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Jack Lancaster - Wild Connections (CD)

Genre: Pop/Rock
Release Date: 9th September 2013

Label: Gonzo
Catalogue Number: HST147CD
Price: £9.99
Available: In stock

Jack Lancaster - Wild Connections

Two and a half thousand years ago Lao Tzu said "The More we see, the less we know", and it is a truism of which I am reminded every day. Once upon a time I used to bluff my way through life, but as I get older I don't bother any more. If I don't know the answer to something I say so.

The other morning I got an email from the lovely Anne-Marie at Gonzo asking me to write the sales notes for an album called Wild Connections. There was one small problem: although I knew who Jack Lancaster was (the legendary producer who also played with Blodwyn Pig and Mick Farren, amongst others) I had no idea what the album was like. So there was only one thing that I could do - I telephoned the man himself and asked him...

"It’s actually a fairly peculiar experimental album really," he told me. "It’s just – do you know Barry Morgan? Barry Morgan is the drummer out of Blue Mink and he had his own studios in London so it was me, Barry and Rick van der Linden, the Dutch keyboard player. It was an experimental album because it was completely synthesised, except for the drums of course. Rick and I wrote the stuff in Holland. We went to his house near Hilversum and wrote it there."

He continued: "I was over there [in Holland] actually producing a band that Phonogram in Hilversum – Kayak - and Rick was doing a session for them, and he had a GX-1. A GX-1 was like a Yamaha keyboard that Keith Emerson was the only other guy I knew with one. It was like a Yamaha keyboard was like three manuals – three keyboard manuals - foot pedals and I guess it was FM synthesis, this whole thing; it was massive and he had speakers with it, and everything and it looked a bit like a Wurlitzer organ or something. But it was in fact a synthesiser, and so the whole album is done on that … on the GX-1."

The new technology inspired them: "Rick and I wrote a bunch of stuff for that, and the lyricon … I was on lyricon, I didn’t play any horns at all. And it a was wind control synthesiser thing, but an early one that was completely analogue. And I was triggering mini Moogs and playing parallel chords and stuff on a harp with it as well. Now Rick was a kind of rock player with a baroque background. I know that sounds peculiar."

I thought it sounded very interesting, and asked him to continue: "So I was configuring the synth with the wind control and he was doing that and we did all these arrangements based around that. Then we put like a twenty-piece choir on some of the stuff – not all of it – which was the English Chorale – you must have heard of them. They do the LSO stuff as well. With Barry Morgan on drums. We didn’t have a bass player because Rick was a really heavily schooled organist and when he was a little kid he played in cathedrals in Amsterdam and all over the place when he was a kid so he was very good at playing foot pedals. And he developed a style where he was able to play some really funky stuff on the foot pedals while he was playing these three keyboard manuals. So the whole thing was based on that really."

I told Jack that I was looking forward to hearing it. He replied: "You might find it a bit experimental and out of line.." But I reassured him. Experimental is always good as far as I am concerned. JON DOWNES

1. Early Morning Jones
2. Your Home
3. African Violet
4. Fortuna
5. Wild Connections
6. Claudia
7. Aural Exciter


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