Tag Archive | ELP

Eye On Design: Keith Emerson’s Moog Synthesizer

Keith Emerson Moog Synthesizer
Photos By Gail

In the mid-1960s, electric music pioneer Robert Moog created modular synthesizers using transistor technologies. His early synths featured modules that generate and modify the pitch, timbre, and volume of sounds when connected, or “patched” by cables. This allowed for unprecedented control of sonic parameters but made it difficult to replicate the same sound twice. Moog’s inventions came to the attention of the rock world when they were demonstrated at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. The following year, Wendy Carlos’s album Switched-On Bach became the first chart-topping hit utilizing a Moog synthesizer. The instrument has its performance debut at a 1969 concert in the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, where Moog introduced a quartet of synthesizers built specifically for live events.

Inspired by Wendy Carlos, Keith Emerson of the then-new band Emerson, Lake and Palmer sought out one of the synthesizers that Robert Moog had built for the 1969 concert at MoMA. The band’s 1970 hit single, Lucky Man,” with an expansive Moog solo by Emerson, helped to establish the synthesizer as a lead instrument in popular music. Emerson collaborated with Moog to expand the synthesizer and optimize it for live performance, adding additional components and preset modules that recall sounds.

Hammond L-100 Organ with Moog Synthesizer
Installation View: Moog Synthesizer with Emerson’s Hammond L-100 Stunt Keyboard (Left

Photographed as Part of Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll, on Exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum Art in NYC Through October 1st, 2019.

Keith Emerson: 1944 – 2016

Keith Emerson Obit

Prog Rock Keyboard Legend and all-around Musical Genius, Keith Emerson, passed away last night, March 10th, 2016, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. My Obit  for Keith  up is now at Ink19 Dot Com.

Razor & Tie Re-Issues 3-Disc Sets of ELP’s Debut Album and Tarkus

ELP and Tarkus Covers

It is no secret that I am pretty sweet on the music of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I can’t really bring anything new to the party that wasn’t already said in the post hyperlinked above, so maybe go read that for some background on my obsession and them come back and rejoin us.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer are just a magical band to me. Even though I don’t revisit their music as often as I do, say, The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, I can’t find any fault with it. I understand that smell memory has the fullest power of transportation to the past, but when I listen to ELP I feel like I’m 12 years old, discovering their music for the first time on their three disc live album that had a tri-gatefold sleeve and a title much too long to type. There is nothing on earth quite like losing yourself in Keith Emerson’s Thor-meets-the Renaissance keyboard noodling, and when I hear Greg Lake sing songs about how “The Waters Rhine Taste of Wine” (“Stones of Years”) it makes my head explode. I have all their albums and several greatest hits packages and I cannot dispense with any of it. Because I am a huge Prog Rock Nerd.

Imagine, then, how hard I geeked out when I opened a package last week from Razor & Tie Records that contained three-disc reissues of ELP’s self-titled debut album and a reissue of the group’s sophomore album Tarkus — the one with the armadillo/tank hybrid on the cover. Wow, it was like Christmas in September! I got so excited, I immediately laid them out on my rug and took pictures of them for this post!

For other completist collector record geeks out there, here is what you’re getting with each of these deluxe editions, so you can make a judgement call on whether or not you need to own them:

  • Disc one is the original album with original track listing
  • Disc two contains alternate stereo mixes and unreleased bonus tracks
  • Disc three is a DVD Audio disc that contains new for 2012 5:1 Mixes and new Stereo Mixes, also previously unreleased

ELP and Tarkus Discs

Each set includes a color booklet with the track listings, lots of photos of the guys when they were young and hot, and lengthy historical liner notes by veteran British Rock Journalist Chris Welch. Three time Grammy-nominated producer and engineer Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) worked from the original Greg Lake produced multi-track tapes to remix both albums, so you already know that they sound amazing.

The 3-Disc Deluxe Sets of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Tarkus will be available wherever fine music is sold or downloaded on September 25th, 2012, but you can get pre-order information and find out to get all sorts of rare ELP swag by visiting This Link.

Complete Track Listings! 

 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer Deluxe Edition Track List:
Disc One: Original Album
1. The Barbarian
2. Take A Pebble
3. Knife-Edge
4. The Three Fates
i. Clotho ROYAL FESTIVAL
HALL ORGAN
ii. Lachesis PIANO SOLO
iii. Atropos PIANO SOLO
5. Tank
6. Lucky Man

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks (2012) THE ALTERNATE ELP NEW 2012 STEREO MIXES (Previously Unreleased)
1. The Barbarian
2. Take A Pebble
3. Knife Edge (with Extended Outro)
4. Promenade
5. The Three Fates: Atropos
6. Rave Up
7. Drum Solo
8. Lucky Man
Bonus Tracks:
9. Take A Pebble (Alternate Version)
10. Knife Edge (Alternate Version)
11. Lucky Man (First Greg Lake Solo Version)
12. Lucky Man (Alternate Version)

Disc Three: DVD Audio
NEW 2012 – 5.1 MIX (Previously Unreleased)

1. The Barbarian
2. Take A Pebble
3. Knife-Edge
4. The Three Fates: Atropos
5. Rave Up
6. Lucky Man

NEW HIGH RES 2012 STEREO MIXES (Previously Unreleased)
7. The Barbarian
8. Take A Pebble
9. Knife Edge (with Extended Outro)
10. Promenade
11. The Three Fates: Atropos
12. Rave Up
13. Drum Solo
14. Lucky Man
15. Take A Pebble (Alternate Version)
16. Knife Edge (Alternate Version)
17. Lucky Man (First Greg Lake Solo Version)
18. Lucky Man (Alternate Version)

Tarkus Deluxe Edition Track List: Disc One: Original Album
1. Tarkus
i. Eruption
ii. Stones Of Years
iii. Iconoclast
iv. Mass
v. Manticore
vi. The Battlefield
vii. Aquatarkus
2. Jeremy Bender
3. Bitches Crystal
4. The Only Way (Hymn)
5. Infinite Space (Conclusion)
6. A Time And A Place
7. Are You Ready Eddy?

Disc Two: The Alternate Tarkus 2012 Stereo Mixes
1. Tarkus
2. Eruption
3. Stones Of Years
4. Iconoclast
5. Mass
6. Manticore
7. The Battlefield
8. Aquatarkus
9. Jeremy Bender
10. Bitches Crystal
11. The Only Way (Hymn)
12. Infinite Space (Conclusion)
13. A Time And A Place
14. Are You Ready Eddy?
15. Oh, My Father
16. Unknown Ballad
17. Mass (Alternate Take)

Disc Three: DVD Audio

New 2012 5.1 Mixes
1. Tarkus
2. Eruption
3. Stones Of Years
4. Iconoclast
5. Mass
6. Manticore
7. The Battlefield
8. Aquatarkus
9. Jeremy Bender
10. Bitches Crystal
11. The Only Way (Hymn)
12. Infinite Space (Conclusion)
13. A Time And A Place
14. Are You Ready Eddy?
15. Oh My Father

2012 Stereo Mixes
16. Tarkus
17. Eruption
18. Stones Of Years
19. Iconoclast
20. Mass
21. Manticore
22. The Battlefield
23. Aquatarkus
24. Jeremy Bender
25. Bitches Crystal
26. The Only Way (Hymn)
27. Infinite Space (Conclusion)
28. A Time And A Place
29. Are You Ready Eddy?
30. Oh My Father
31. Unknown Ballad
32. Mass

Come and See the Show: The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Come and See the Show ELP CD Cover

Emerson, Lake & Palmer are one of those favorite bands from my youth that, like The Beatles or Queen, I can pretty much talk about forever. For all the overblown pomp and ceremony that defined 1970s Progressive Rock, few bands dished it out bigger or better than the “super group” trio known as ELP. Keith Emerson (formerly of The Nice) broke all kinds of ground with the use of keyboards – organ in particular – in rock music, being responsible for greater innovation than any other musician of his ilk save for perhaps Rick Wakeman. Greg Lake, bassist and vocalist, had previously lent his impressive and wildly fluid voice to the first two King Crimson albums. On the drums, ELP had a percussive force of nature in Carl Palmer. One of the first rock drummers to tackle a massive kit, Palmer surely influenced the showmanship of renowned players from Terry Bozzio to Tommy Lee and Mike Portnoy. While they haven’t necessarily maintained household name status, for a sizable chunk of the seventies ELP enjoyed global popularity – and deservedly so.

In the context of what’s going on musically today, ELP’s often-bombastic musical scenarios are undeniably identifiable with seventies Arena Rock excess, while their roots in classical composition allow them to remain oddly timeless, and therefore totally accessible. Quite a feat, if you ask me. I never get tired of listening to their music, which is why it was such a nice surprise to recently find an ELP collection in my mailbox. Originally released in 2008, the 14-song, single disc retrospective, Come and See the Show: The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer was just re-released by Razor & Tie as part of a catalog licensing deal that will see the label re-issue expanded and remastered versions of the group’s first six albums over the next year. Bring it on!

The disc kicks off with the song whose lyrics give the CD its title, “Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression – Part 2.” Arguably ELP’s best-known song – or the song they are best-known for“Karn Evil 9” takes its own little journey, as Greg Lake’s post-apocalyptic carnival barker hawks the greatest sideshow “In Heaven, Hell or Earth” – promising “sights to make you drool” including Jesus conjured magically from a hat and “Rows of Bishop’s Heads in Jars.” I’m there! Of course, when Lake declares, “You gotta see the show / It’s Rock ‘n’ Roll!” he reminds his audience that ELP are basically singing about themselves. Come and See the Show, indeed.

If ever a band could be said to have written the soundtrack to The Church of Rock & Roll, ELP’s music is (for some at least) akin to a religious experience: from the bone chilling organ fugue of “Knife-Edge” to the trio’s epic re-working of the traditional English hymn “Jerusalem.” They were also the first band to successfully meld two seemingly disparate musical genres. As an interpreter of the classical tradition, Emerson’s pop hook-laden keyboard arrangements made modern day classical compositions such as Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Hoedown,” and Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera’s “Toccata” accessible to a rock audience.

But for all its musical sturm und drang, ELP weren’t just about “blowing your head apart.” The group also recorded many of the most gorgeous ballads of the prog rock era, and a few of their best are on this disc. The baroque, arabesque flourishes of the transcendent, aching lament “C’est La Vie” and the lush acoustic guitar / hand percussion arrangements of the ridiculously romantic “From The Beginning” are a gazillion miles away thematically from the chaotic aural battle ground of a piece like “Toccata.” It’s almost hard to believe the same band recorded these two songs.

While it would have been fun to have “Love Beach” – the title song from the band’s most misunderstood album – included, the only really perplexing omission is the absence of “Karn Evil 9: First Impression, Pt. 1,” which firmly sets that suite’s end-of-days tone before segueing seamlessly into part two’s signature mix of exhilaration and foreboding. As essential to a completist seventies rock collection as any Queen or Alice Cooper album, Come & See The Show is a nearly-flawless introduction to ELP’s particularly dynamic and versatile brand of progressive rock, and something cool to throw on the iPod if you already own the band’s catalog.

Grade: A+

Track Listing:

1. “Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression – Part 2”
2. “Lucky Man”
3. “From the Beginning”
4. “Knife-Edge”
5. “Hoedown (Taken From Aaron Copland’s Ballet, Rodeo)”
6. “Jerusalem”
7. “C’est La Vie”
8. “Still…You Turn Me On”
9. “Tank”
10. “Fanfare For the Common Man”
11. “Toccata”
12. “Peter Gunn”
13. “Nutrocker”
14. “I Believe In Father Christmas”

Emerson, Palmer and Lake

Left to Right: Emerson, Palmer and Lake

Carl Palmer Drum Solos DVD Review By Gail!

If you are old like me, and remember watching prog rock gods Emerson, Lake & Palmer perform “Karn Evil 9” at the California Jam back in the stone ages (1974), then you’ll also remember that during his infamous extended-dance-re-mix-version of a drum solo, Carl Palmer played part of his kit with his teeth. Rock & Roll! Carl recently released his first instructional drum DVD entitled Carl Palmer: Drum Solos, where you can see that very solo played back at four different speeds, and my review of that DVD is up now at Ink19 Dot Com!

Happy Birthday, Carl Palmer!

Carl Palmer Kit 1974
Carl Palmer on His Massive Kit, Circa 1974 (Image Source)

Carl Palmer, drummer for Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia was born on this day March 20th, in 1950. Carl has a new instructional DVD out called Carl Palmer, Drum Solos which features a note-for-note transcription of the entire “Karn Evil 9” drum solo from the 1974 California Jam concert, so you know I’m looking forward to reviewing that for The Gig in upcoming weeks. Happy Birthday, Carl!

Happy Birthday, Greg Lake!


“And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times Walk Upon England’s Mountains Green?” (Image Source)

Greg Lake, legendary prog rock bassist (Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson) and one of my favorite vocalists of all time, was born in this day, November 10th, in 1947! Happy Birthday, Greg!

Emerson Lake & Palmer: "Karn Evil 9"

Keyboard wizard and all-around musical genius Keith Emerson celebrates his Birthday today, having been born on November 2nd, 1944. This video is so much fun! What a great fucking song, and look how thin Greg Lake was! The 70s were Awesome. Happy Birthday, Keith!

HR Giger Alien Wedding Cake!


“I Now Pronounce You Alien and Host”

A half a dozen years after Swiss surrealist HR Giger designed the cover art for Emerson Lake & Palmer’s 1973 prog rock opus, Brain Salad Surgery, he increased his profile greatly with a little gig designing the title creatures for a sci-fi flick called Alien. Now, the chest-burster Aliens from that film’s pivotal early scene meet delicious pastry in the form of the HR Giger-inspired Wedding Cake. The picture above really says it all: a brilliant creation, and it’s probably delicious as well!

Cake by Jet City Cakes

Thanks to Neatorama for the Tip!

Happy Birthday, Keith Emerson!

Keith Emerson
Emerson With One of His ‘70s-era Moog Synthesizers

Keith Emerson, keyboardist for prog-rock legends, Emerson, Lake & Palmer was born on this day, November 2nd in 1944! Brain Salad Surgery is still one of my favorite albums of all time! Happy Birthday Keith!