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Emerson; Keith: Changing States (remaster)

Changing States, or as it is sometimes referred to, Cream Of Emerson Soup, was initially released in 1995, although its origins can be traced back to the hiatus Emerson Lake And Palmer found themselves in during 1990. Responding to a phone call he received from a friend to work with a young, talented engineer called Kevin Gilbert (Toy Matinee, Sheryl Crowe, solo) who sadly died in 1996, Emerson took advantage of his main band's downtime to fly to California to hook up with the young songwriter/musician/producer. The pair putting together a mix of new songs, archive material and a few classical reinterpretations. However before the album could be released, ELP reconvened and some of this material morphed into "different" songs for their Black Moon album; before some five years later Changing States did finally see the light of day.

The ten tracks created for this album are, as you'd expect from such an eclectic performer, wide and varied in style, but so much so, that rather than a cohesive album, the results feel much more like a compilation taking tracks from various releases. However, that said, there's little to complain about with regards the actual quality it contains.

From the ten tracks, these split into three vocal selections, the introductory "Shelter From The Rain", a surprisingly straight slice of Rock that feels very 80s in execution (both in terms of sound and construction), "The Band Keeps Playing", where singer Gary Crimelli adds his husky, theatrical style to good effect and an "(Aftershock Mix)" of "Band Keeps", which reins back some brass stabs and highlights the female backing vocals - improving on the original as it does so. From the instrumental tracks, "Another Frontier", would (confusingly) morph into "Changing States" for Black Moon, while "Montagues And Capulets" would go on to become "Romeo And Juliet". Having the opportunity to compare and contrast is very interesting, leaving both as album highlights, while "Interlude" is a familiar Emerson piano piece that is beautifully poised, if a little out of place amongst some of the more thrusting moments in evidence.

"Abbadon's Bolero", an ELP track from Trilogy, is a welcome, if probably in this setting unnecessary addition (even if it is recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra); "Ballade" an interesting alteration of approach in a more stripped down style, while "The Church" is a reworking of a piece Emerson created for the Dario Argenti film of the same name. It is dark and challenging and possibly the moment on this album which stands up to repeat listens in the strongest fashion.

With interesting liner notes courtesy of Malcolm Dome, featuring an interview with Emerson himself about this album, and crisp a remaster, Changing States is an interesting, absorbing, if slightly flawed insight into the eclectic working of one of the UK's most enduring Prog performers.

Track Listing
1. Shelter From The Rain
2. Another Frontier
3. Ballade
4. The Band Keeps Playing
5. Summertime
6. The Church
7. Interlude
8. Montagues and Capulets
9. Abaddons Bolero (Orchestral version)
10. The Band Keeps Playing (Aftershock mix)

Added: April 26th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Changing States at Cherry Red
Hits: 1709
Language: english

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