Friday, January 15, 2010

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Pictures at an Exhibition

7/10

This was the first of many of ELP's performances of Pictures to be released, and I think it's pretty damn good when it stays more or less faithful to the original. Unfortunately, there are far too many points where ELP made some truly decisions that range from "questionable" to "what the FUCK?"
Adding original lyrics to parts of such a famous classical piece was an incredibly audacious thing to do and it just doesn't work that well in most places. In addition, there are some sections which are just plain dull ("The Sage," an acoustic Lake section) or just plain difficult to listen to (some parts are basically synthesizer noises and nothing else). One of the more original parts that I liked was "Blues Variation," but then again, I'm a sucker for the Hammond. I did enjoy the entire "Baba Yaga" part, which is noisy but fun, and a great lead-in to "The Great Gates of Kiev," which really should have been the closer (nothing sounds good following that). Pictures is pretentious but fairly good fun, if you can get past a few dry spots.

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