With Relf on guitar and vocals, McCarty on drums and supplemented by bassist Louis Cennamo , pianist John Hawken and Relf's sister Jane Relf as an additional vocalist, they succeeded very well to blend all those different styles on a well-sounding album.
You can hear that the piano playing by the classical trained John Hawken has been slightly influenced by classical masters like Bach. They make excellent use of varied rhythms and musical light and shade.
The musical style on these albums became very successful. The voice of Jane Relf more or less resembles Annie Haslam's voice on the aforementioned albums. Not as good, but yet strong enough to keep the attention which also applies for the strong compositions. The bonus tracks are interesting enough either, in this case the A- and B-side of a single release.
However, Island and flip side The Sea never got much airplay and thus never reached the charts. What struck me most after listening to the debut album? Well, the music is quite similar to the music on the albums recorded by Illusion. That's not strange at all, since Out Of The Mist and Illusion were recorded by the complete line-up - minus Keith Relf - that also recorded Renaissance's debut album. RIFF-it good. Add Comment. Africa 2. Ashes Are Burning 3. Black Flame 4.
Bound for Infinity 5. Captive Heart 6. Carpet of the Sun 7. Forever Changing 8. Island 9. Love Goes On Love Is All The concept sounds less off-key than it is, and my gut feeling is less critical than my mind about both the strange bridge and the Beethoven, er, 'inspiration' , simply because it in total is quite monolithic. Island has its focus on loveliness. Louis Cennamo is pretty restrained here as John Hawken takes the role as the 'counterpointer'.
The instrumental part is a serial connection of fragments from Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata. The negative aspect, comparing this with the Moonlight Sonata part in Innocence : more longer quotations and more sudden fragments without nice bridging passages. But the positive aspect: more band interaction.
And that's inventive band interaction with rapid bass runs, swinging drums and vocal melodies which surely weren't part of the original Beethoven composition. Since there are not many felicitous rock adaptations of the Pathetique, again it is difficult for me to run that part down. The only thing which annoys me is that Herr Beethoven isn't credited anywhere; I don't like that. Wanderer , for a change, begins with the instrumental part and ends on the song part of it; it benefits quite a lot from Hawken's in-your-face sound achieved by double-tracking the cembalo and piano.
The instrumental part is too jazzy in its main motif to be yet another classic quotation and the way how the band moves to and fro from more of these fast J. Bach- Invention -ish scales to medieval harpsichord fanfares - without that polyphonic stuff - and back to constructions not unlike Bach's Brandenburger Concerto does make an impression on me. Evil-minded people might suggest that the vocal part is only accompanied by the cembalo because the guitarist could not play it on the guitar.
Yes, the harpsichord sounds as midrange-biased as a harshly recorded string guitar, and yes, Keith Relf is neither pretty active as a guitarist on this album nor an outstanding guitarist, but the solo in Kings and Queen is too tasteful for a sub-par guitarist to compose and play. The minor-key vocal part sounds like an ancient British madrigal because the percussion section is reduced to the tambourine and due to the dark cembalo, plus a very special detail.
At the end of the verses Jim McCarty adds some fairly quiet, but effective strokes on the bell of the crash cymbal. It's not a lot, but the piece would be less haunting without it. Now back to the 'heady' part again. Bullet is megalomaniac, without a question. The harmonic frame of Bullet is pretty simple and there's a lot of soloing around, but it never becomes boring.
I mean, the vocals are distorted, too. It might be because my CD version is pretty old, but it rather sounds like the singer is in total frenzy. Around Rachmaninov slowly metamorphoses into Bartok with a pretty free-form drum backing and arhythmic piano clusters. Next, Cennamo plays a three minute unaccompanied bass solo, and he simply plays the bass guitar as if it was a mandolin: the rapid tremolo and the full chords he plays all the way through create tension quite similar to Soft Machine's Facelift intro.
Quite like a boss, in a way. Although he plays some little baroque piano pieces on the bass guitar, the attitude is as anarchic as many of the better jazz recordings are. And at the place where you'd expect the next piano vamp or a big explosion the band carefully deconstruct the tension in a three minute vocal part with creepy falsetto tones played through loads of reverb devices with increasingly loud tape hiss.
Kudos to Mr. Samwell-Smith, the ex-Yardbird who produced the band. Right now, as I am writing this, I ask myself: what could I criticize about this track?
Frankly, I don't quite know. Maybe the bass solo could have been a tad shorter, after all it's more than three minutes long, but the self-assurance of the band is infectious: those who can play and who know a frame can also afford doing this stuff and forcing the listener to stay through the whole track.
They were pretty successful in this case. While writing this review I had to relativise my objections to the classical parts quite a lot, which moves this album quite close to the 5 star territory. There are just so many unexpectedly successful experiments, beautiful melodies, mind-blowing arrangements and this punky rawness which most of the classically influenced rock albums don't have except for The Nice, of course. Regarding the year when this stuff was recorded this is an accomplishment which needs to be acknowledged adequately.
Still, a really strong 4 star rating feels better this time, I don't quite know why. Remember that it might as well be 5 stars and get the album, favorably the expanded reissue - it's historically relevant and damn entertaining. Highly recommendable! Basically, the strength of Renaissance mk-i is the music, especially their mix of genres and the way the musicians play. Whereas, the strength of Renaissance mk-ii is the vocals.
I can see where there is potential to offend fans of Jane Relf with what I just said, but the thing that stands out to me immediately in Renaissance mk-i is the music. They are much more heavily influenced by 60s American psychedelic rock and play with a lot more bounce and energy in general than the Dunford-led mk-ii also a much greater reliance on syncopation.
I can see why they would appeal a lot more to fans of 70s prog rock generally while it takes a measure of patience with folk-classical pretensions to enjoy mk-ii. Indeed, some fans of mk-i describe the original Renaissance as a band of and for hippies.
However, this romantic association with flower power is perhaps not entirely accurate. Make no mistake, mk-i does still have its similarities with mk-ii. I don't know about the views of ex-members of mk-i on this but members of mk-ii have at times referred to the new band as more a continuation of the original one than a clean break.
This is most evident in the role of piano in mk-i. As in mk-ii, it is the dominant instrument rather than guitar. There is also the tendency to break into long sections of music that get pretty close to outright classical quotations. On the more vocal-oriented tracks Island and Wanderer, the music serves as a rousing intro before giving way to a fairly generic verse-chorus routine. Again, pretty much like mk-ii, except mk-i run all this through a rock filter.
So, make no mistake, guitars do play a much more prominent role on this album than on any mk-ii album and are quite frankly a lot more delicious.
Maybe I notice this especially now because I have been listening to a lot of guitar driven rock lately but it is yet another aspect that would appeal to 70s prog rock fans in general and can be immediately recognised as germane to that 'sound'. On mini-epics Kings and Queens and Innocence, this version of Renaissance pretty comprehensively distinguish themselves as compared to mk-ii.
From a left brained prog geek point of view, Kings and Queens is a delight, possessing quite an appetite for unorthodox and bold choices while remaining piano oriented. This band may not space out their instrumental sections and play them so affectionately but for cerebral interest, Kings and Queens beats out Trip to the fair or Touching Once or you name it. Of course, it's all just my opinion. What doesn't carry so well, for me anyway, is the vocals, especially those of Keith Relf.
I can relate to them from a 60s rock perspective but if I had to listen to 60s rock, I would much rather listen to a Jim Morrison than this kind of singing. It doesn't matter so much because about two-thirds of the album is more about the music than the singing. But it just holds back these tracks from standing out from the crowd a little more. As for Jane Relf, she readily evokes female rock vocals of the era and it is understandable, again, why fans of 70s prog would take to her style.
As for me, I am indifferent; she sounds pleasant while she sings and There are moments of really nice singing here and there but I am not sure I would listen to an album just because it has Jane's vocals on it. Again, being that I am more interested in the music on this album, it doesn't really matter. I have to admit that circa , I find this album an enjoyable affair but not especially engaging or notable for my personal interests.
But I do have to consider the release date and observe that it is a pretty remarkable album for one dating back to The eponymous Renaissance debut is already full fledged prog. There's nothing proto about this and would qualify as prog even if it had been released in With that in mind and out of gratitude for nearly 40 minutes worth of rocking, I rate it a 4.
Although this album isn't as fantastic as what would come it is certainly not one to ignore either. Renaissance is a progressive rock band that emerged from the ashes of The Yardbirds, a band mostly known as the starting point of three of the best British rock guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.
However, the history of Renaissance is essentially the history of two separate groups with two completely different line ups.
The original group was founded in by the ex-Yardbirds members, the drummer Jim McCarthy and the vocalist and guitarist Keith Relf. With the addition of the keyboardist John Hawken, the bassist Louis Cennamo and the singer Jane Relf, the sister of Keith, the group was completed.
The first line up of the group released only two studio albums, this debut album "Renaissance" and the following second, "Illusion". Their self titled debut working has mixed influences of rock, folk and jazz with some frequent quotations from various pieces of classical music. Despite be a very good album, it's quite an embryonic album compared to their classic albums from the 70's, the albums of the second line up.
So, "Renaissance" is the debut studio album of Renaissance and was released in The first track "Kings And Queens" is the opening track that clearly proves what will be the personal landmark of the future band's music. It's a long and complex song heavily influenced by the classical music and where its musical structure would be relevant on their later musical compositions.
It's a song extremely very well constructed, very melodious and at the same time very dynamic. It's without any kind of doubt a truly progressive song, very beautiful and represents probably the best musical moment on the album. The second track "Innocence" is a much simpler musical composition than the previous song.
Its musical structure is different from their debut track and it's more influenced by the psychedelic sound of the 60's than by the classical music. It's a very good song again centred on Hawken's piano work and Keith's vocals and guitar workings, and it has an interesting and typical psychedelic guitar playing from the 60's. The third track "Island" is another beautiful and melodic song and represents also one of the best musical moments on the album and is also one of my favourites.
It's again an acoustic guitar and piano based song with great melody and where this time the main vocal duties goes to Jane, despite it has also a male vocal performance.
It's true that Jane isn't Annie Haslam but she sings beautifully and she can also reach the high notes. The fourth track "Wanderer" is another fantastic song, this time more close to the medieval sound. Here we can listen to the beautiful sound of harpsichord and where Jane is once more fantastic and unforgettable with her high octave notes.
This is, in my humble opinion, one of her best vocal performances. Despite being the shortest song on the album, it represents also one of the best and one of my favourite musical moments on it.
The fifth and last track "Bullet" is a completely different song from the others. It's a moody and darker track, very long and influenced by different musical styles that ranging from rock, blues and psychedelic music. The musical composition of this song is performed in avant- garde music style with several musical explorations of different sounds. It's a song where we can clearly see a great appetite for free musical improvisation, an ideal track to be performed live with some individual solos.
I think this is a track with high and low points and sincerely it's my less favourite song on the album and it's probably the main reason that I don't consider this album a masterpiece. Conclusion: I know Renaissance since the 70's. All these albums are from their second and better known line up.
So, unfortunately I ignored the original line up for too much. Finally, some time ago, I bought the first two albums of the original Renaissance and I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised with them. So, now I'm ready to say that, although I prefer the second line up of the group, both are great.
In relation to this previous debut album I need to say that we are in presence of a great album. So, it's difficult for me to say which of the two albums, the first one was.
However, for me, about one thing I'm sure. Both albums introduced radically new musical ideas and both were responsible for the birth of progressive rock.
Prog is my Ferrari. I was realy attracted by the cover of this record: I had to have this one on vinyl. This was no mistake: this is far more obscure in it's sound then the later Scheherazade and other records in that period. This early prog does still sound a bit psychedelic, while it's also a blend of classical A classic album of progressive rock The first album was then conceived as a masterpiece, fusing classical music with rock. The piano provides the context for this classic album and percussion progressive context, accompanied by a melodious female voice.
You're now in slide show mode. Forgot password? Keep me signed in. Your email? The email you used to create your account. The last part of your Myspace URL. Ex: myspace. Facebook Twitter Email. Full Name? Most people use their real name. Select Gender? This helps us keep people, musicians and brands searchable on Myspace.Sep 21, · PAL/Region 0. This DVD features two different line ups of Renaissance. The first two clips come from German TV and feature the original line up performing the tracks Kings And Queens and Island. These are the only known performances captured on film of the original line up performing live albeit in a TV naheasontelifa.puttvabwallveponcisolezytofouli.cos: 5.