Thursday, March 29, 2012

Genesis – Nursery Cryme

The searching for style is often the most creative period in the life of an artist. Similarly with the searching for methods in the work of the researcher, both are trying to find the most reliable path to goal. Those two areas of activity are not significantly different, because both regards the truth and for both beauty is the result of the truth had been attained. Before English progressive rock group Genesis started to play in its best lineup, style of the group was changing even more frequently than the band itself. Starting from the positions of baroque pop, through folk and historic stylizations group found the way to their own vision of progressive rock. Breaking point and definition of new style was Nursery Cryme, the third album of the group recorded in August 1971 in Trident Studios – the same place as earlier Trespass – this time it was the only studio in Great Britain working with 16-track recorder. And this gave more space for building complicated harmonic and rhythmic structures. anksCreating complicated compositions, experimenting with various ideas and methods for building narration in rock song, musicians of progressive rock genre were primarily afraid of the simplicity. Progrock of this era couldn’t be too much complex or difficult. 
The moment for recording the new album was high. After last personnel change passed more than half of a year. From first lineup still were present three musicians, Peter Gabriel singing and playing flute, keyboardist Tony Banks and bassist and guitarist Mike Rutherford. The quintet was augmented with two new musicians. In August 1970 band started new drummer Phil Collins and in January 1971 Genesis hired new guitarist Steve Hackett. Both were gifted musicians and both had great expectations to play challenging music. This was the moment Genesis has full possibilities to create every style they want. They focused on progressive rock and shortly became classical group sharing the scene with King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant and Pink Floyd. Group was not a monolith and every musician has his own vision of music. This became clear when Gabriel and Hackett leave the band and started solo careers. 

Genesis – Nursery Cryme (1971)

First song of the album, The Musical Box is extended narrative composition with instrumental episodes in the middle parts of composition and in the coda. They were made in different way than in earlier Genesis’ songs. The idea was based on Victorian fairy tale about girl and boy in country house. Playing croquet Cynthia removed Henry’s head with the mallet. After two weeks she found Henry’s musical box. Running it to play Old King Cole melody she made Henry reappeared. Small boy figure began rapidly ageing and feeling desire Henry tried to persuade Cynthia sexual intercourse. At this point nurse came and seeing small bearded figure throws instinctualy a music box killing both. In Gabriel’s lyrics songs starts in the moment Henry asks Cynthia to play the song so he can join with her. Instrumental solos doesn’t seem too bright at first sight but this is not jazz kind of soloing and musicians have no intention to display their creative potential but making corresponding background for the story.
First song was clearly the exposition of bands esthetics. Cover of the album shows girl with crocquet mallet, nurse speeding on Victorian roller scates and children’s heads scattered over the cricket playground. Peter Gabriel, who sung lead vocals on Nursery Cryme, is perfect as well as an actor and dramatic texts interpreter as musician. Elegiac song For Absent Friends has been sung by Gabriel backing by Phil Collins for whom it was his singing debut. Second exposure was The Return of the Giant Hogweed – song which is the apocalyptic vision of the expansion of plants imported by Victorian naturalists from Russia to Royal Gardens of Kew. This piece shows specific sense of humour and the will to express much more than it was announced on Genesis’ first two albums. 

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