Livgren penned nearly all the songs on their Leftoverture album, including their smash hit "Carry on Wayward Son." The following year saw an even greater commercial success on the strength of their Point of Know Return album, which featured the existential Livgren-penned "Dust in the Wind." After many years of flirting with various religious teachings, Livgren became immersed in Urantia, a then-trendy spiritualist, pantheistic faith. Many of the songs of Kansas' Monolith album resonate with Urantian teachings. While on tour supporting Monolith, Livgren converted to Christianity (as later did fellow bandmate Dave Hope). Many of the songs on the albums to follow, particularly 1982's Vinyl Confessions and Livgren's first solo album Seeds of Change have a distinct (if not overbearing) Christian message. During the recording of Vinyl Confessions, many other notable Christian artists began to gravitate toward Kansas, specifically John Elefante, Warren Ham (formerly with Bloodrock), and Michael Gleason. Dissatisfied with Kansas' Drastic Measures album and the musical direction the group was taking, and also afire with his newfound faith, Livgren, Hope, Ham, Gleason, and drummer Dennis Holt formed a new band, AD, taking on many of Livgren's complex musical stylings, giving them an '80s spin, and injecting the freedom to sing about religious subjects. Three albums were released with AD: Time Line, Art of the State, and Reconstructions (released after Warren Ham's departure). Bound by contractual obligation, Livgren was unable to release music by any vehicle other than Kansas. As a result, the latter two AD albums were released only in the Christian market and that, combined with tours consisting primarily of small clubs and churches, allowed the public virtually no exposure to AD's music. The band ran themselves into the ground fairly quickly, acquiring some significant debts. In an attempt to pay these off, Livgren and Ham quickly recorded Prime Mover, a collection of previously unrecorded AD tracks. Livgren has since become a full-time farmer, releasing the odd album here and there. He has continued to write music and has appeared with the re-formed Kansas from time to time. The 2000 Kansas album Somewhere to Elsewhere was recorded at Livgren's studio in Kansas, featuring all the original members (and bassist Billy Greer). Each track on Somewhere to Elsewhere was written by Livgren himself. © Mark W.B. Allender, All Music Guide

8 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK Pt 1

LINK Pt 2

Lawrence said...

I'll give it a listen,
Thanks...

Lawrence said...

Thanks...

A.O.O.F.C said...

Cheers, Lawrence. Thanks for all your comments. Keep'em coming!

terribletee56 said...

Hi,
Just a quick thanks for an outstanding blog. I've had a chance to check out several of your records that I've been curious about, and I can not thank you enough. My best to you and yours. Take care, friend, and thanks again.
Terry
Iowa, USA

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks a million Terry. You make blogging worthwhile. I'd like to hear you play that bass! Keep in touch with me

Jorge Batista said...

Thank you, this is a great blog.

Thanks for your work and for remembering other people, such as us.

Best regards

A.O.O.F.C said...

No probs. Jorge. You're v.welcome. Thanks...P