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viernes, 23 de octubre de 2015

National Health - National Health (1977)

Artista: National Health
Álbum: National Health
Año: 1977
Género: Escena Canterbury
Duración: 50:06
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra

Lista de Temas:
1. Tenemos roads
2. Brujo
3. Borogoves (Excerpt from part two)
4. Borogoves (Part one)
5. Elephants

- Phil Miller / electric guitar
- Dave Stewart / acoustic piano, electric piano, organ (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5), Clavinet (track 3)
- Pip Pyle / drums, glockenspiel (tracks 2, 5), pixiephone (track 5), gong (track 1), cowbell (track 1), tambourine (track 1), finger cymbals (track 2), shakers (track 2), bells (track 2)
- Neil Murray / fretless bass guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5), fretless basses (track 3)
Alan Gowen / acoustic piano (tracks 2, 5), electric piano (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5), moog synthesizer
Jimmy Hastings / flute (tracks 1, 2, 5), flutes (track 3), clarinet (tracks 3, 4), bass clarinet (track 1)
John Mitchell[disambiguation needed][3] / percussion (track 1), güiro (track 2), temple block (track 2), conga (track 3)
Amanda Parsons - vocals (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5)

Otro aporte del Mago Alberto para que disfruten en este fon de semana. Gran disco de una banda de la que habíamos hablado varias veces. Vamos con su comentario.

En muchísimos comentarios que existen en este blog, se ha mencionado en varias oportunidades a National Health y a Hatfield and North, dos bandas emparentadas con el surgimiento de la escena denominada Canterbury, denominación o rótulo que coincido con el Vampiro me parece al dope, pero bueno, es una opinión más, quizás lo único que marca un ceño de estilo es el sonido de los teclados de casi todas las bandas de ese momento y ese lugar, un sonido plástico simil al primitivo organo Farfisa, pero nada más, las estructuras musicales son muy variadas y hasta la métrica son muy disímiles.
Este es un disco que comienza con una extensa canción, climática, fragmentada, con un vuelo musical interesantísimo, sobresaliente, y debe ser una de las piezas más logradas de todos los trabajos de NH, se despega un tanto de los tracks siguientes y le da valor a la placa. Si escuchan con atención este disco podrán apreciar que está grabado como una obra conceptual, con los típicos fraseos recurrentes.
NH fue una banda que siempre se mantuvo al margen de los sonidos más progres del momento, trazaban una línea emparentada con el jazz fusión, y había muchísimo protagonismo de los teclados, y aquí los muchachos le daban un swing arrollador, también los fraseos corales le daban muchísima identidad a su proyecto grupal.
En su momento estos discos pasaban totalmente desapercibidos, había que encontrarle la vuelta, pero hoy después de muchísimos años, estos registros toman una dimensión inusual porque muestran la verdadera esencia de lo que pasaba en los años de entonces, creo que hoy son mas disfrutables y el inconciente colectivo y auditivo los ubican en los standars más selectos de la música, lugar que se lo merecen sobremanera.
Un trabajo logradísimo que los cabezones más retorcidos seguramente van a disfrutar.

Este es un excelente material de virtuosidad individual y en conjunto. Este es su álbum debut. A disfrutar gente, el álbum es de alta calidad, y les gustará a seguidores del Canterbury rock, el jazz y el rock progresivo clásico por igual, saludos...
Les dejo algunos comentarios en inglés por si hace falta, pero éste es un discazo!

Well the recording is weak, but this album as a debut within the important 70's fusion progressive scene in the UK, regarding of the early school of Canterbury,was the introduction of a new shining star. After them, bands such as the excellent HATFIELD & THE NORTH or the raw but interesting ensemble of MATCHING MOLE, established the direction within the school of Canterbury!!

Not a Masterpiece, but definitively essential work!! I guess if your pleasure is strictly Jazz look elsewhere.... These guys played Progressive-Rock with Jazz "oriented" melodies, and have all the complex signatures of the finest Canterbury Bands of all times! I find very difficult to classify their style, since they do not strictly speaking stay on one signature for much time, in each cut.
Now, I agree Parsons singing melodies and harmonies sound irritating in the beginning, but IMHO and to my ears this tend to grow on you and actually after few spins you start sensing that they interplay pretty good with the music (anyways they are not to much...) Intricate, complex, fun and mostly Instrumental...all these describes NH music!Soul? Well, that is open to a more broad discussion and interpretation...Not much improv here, but not to tight either, abundant time changes with a very sophisticated use of interplay between band members. Fantastic work and effort!!.. One of my fav bands and ESSENTIAL; then again is just my opinion.
Jose Gabriel

More is less : Hatfield and the North was an ideal mixture of musicianship, composition, songwriting and a dose of humour. When the project stoped National Health could have been the follow up...but it wasn't. Hatfield was a group, National Health is (mainly) a vehicle for Dave Stewart's compositions.Now, Dave Stewaert is a great composer, but not a great songwriter. On this record there are some very beautiful and delicate pieces of music,('Tenemos Roads' and 'Borogoves' include my favourite) enough to make tons of good songs, but Dave Stewart puts a hundred ideas in one 'Song' and spoils it.There is not enough room to breeze, a claustrophobic record. It is a frustrating record too: Every time I listen to it I get struck by the beauty and in the next moment I get drowned by too much complexity. One of these days I am going to sample my favourite passages and create my own favourite National Health record.
Martin Horst

As a teenage grew up in Jakarta in late 70s, I witnessed my buddies split into two camps. Those who listened to Prambors Radio (it was broadcasted at 666KHz AM at that time) and El-Shinta Radio (1432KHz AM). The first normally aired the pop, disco, rock, and new wave, while the latter broadcasted the jazzy tunes. Amidst these two camps, I unintentionally heard an interesting genre played by a number of DKSB's (Harry Roesli's Depot Kreasi Seni Bandung) members, when they met at my friend's house in Kebayoran Baru circa 1980. I couldn't tell exactly what kind of music that these gentlemen put forward. It sounded they played jazz, but inserted many musical interludes, exaggerated dynamics to heighten contrast between sections, expanded the timbral palette of their music by adding flute, used poly tempo as well as poly key signatures. In short, it was a jazz with a progressive rock touch.
Fast forward, 27 years later on, my "musical amazing" friend, Gatot W Hidayat, suggested that I might have been hearing the "Canterbury Sound" played by those gentlemen. Eager to understand the genre, I asked Mr. Hidayat to lend me his collections. The first one is the first album of a band founded in 1975 by Dave Stewart and Alan Gowen, the National Health's National Health (Charly Schallplatten GmBH's 1998 CD pressing). The CD sleeve contains useful information. In addition to the band's history and interweaving of its members in the past, John Platt, the sleeve writer, interestingly said that (contrary to what have been written in many literatures), National Health is not a "Canterbury Sound" band, although he mentioned that most of the band's members have played together at various times, along with several other Canterbury related persons. The album consists of five tracks.
The first is the 14:30" "Tenemos Roads". "Tener" in Spanish is a verb with the basic meaning of "to have". It also appears in a number of phrases that show emotion or physical states, expressed by nouns, which in English tend to be expressed by to be and an adjective. Thus, the "Tenemos Roads" in English roughly means "the path or road that National Health has specifically chosen". Indeed the first track shows how the band could arrange a complicated, yet beautiful composition, consisting of a number of interludes. Initiated by 40" dissonance harmony based on Alan Gowen's synthesizer and Dave Stewart's keyboard, the composition gradually took Bill Bruford's drums and Mont Campbell's bass into its liner. Campbell's simple, but appealing crotchet and quaver bass notes in the 4/4 tempo and Stewart's keyboard dominated the beginning of the composition. At 2:36", the band changed its rhythm to jazz rock driven by Campbell's syncopated bass and Bruford's drum for slightly over two minutes. At 4:42", Phil Miller's guitar jazzy tunes painted the composition on the back of Campbell's crotchet and quaver bass notes in the 4/4 tempo. Then, Amanda Parsons' eerie soprano vocal came in at 5:46". Frankly, I was getting lost in the almost seven-minute section as the band played the consonance and dissonance harmony in random, sometimes taking avant garde into its composition. Fortunately, my suffering ended at 12:32" when Campbell's crotchet and quaver bass notes in the 4/4 tempo backed into the scene. The song was ended by an avant garde harmony, a symbolization of National Health's ability in pushing its musical ability to infinity.
The second track is the 10:19" "Brujo", the Spanish's masculine form of "brujería" or "the wizard" in English. Opened up by a soft and peaceful combination of Campbell's bass, Stewart's keyboard, Gowen's synthesizer, Bruford's drum, and Parsons' "la.. la.. la.." soprano vocals for 4:10", I sense the band depicts a wizard is drawing his magic. As he is ready to spell catastrophic mantra, the composition tempo was gradually raised. Then, you could hear beautiful Gowen's legato and glissando synthesizer and Campbell's semiquaver dissonance bass notes. At 6:30", Miller's guitar came in, while Campbell switched into his crotchet and quaver bass notes, but in the 6/8 tempo, describing the wizard spells his disastrous hymn. The composition was ended by poly tempo and the combination of accent and marcato notes, describing how suffering the victim is.
The third and fourth tracks are called "Borogoves (Excerpt from part 2)" and "Borogoves (Part 1). These compositions run at 4:16" and 6:37", respectively. I am not sure why the band put the part 1 after the part 2. I also initially puzzled with these songs' title. Fortunately, the Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com/) let me know that the borogoves is slang for a thin, shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round. Using the definition, I use my imagination in interpreting these compositions. The part 2 was initiated by peaceful synthesizer and keyboard, before Campbell's bass and Miller's guitar, played on quarter echo, coming in at 58". I sense this section portrays the borogoves enjoys his quit morning. At 2:30", Miller's guitar turned into rock melodies, symbolizing that the borogoves must leave its nest. Moving to the part 1, by listening to the cheerful consonance harmony composition for the first 3:35", I imagine that the borogoves is flying and cruising happily. Suddenly, Campbell's bass and Stewart's keyboard notes turned dark, depicting the borogoves meets its predator and must slip away. The band smartly describes the intense pursuit by raising tempo and using dissonance harmony. Happily, the borogoves is able to run away, marked by a slowing down in the composition tempo at 6:10".
The last track, the 14:20" "Elephants", is the most difficult composition to be decrypted. It contains at least eight interludes and was initiated by an elephant barking sound generated from Gowen's synthesizer. It was followed by an avant garde dissonance harmony composition, dominated by Gowen's synthesizer. Miller's dissonance rock harmonies came in at 2:05", while Campbell's bass was the background. Stewart's piano and Gowen's glissando synthesizer took over the baton at 3:50" for slightly over three minutes. Then, Campbell's consonance semiquaver bass notes joined Stewart and Gowen at 6:00". The rhythm changed again at 7:18" and, to my surprise, Campbell's crotchet and quaver bass notes in the 4/4 tempo and Parsons' eerie soprano vocal played in the "Tenemos Road" backed into the scene at 7:45". Two more peaceful interludes (9:30"-11:25" and 11:25"-14:20") came in before the song was ended.
Having listened to the National's first album, I really admire Alan Gowen and Dave Stewart's abilities in writing fluid complex compositions (except track #5), although they consisted of many interludes, took both consonance and dissonance harmonies, as well as the usage of variety of key and time signatures. Happy listening!
Rizal B. Prasetijo

Have you ever enjoyed the music of Hatfield and The North, Egg, Khan, Gong, Steve Hillage? You bet! This album is similar in style with that bands. NATIONAL HEALTH was one of the last of the great "Canterbury-style" progressive rock bands. This band performed the same style of Canterbury Progressive with a heavy influences from jazz, rock, following Hatfield and The North's philosophy, with complex keyboards parts of Dave Stewart combined with the stunning guitar of Phil Miller. The band's eponymous opus is one of the most important albums of the Canterbury scene, containing a unique mixture of rock, jazz and classical music. This is a great collection for Canterbury fans and a rare treat in the spirit of the likes of The Tangent, Spock's Beard, Echolyn or even Gentle Giant.
The Album: "Tenemos Roads" (14:32) opens the album with an ambient keyboard work typical Dave Stewart's style. If you are familiar with KHAN, EGG then you can sense exactly his style of playing. The music moves in crescendo and turns into a more complex arrangement with inventive drum work combined with stunning guitar work by Phil Miller. Amanda Parsons gives her vocal while the music flows wonderfully with excellent passages of electric pianos and guitar. There is a touch of Bill Bruford "Feels Good To Me" music style in this track. "Brujo" (10:13) demonstrates excellent piano solo introduction combined with excellent guitar work. I know that Dave Stewart is from different school with CHICK COREA, but the introduction part of this track is similar with Chick Corea. Again, Amanda Parsons voice gives a music texture of this song especially when she brings in the drum work joining the music. The music moves up into uplifting mood with a shot of electric piano, guitar and inventive bass lines. It's really a very nice composition that blends strong elements of jazz and rock with rapid-fire keyboard punches during rhythm section as well as solo.
"Borogoves (Excerpt from part two)" (4:12) features great bass guitar solo in the middle of the track while electric piano serves as rhythm section. It continues with a stunning guitar solo reminiscent of AL DI MEOLA even though it's not performed is in the same speed like Al Di Meola's "Land of A Midnight Sun" album. "Borogoves (Part one)"(6:29) continues the musical stream of previous track combining keyboard and guitar with more complex improvisation and sudden change to different tempo. The final track "Elephants" (14:32) is at first explorative in nature during the introduction part but it moves into uplifting mood with great guitar and keyboard work. Keyboard work is getting complex and interesting one to enjoy.
Summary: This album casts the spirit of Canterbury music that favors those who like this genre or even for those who like Return To Forever of Chick Corea old albums like "The Mad Hatter", "Touchstone" or Al Di Meola solo. If you do not enjoy jazz influences, at least you can enjoy the virtuosity of keyboard work by Dave Stewart or guitar by Phil Miller or Pip Pyle dynamic drumming. Well, basically if you can open your mind for wider prog music selection, this one is an excellent one for your collection. Recommended.
Gatot Widayanto Hidayat

Born from the ashes of the marvellous, though sadly less than successful Hatfield and the North, National Health were the last of the incestuous Canterbury supergroups. Like its predecessor, it featured the amazing talents of keyboardist extraordinaire Dave Stewart, far too underrated, virtuoso drummer and lyricist Pip Pyle, and guitarist Phil Miller - augmented by former Colosseum II bassist Neil Murray (later to become a hard rock stalwart with Whitesnake, Gary Moore and Black Sabbath), who stepped into the daunting shoes of Canterbury legend Richard Sinclair. Due to the absence of the latter's golden, velvet-smooth voice, this album is largely an instrumental one, with rare vocal duties being handled by one-third of the Northettes, the charming soprano Amanda Parsons.
Like most Canterbury productions,"National Health" is not the easiest album to get into. The jazz influence is here even more pronounced than in the Hatfields' two albums, and sometimes the listener may feel as if it is being a bit too sophisticated for its own good. Moreover, Parsons' voice may come across as an acquired taste - though, at least in my personal case, it grew on me with repeated listens. As it is to be expected, however, the musicianship is stellar, the interplay between Stewart's monumental, trademark fuzz organ and the other instruments flowing along seamlessly. It is true that, after a while, the tracks may sound a bit samey, but a careful listen turns out to be ultimately rewarding for the discerning music lover.
Album opener "Tenemos Roads" must rank among the cornerstones of the Canterbury sound. A 14-minute-plus epic, it opens with an absolutely to-die-for instrumental section led by Stewart's powerful keyboards, then slows down to leave room for Parsons' ethereal, spaced-out vocalising, picking up pace again towards the end. Following track "Brujo" sees Stewart duelling with guest keyboardist Alan Gowen (of Gilgamesh fame), who sadly passed away in 1981. The two-part "Borogoves" (a name taken from the famous "Jabberwocky" nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll) features more intricate, dazzling instrumental prowess from the players, with Phil Miller proving himself one of the most underrated yet proficient guitar players in prog. Lengthy "Elephants" rounds the album off in style with more textbook keyboard pyrotechnics, wtith Parsons reprising "Tenemos Roads" in the final part.
This album is not really likely to convert any unbelievers to the joys of the Canterbury sound, but it offers much of interest to any curious, open-minded prog fans. However, I would recommend you get Hatfield and the North's two albums before you proceed to this one.
Raffaella Berry

I don't know if you'd call it ironic or scary that this would be the album I had in my car when Pip Pyle passed away. Either way, Canterbury is a tricky genre to review. The style is hard to get into, but rewarding in the long run and this particular album is that in a nutshell. My favorite track happens to be the first, "Tenemos Roads" which starts out hard and jamming with the God of keyboards Mr. David Stewert's fuzzy organ blasting some dark prog. In fact, it's surprising how dark this songs is for the most part but don't worry, the famous Canterbury whimsy shows up halfway with the super-angelic voice of Northette Amanda Parsons chirping and crooning until the finale, a rousing staccato barrage of darkness courtesy of Stewert's keyboards. From here on out it's a jamming jazz/prog style that takes a few spins to get into but will bring a smile to your face. My only gripe is the lack of any melodies that stick, other than the beginning and end of the first track. It's mostly instrumental with Amanda Parson singing here and there, (although what she's singing I haven't the foggiest idea). It's all about the playing on this disc, and boys and girls it's impressive. If, on the other hand, you're looking for memorable grooves look elsewhere, otherwise for all you Canterbury fans it's a no-brainer 5 star classic. But in all honesty, it boils down to 4/5....close tho....
Ray Rappisi jr

A pointless album that is going nowhere. No stories, just the ideas for the sake of ideas.
Having that said, it's hard to imagine why should anyone rate this album with more the one or two stars.
Well, I don't know. The only thing that is evident is that this is one mixed bag. What's more it's a magician's bag. It took me A LOT to get into, and when I started to like this one, I realised that I can't count on my common perception of music. Every time I'm listening to this album something else is happening: the familiar passages are here, but that's about it. Every time it is an entirely different album that you have to get into. It's literally overfilled with everything, a multiple spring of ideas. There are not much facts that you can pin down...because this one is slippery as an eel. It is Canterbury, all right. And it's very jazzy, okay. Somewhat symphonic. Add a teaspoon of Celtic music, please.
In my opinion, the highlights of the albums are keyboard solos. They are so furious and expressive. Undoubtedly skilled, with so many pitch bending thrown in that it's almost laughable.
This is mostly an instrumental work, but the vocals are present here and there. Female vocals sounded annoying and out of place at first hearing, but later I realised that they actually fit the overall music nicely. The female vocals are strangle blend of jazzy overtones with some almost Celtic moments. No lyrics here, just vocalisations, creating slightly mystic mood.
I will never be sure did I actually start liking this album a lot or was I so exhausted by trying to digest billions of ideas presented here that I lost any common sense and ground, taste and ability to analyse and compare.
In every person's mind there is a little pervert...therefore, get this album and give it a try. It will be a long rewarding experience after the long torturing experience.
And addition that will become an addiction.
Moris Mateljan

Y los comentarios siguen pero háganme caso, el disco está muy bueno y lo pueden escuchar aquí...
Otro discazo ultra recomendado!!!!!

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Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
Si no estás de acuerdo con lo expresado podrás dejar tu comentario siempre que no sea ofensivo, discriminador o violento...

Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).