Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ovary Lodge - 1973 - Ovary Lodge

Ovary Lodge
Ovary Lodge

01. First Born
 Mountain Temple Spring
02. Part 1: Amethyst, Gold And Royal Blue (My Way Of Saying Thank You)
03. Part 2: A Frail White Butterfly, Beneath The Spell Of Moon Is Sleeping On The Huge Bronze Bell (Buson)
04. Tropic Of Capricorn
05. Come On In
06. Nursery Rhyme
07. Sylphs In Pisces

 Composed By – Perry (tracks: 1 - 3, 7), Tippett (tracks: 1, 3, 5- 7), Babbington (tracks: 1, 5, 7)

Piano – Keith Tippett (tracks: 1, 3, 5 - 7)
Bass – Roy Babbington (tracks: 1, 5, 7)
Percussion – Frank Perry (tracks: 1 - 3, 7)

Producer – Robert Fripp

Here is the first of the two Ovary Lodge records released, This was out on RCA in 1973 and rereleased on cd in 1999. I have the lp, but comparing it to the cd version, I would have to conclude that the background noise and pops/clicks are a little less noticeable on this version. One can hear that it is sourced from an lp, particularly in the quiet passages, of which there are many, indicating that the master tapes may have got lost in the mentime. The second Ovary Lodge came out on Ogun a few years later with Harry Miller replacing Roy Babbington and adding Julie Tippetts. That one is fairly easy to get  on cd, though the initial lp release is out of print. But as I understand, even the cd release of the first one may be hard to find.

This first one came two years after Tippett's mammoth Centipede ensemble with 50 plus players and one year after Tippett went to the other extreme with the closeted, chamber-like Blueprint with roughly the same small group of musicians featured here and Ovary Lodge is very much a follow-up to Blueprint. This new one was fully improvised, as Tppett informed us, and all acoustic with no electronics, as producer Robert Fripp added.

Reading some reviews, it seems quite apparent that for critics coming out of the jazz-prog-fusion intersection, this one was outside the comfort zone, especially for those who associated Tippett with his contribution to King Crimson records (with producer Robert Fripp being the obvious link). What we get here are two trio pieces at the beginning and end. In between there are a couple of piano solos and several pieces exploring space and silence, getting into some very quiet and intimate dynamics, even sounding vaguely meditative at points. This record, the Mutant Souds blog informs us, made the NWW (Nurse With Wound) list, a list which has been a sort of holy grail of obscure gems. The fellow at Allmusic finds this record to be challenging and one supposes, rewarding. Yes, I would think so, too.

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