You insert the disc into the CD unit and press "play." The first thing you hear is solitary and lonely electronic whistling. After several seconds the whistling is punctuated by short, abrupt bursts of piano and bongos. The whistle begins to spiral downward. All three sounds then dance excitedly around each other, like a cat & mouse game, leading up to a sprinting tandem of piano, organ, drums and bass.This could be the soundtrack for a Merry Melodies cartoon, but there are no cartoon characters here - you have entered the ELP zone. Emerson, Lake & Palmer are animated alright. But cartoonish they are not, and what youíve just heard - the intro to part 1 of "The Endless Enigma", the first song of their fourth album, Trilogy is only one example of the musical cinema the band creates.
ELPís music could well be described as grandiose, but they are versatile. Their particular magic includes a balance between the raucous and the gentle, as illustrated by the previously described opening (and the rest of that song), and by the sandwiching of the hauntingly pretty ballad "From the Beginning" between "The Endless Enigma (part 2)" and "The Sheriff", which are majestic and giddy, respectively. Also, the title song opens as a beautiful piano ballad and segues into a theatrical storm, sounding like a blending of a rock & roll carnival and something from a Broadway Musical. Greg Lakeís guitars and Carl Palmerís percussion are necessary to make the sound whole, but Keith Emersonís various keyboards are the dominant instrumentation. It isnít a battle for prominence, though -itís three extraordinarily talented musicians complementing each other, and theyíve made this CD well worth investing your time and money in.
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