Cuneiform has done a masterful job of releasing all this archival Canterbury material recently that it is almost like these bands never went away. Gilgamesh was one of the bands who were a precursor to Hatfield and the North/National Health, featuring Alan Gowen on keyboards (who briefly was a member of Hatfield, then joined the later stages of National Health) and Neil Murray on bass (who was in the first incarnation of Hatfield, then went on to Whitesnake, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, etc.)
This is a collection of various tracks recorded from 1973-1975, and run the gamut from quirky short numbers to sprawling epic tracks, all featuring intense instrumental playing in a progressive rock/free-form jazz/fusion format. Gowen and guitarist Phil Lee trade ripping solos regularly, and the nimble drum work of Mike Travis holds everything together as well as allows for space to show off. Songs like “You’re Disguised” and “Island of Rhodes” will appeal to fans of National Health with their reckless sense of abandon, while “One More End” is sure to bring a smile to the eye of any Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever lover.
Hearing the ultra-talented Alan Gowen on this CD, as well as on National Health’s Playtime, is as inspiring as it is sad, as the keyboard great passed away in the mid-80’s. Thankfully with these recent releases we can treasure his contributions to the Canterbury music scene for many years to come.