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Judge Smith - Orfeas (CD)

Genre: Rock/Experimental
Release Date: 26th March 2012

Label: Masters Of Art
Catalogue Number: MASTER106
Price: £9.99
Available: In stock

Judge Smith - Orfeas

Judge's third Songstory is a retelling of the ancient myth of Orpheus, the magical musician who travels to the Land of the Dead in search of the lost Eurydice. Orfeas features John 'Fury' Ellis, David Jackson & Lene Lovich, and the following cast of performers: Gigi Cavalli Cocchi, René van Commenée, Dorie Jackson, David Minnick, Ben Nation, Ricardo Odriozola, Marco Olivotto, 'Black Path', Bert Santilly, David Shaw-Parker & Judge Smith. Orfeas is performed by seven separate ensembles, playing entirely different kinds of music, including Rock Band, String Sextet, Mediterranean Guitar, Classic Trance and Death Metal. The CD has 34 Tracks and a running time of 77'42"

1. Act One - Hamartia - The Bard - One
2. Rundown Rudi
3. Soliloquy
4. Seven Yard Promenade
5. Interview - One
6. Orphic Lullaby
7. Soliloquy - Two
8. Wolfman George
9. Soliloquy - Three
10. Act Two - Anagnorisis - The Bard - Two
11. Soliloquy - Four
12. In-Flight Movie - One
13. Orfeas and Eurydice - One
14. In-Flight Movie - Two
15. In Hell - One
16. Carpet of Bones
17. In Hell - Two
18. In-Flight Movie - Three
19. Orfeas and Eurydice - Two
20. The Crab Nebula
21. Orfeas and Eurydice - Three
22. Orfeas Audition
23. Don't Look Back
24. In-Flight Movie - Four
25. Act Three - Peripeteia
26. Interview - Two
27. Fishin' In The Styx
28. Soliloquy - Five
29. Don't Deafen Me, Persephone
30. The Bard - Three
31. Soliloquy - Six
32. Catastrophe in Czecho
33. An Announcement
34. Tear Him Asunder
35. The Bard - Four


 Review: Review from Israel



Gonzo 2012

An ancient Greek hero as a Wembley-straddling guitar hero: a VAN DER GRAAF originator twists the myth with much verve and imagination.


Lurking in Peter Hammill’s shadow, Judge Smith is no less adept with a word and a tune, a string of albums and stage productions under his belt, so his “songstories” gained a certain following which is bound to grow after this, the British veteran’s third one. To see Orpheus in the modern spotlight is, perhaps, not that original an idea but to project a dilemma of an artist, who has to deliver his crowd-pleasing money-making hits while longing for creation of something, on the famous “to hell and back” anabasis – where a glance behind one’s shoulder means losing the Muse – is interesting move, indeed. That’s all theory, yet Smith shaped it in practice as a rock opera, a tag that Judge’s quite unwilling to apply, even though one can see similarities between his protagonist being unwell and staying at the hotel instead of playing a big festival and Pink in “The Wall”, but there’s more experimentation in the George Orfeas near-death experience.

Great librettist as he is, Smith makes unnoticed the absence of rhymes on most of the songs as well as the melodies and recital unison, a result of speech transformation into music so gripping feel the story’s peripeties and so strong is delivery – in a broad variety of genres – which involves Lene Lovich plus, in instrumental compartment, another VDGG alumnus David Jackson on brass and guitarist John Ellis, formerly with THE VIBRATORS and THE STRANGLERS. Of course, idiosyncrasy reigns o’er the proceedings, but it’s of a tasty kind with Judge as an arresting rhapsode backed by a fantastic band who bend “Seven Yard Promenade” into a classic sax-oiled rhythm-and-blues piece in Act One and don a death metal group masks in dry metal of Act Two’s “Carpet Of Bones”, a thematic relative of “Carpet Crawlers”, and “Tear Him Asunder” from Act Three.

There’s even a power ballad here, “Orphic Lullaby”, whereas “Orfeas’ Audition” rides an orchestra-drench twang. Less seriously, “Wolfman George” parodies a famous riff in swinging fashion of a Zappa canon, “In-Flight Movie” comes on in a disco inferno form, and “The Crab Nebula” glides on lounge electronica – all organic, even the Mediterranean fusion and rap of “Don’t Deafen Me, Persephone” or theatricality of Smith and Lovich duets in “Orfeas and Eurydice”.

An immersive tale that’s never boring and bearing a happy end – not to everyone’s taste yet daring in its scope and fun to listen to – “Orfeas” might be Judge’s best work yet.


 Review: JUDGE SMITH: Another great review for Orfeas

Artist: Judge Smith

Album: Orfeas

Label: AIS

Tracks: 34

Type: LP

Release Date: April 3, 2012

Discs: 1

Rating: 4.05 (out of 4.00)


Also Contains:

32 page booklet with articles, the full text (and you'll want the text) and around 30 photographs, most specially commissioned and not available on-line, and it comes in a heavy-duty 'super jewel-case' box. ~J.S. Official Site

Orpheus is quite literally a rock opera, retelling the ancient Greek tale of Orfeas, the magical musician who traveled to the land of the dead in search of the lost Eurydice. In Smith’s version Orfeas is a rockstar of sorts whose ability to play the guitar is unrivaled and throughout the album you get various doses of guitar styles from flamenco musings serving as the voice of introduction to other instruments mimicking voice overs during faux interviews, it’s actual quite bizarre yet brilliant.
Judge Smith isn’t alone in his mission to reproduce the ancient Greek tragedy, the production has about sixteen players in all, each playing their own instrument, some of who formerly played alongside Smith in his 70’s Progressive Rock band Van Der Graaf Generator. It’s simply a huge production that runs the gamut of styles from Death Metal to Rock to Classical. It truly is a strange album which runs a contrast with so many different musical idea’s, like the silliness of Frank Zappa to the dark ominous theatrical side of Pink Floyd. With each tune your never quite sure what your going to get, but by the end your pretty sure you’ve just witnessed something insanely good. As always final judgment is yours. Enjoy.

 Review: Judge Smith review

Judge Smith

Orfeas: A Song Story

Review by G. W. Hill
While this album didn’t completely blow me away in terms of being something I’d listen to a lot, I was quite taken by the artistic nature of it. The term “rock opera” certainly applies, but this is even more theatrical than that. I love the story, what I can figure out of it, and its modernization of classic mythology. There are bits here that are purely theatrical and then other parts that rock. The truth is, though, those who like a continuing story with their music will love this. It’s really musical theater gone prog. It’s also very well done. Considering Smith was a founding member of Van der Graaf Generator, that kind of quality is to be expected, though.

Track by Track Review
The Bard - One
This is a weird little old worlde section, like something you’d expect to hear at a renaissance faire.
Rundown Rudi
After a stage introduction, the group launches out into something akin to serious 1970s hard rock sound. It works to more progressive territory as it drops back a bit. This instrumental works through a number of changes and feels a little like Pink Floyd at times. There’s a section later that feels a bit like Focus.
Soliloquy - One
Bouncy and fun, this is very British and rather like English pop music that was common in the early part of the 20th century – you know, the kind of thing Queen often referenced in their music.
Seven Yard Promenade
This is similar to “Rundown Rudi,” but has its own identity, too. It’s also an instrumental and runs through a number of shifts and changes.
Interview - One
After a little radio jingle introducing the “show” we get classical instrumentation dancing around behind an “interview” that’s part of the show.
Orphic Lullaby
This instrumental is rather Beatles-like, but the proggier side of The Beatles, think later period. It’s quite tasty.
Soliloquy - Two
Bouncy little bits of music are the backdrop for a spoken bit.
Wolfman George
Somehow this instrumental, while a lot like the others, feels a bit more playful and light-hearted. It’s got some smoking hot guitar soloing. There’s also an accordion solo.
Soliloquy - Three
The music to this spoken section is much more progressive rock, being playful and fun at the beginning. Then, as the main character realizes his prize guitar (much of the interview discussed it) is missing, the music becomes frantic.
The Bard - Two
Here we get another of the renaissance faire numbers.
Soliloquy - Four
Some world music is built into this spoken piece. Still, it’s some of the most pure prog of the set. As it ends in the sound of a car crash, we realize that the main character’s day just keeps getting worse.
In-Flight Movie - One
Delirium or crossing over to the afterlife make up this piece. It starts with very spacey music, but then works out to energetic electronic sounds. Then it turns out to dance club elements.
Orfeas and Eurydice – One
Our hero seems to wind up in heaven, but it’s unclear if he’s supposed to be there. The music is very much old-fashioned theatrical textured sound. It gets more electronic as it continues. This is campy, but also fun in a real musical theater way. It’s basically a dialog delivered as a duet.
In-Flight Movie - Two
This one feels more like traveling music. It’s bouncy and a little funky, but also very cool.
In Hell - One
Less than half a minute in length, this is just a quick bit of female vocals over some music.
Carpet of Bones
Dark and atmospheric, there are some seriously theatrical vocals. There are also bursts of metallic guitar. There are some later sections that really fit under the heading of “heavy metal” quite well.
In Hell – Two
The story continues with this theatrical dialog bit.
In-Flight Movie - Three
This is more traditional progressive rock in texture. It’s a cool bit.
Orfeas and Eurydice - Two
We get more theatrical dialog over playful music.
The Crab Nebula
More theatrical prog, the lyrics to this talk about a lot of famous musicians hanging out together in the after-life.
Orfeas and Eurydice - Three
This is more theatrical dialog.
Orfeas' Audition
Starting with some seriously hard rocking guitar, this instrumental is a killer progressive rock jam. It works through a number of changes and alterations and is just plain tasty. After some guitar soloing later, the bass leads into a section that is almost like surf music turned prog. It’s great. This might be the most effective piece of the whole thing.
Don't Look Back
Here’s another that’s more like musical theater, but with some progressive rock added to the mix.
In-Flight Movie - Four
We have another bit of traveling music here. It’s like electronica.
Interview - Two
And, now we get another interview segment, starting with the same jingle. Like the previous one, classical strings swim in the background as the interview is conducted.
Fishin' in the Styx
This proggy jam has some hip hop scratching in the mix, but is also quite fusion-like at times. It wanders out into some seriously soaring progressive rock later.
Soliloquy - Five
Another spoken bit with some interesting guitar based music continues the story.
Don't Deafen Me, Persephone
Here we get another jazzy tune. There is a rapper on this thing. There’s some extremely tasty guitar soloing on the cut.
The Bard - Three
This bard bit is quite short and the guitar playing is in the mode of Spanish guitar.
Soliloquy - Six
This spoken section comes with some harder rocking music mixed with Latin sounds. It’s interesting and short.
Catastrophe in Czecho
Fast paced prog jamming with accordion makes up this one.
An Announcement
This is just a spoken bit on stage.
Tear Him Asunder
We get some seriously weird, thrashy metal for this cut.
The Bard – Four
The final bard song closes things much the same way as it began.

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