18 September 2018 (released)
18 September 2018
For me, one of the most striking features of the early ‘70’s Prog scene was the complete lack of rules: forget the anarchy of Punk, the anarchy of Prog in 1972 meant that a band such as Gryphon could make a go of it while playing medieval instruments and Elizabethan forms and mixing them with modern techniques and instruments.
The result is captivating and it is difficult to feel anything but charmed by some beautiful music .
This release of all the recordings on Transatlantic really shows the band at their best and most creative.
Most of the songs are either traditional or written by the infamous ‘Anon’ but there are songs written by Graeme Taylor and Brian Gulland and these fit seamlessly into the musical canon that is Gryphon.
In large part, the music is acoustic in nature but there is clever use of electronics to emphasise elements of the music and I didn’t feel at any time that this was any kind of slavish adherence to the originals – the band’s arrangements bring in modern guitars and drums alongside Crumhorns and Bassoons, harpsichords and Hammond organs sit together well and Pipe Organ features as well bringing a unique side to the music. This band is one of very few who have made the recorder an instrument worth listening to.
Gryphon were one of those rare bands whose music is genuinely unclassifiable: they crossed over folk and medieval, brought in elements of progressive explorations and did it all with a sense of gentle humour and earnest focus on the music. In the wrong hands this could have been coy and twee but Gryphon made their music fresh and alive and made the listener dig deep into the rhythms and cross-patterns.
Lovely stuff and a very worthy remaster – the sound quality is superb.