Rick Wakeman

The random playlist started with Rick Wakeman (Taurus)…

    Rick Wakeman’s Catherine Parr
    Deadmau5’s 12×12
    Armin van Buren 10 Years
    Botany Waterparker

Some random note about Abbey Road Studios triggered this sideways slide into classic rock classical music. It was this first one, Rick Wakeman’s Catherine Parr, as it cycled up — totally random player. I was thinking about it, and as I stood under the shower’s cascade of water, the player shifted to the next song, 12X12, the 2010 offering from the artist formerly known as dead mouse.

In the shower stall, it was mostly the percussive bass line, thumping through the walls. Against the hard rock (by the era’s standards) beat of a big kit for the Rick Wakeman song, just a different line. The rest of the play list is alternating between techno, DJ, trance and dance. Just in order as it came from the iPod.

The connection between Wakeman’s analog synthesizer and the truly digital material, almost 40 years later? There’s aural and audio history.

I’ve come back, after some kind of hiatus, to listening to that album again. Over the years, it seems to figure into my personal history, and I can’t place the reasoning. Some of it is due, I’m sure, to the ecclesiastical nature of the music. Organ music, even if it is synthetic, it still sounds majestical.

Part Two:
Days later, I was poking through iTunes, and I stumbled across a computer error that lead to a listening marathon for two YES albums: Fragile and especially, Close to the Edge. Of note, at a rapid pace, I can get within blocks of a coffee destination, with that one album, in its entirety, Close to the Edge.

The pursuit of trivial pursuits on the inter-webs is what makes this fun, albeit, problematic at times. The data shows the albums’ first publication dates, which, as I’ve noted before doesn’t line up with my own, personal timeline, but never mind that. Part of the appeal is the mystical and cosmic nature of the lyrics, but the harmonies, especially on those albums, they hit a high note.

Now I can’t find the link, but there was note about a reversed piano chord, this, look at the music’s era, the tone was recorded onto tape, then the tape was physically fed backwards to reverse the chord.

Other trivial bits, perhaps misrepresented, first use of ambient-style audio tracks? Presages the current crop of dance, samples and all.

Another missing referral was some comment about, “The cleanest picked bass,” as in a guitar pick, but the line was cleaner. Better noise. Again, this echoes my thinking that some of the new reproductions are more true than the old, analog varieties, which, in part, can be attributed to better playback, phones notwithstanding.

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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