Gnidrolog — ...In Spite of Harry's Toenail
(Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 2325, 1972/2012, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 1999-11-01
While Yes, King Crimson, ELP, and Genesis went on to considerable fame, there were a good number of English bands that didn’t fare so well as far as output goes, but were equally as innovative as these, if not more so. Names such as East of Eden, Gracious, and Marsupilami, come to mind, as does Gnidrolog, a short lived group who released this album and Lady Lake. Gnidrolog shows all the risk-taking and adventurous spirit that its peers had, creating unusual song structures that portrayed a juxtaposition of hyper-complex progressive rock and delicate and sophisticated folk songs. The album opens with the Van der Graaf like “Long Live Man Dead,” a powerful two-part suite. “Peter” is a folky interlude, a low that contrasts the following “Snails” very well. “Snails” is an amazing track, bringing Stewart Goldring’s excellent guitar playing to the fore. The angular nature of the melodies combined with the strange dissonant scaling and staggered and constantly changing rhythms help to make this track among the most original progressive rock pieces of the era. “Time and Space” is more delicately orchestrated, in the manner of later Gryphon, another track with a focus on the irregular time signature, which they apply to tremendous effect as the song progresses, building up to a tremendous finale. The short “Who Spoke” is crystalline and gentle, but very innovative structurally, it offsets the two-part title track that finishes the original album. This suite begins with the most conventional Gnidrolog song on the album, “Goodbye-Farewell-Adieu,” which is augmented by Stewart Goldring’s excellent guitar playing and moves through a number of phases, including a harmonica solo. Audio Archives has added four bonus tracks of studio recordings, all of which are from before the first album. These fit nicely with Toenail, and even show more of a tendency toward the long guitar solo, especially the two versions of “Sage of Smith and Smythe.” A welcome reissue, now that the band is back together, who knows what’s to come? This is one that keeps growing on you.
Related artist(s): Gnidrolog
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.