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Wakeman, Rick - Six Wives of Henry VIII - 7/10

Wakeman, Rick - Journey to the Centre of the Earth - 7/10

Wakeman, Rick - The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (75) - 8/10
This is a rock opera based on the legend of King Arthur. The style is quite similar to that of Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The English Chamber Choir and a full orchestra are used. The two solo vocalists have wonderful voices, but are a little out of tune sometimes. Most importantly, Rick Wakeman's uniquely-sounding keyboards are heard throughout the record. The presence of an orchestra brings to mind the band Renaissance. The best parts are influenced by medieval music, whilst some of the less interesting parts sound more like piano ballads. But the good parts by far outnumber the bad parts, and parts of the record sound absolutely brilliant. Highly recommended to fans of medieval music (like me). And, of course, it comes recommended to those who enjoyed Wakeman's earlier works. If you haven't heard any of Wakeman's solo work yet - you should.

Wyatt, Robert - Rock Bottom (74) - 8.5/10
Soft Machine's former drummer and vocalist. To understand this record, you probably have to know the tragical story of it. Wyatt fell out of a window in '72 and became paralysed. After this, he spent a year in hospital where all he did was playing the piano and preparing for this record. The atmosphere isn't particularly bright, nor melancholic really. "Desperately sad" and "close to insane" are perhaps the best descriptions. Notable is the absence of "sharp edges"; the music flows almost ambiently, full of strange chords. Different musicians star in the six tracks. Wyatt's vocals are in every track, as is some sort of synth sound which I don't think I've heard before - strange, since it sounds fantastic. "Little Red Riding Hood Hit the Road" contains what sounds like ten saxophones playing whatever they want on top of a fast-paced rhythm, synth and piano. Seven minutes of outstanding music! It's not to be confused with "Little Red Robin Hood Hit the Road", which concludes the record. Here, Mike Oldfield's guitar suddenly appears, and gives a good example of what I mean by "desperately sad". Overall, I guess that this record gives a good impression of what Wyatt felt like after his accident. There should have been an exclamation mark after the last sentence. It could be too sad and tragic for some, but then, perhaps not. Rock Bottom is as far from indifferent music as one can come. Close to essential.