Saturday, November 29, 2014

Peter Banks Empire The Mars Tapes Gonzo 2014

Arguably one of the founding fathers of progressive rock, The Mars Tapes are rare recordings that showcase the cutting edge talent of Peter Banks Empire.
Brent Black /
Rare or lost recordings can be examined from multiple perspectives. Here we have a cameo from Phil Collins not to mention the historical perspective that Empire essentially opened the door for both Banks and Collins while setting the table for a musical genre that seems to have only grown over time. One can also look at the hypercritical perspective of just how good can a thirty something two disc set be from merely a technological point of view.
Sound and production are not an issue as both could stand up well against some of the material being released by progressive contemporaries today. Granted, a great deal of the recording came off the sound board and does include some technical anomalies however warts and all the sound is warm and the presentation is incredibly organic.
Both from an instrumental and vocal perspective, Empire was the embodiment of the constant evolution of a musical force that never received some of the credit they richly deserved in putting progressive or "art rock" front and center for a global audience.
Tracklist:Disc One
1. Out of Our Hands
2. Medley: (a) Foundation  (b) Destiny (c) Far Away
3. Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar and Grill
4. Do What You Want
5. Dancing Man
6. Where Yes Means No
Disc Two
1. Off With The King's Head
2. Something's Coming (West Side Story)
3. The Fall of The Empire
4. When The Banks Overflow
5. Ascending To The Planet Mars
6. Bonus Track - Sky at Night (featuring Phil Collins)