Thursday, 26 June 2014

Tarkus (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1971)

Considered as the quintessence of prog, in both positive and negative senses, the suite "Tarkus", filling the A side of the second ELP's album, is one of those tracks a prog fan must face sooner or later. I did it sooner and I was deceived, then I came back later and I loved it. Propbably you need to be in the right mood to accept the tricky arrangements, the virtuosities and the improbable lyrics about the armadillo-tank Tarkus: his Birth from a volcano, his battles against three monsters and the final mutation in an Aquatarkus. But if you dare to play this track's intro, you'll likely listen to it until its last note.

This is Tarkus as imagined by the painter William Neal. 

And you'll be right: this suite is a magic well full of ideas, musical inventions and, most of all, free rock music. I mean it: ELP and this track represent the freedom and the curiosity prog rock was born for. Take Greg Lake's unexpected acid guitar, or Keith Emerson's organ progressions and strange keyboard effects, or the broken march tempos Carl Palmer conjures up. Musical materials enough for a dozen albums, I daresay. And not even a second of rest. Be brave and face such a musical adventure!