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 Review: US review



November 11 2014 at 15:55

London, UK – Much to the excitement of prog fans worldwide, rare recordings of guitar legend Peter Banks, best known for his work with YES and FLASH, is now available on GONZO Multimedia! Peter Banks Empire 'The Mars Tapes' (2-CD set) represents Empire lll in rehearsal at Mars Studios in Los Angeles in 1979. The band had set up camp at Mars Studios for six months rehearsing and showcasing their music, much of which has been unheard until this release. The band basically recorded every thing they did off the board, tape hiss and all.

Peter Banks (RIP 2013) and Sidonie Jordan, who not only co-wrote, but fronted the band with her powerful vocals, founded Empire in the early to mid-seventies after Peter’s FLASH endeavors and attracted artists such as Phil Collins. Peter and Phil had joined forces in a band called 'Zok And The Radar Boys' which was pre-Empire for Peter, and pre-Brand X for Phil. “Sky At Night” (bonus track) features Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals and Jon Giblin on bass and is testimony of their collaboration.

Sidonie Jordan, who has an extensive list of music credentials to her name, including a diversified solo career as a staff writer/recording artist for A&M Records, and has recorded for other labels such as Capital Records, Electra Records and Trojan Records. (Her song and recording of ‘All God’s Mornings’ was produced by Peter Townshend and featured on his ‘With Love’ album. Sidonie is currently producing and writing with Lez Larder owner of Skyline Studios in Sunbury- On-Thames UK, and Empire lll drummer, Mark Murdock, more recently known for his 'Cymbalic Encounters’ release featuring members from Brand X, agreed to release these recordings as a dedication to the memory of Peter Banks and his great contribution to progressive rock music.

Says Sidonie, “ 'The Mars Tapes' were recorded live at Mars Studios in Los Angles during the summer of 1979! And include a few tracks that never appeared on any Empire albums. As with all the Empire incarnations this album features the amazing talent and skill of Peter Banks, who has been called the Architect of Progressive Rock.”

Drummer Mark Murdock explains, “The Peter Banks Empire ship set sail against the ever-changing music world, and was uncompromising in producing a range of material with Peter Banks' 'Signature Guitar Sound and Style,' while incorporating themes of the time period in which the band existed and also reliving the past by playing songs from the early Empire catalog and even a YES version of ‘Something’s Coming.’ There are various tracks on ‘The Mars Tapes’ that also represented a ‘Work In Progress,’ which were both instrumental and vocal orientated. Empire was anticipating to make some big waves in the music scene, but the waves never reached the shore- until now!”

 Review: US Review


Rare Recordings By Guitar Legend Peter Banks 'The Mars Tapes' Now Available!

London, UK – Much to the excitement of prog fans worldwide, rare recordings of guitar legend Peter Banks, best known for his work with YES and FLASH, is now available on GONZO Multimedia! Peter Banks Empire 'The Mars Tapes' (2-CD set) represents Empire lll in rehearsal at Mars Studios in Los Angeles in 1979. The band had set up camp at Mars Studios for six months rehearsing and showcasing their music, much of which has been unheard until this release. The band basically recorded every thing they did off the board, tape hiss and all.

Peter Banks (RIP 2013) and Sidonie Jordan, who not only co-wrote, but fronted the band with her powerful vocals, founded Empire in the early to mid-seventies after Peter’s FLASH endeavors and attracted artists such as Phil Collins. Peter and Phil had joined forces in a band called 'Zok And The Radar Boys' which was pre-Empire for Peter, and pre-Brand X for Phil. “Sky At Night” (bonus track) features Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals and Jon Giblin on bass and is testimony of their collaboration.

Sidonie Jordan, who has an extensive list of music credentials to her name, including a diversified solo career as a staff writer/recording artist for A&M Records, and has recorded for other labels such as Capital Records, Electra Records and Trojan Records. (Her song and recording of ‘All God’s Mornings’ was produced by Peter Townshend and featured on his ‘With Love’ album. Sidonie is currently producing and writing with Lez Larder owner of Skyline Studios in Sunbury- On-Thames UK, and Empire lll drummer, Mark Murdock, more recently known for his 'Cymbalic Encounters’ release featuring members from Brand X, agreed to release these recordings as a dedication to the memory of Peter Banks and his great contribution to progressive rock music.

Says Sidonie, “ 'The Mars Tapes' were recorded live at Mars Studios in Los Angles during the summer of 1979! And include a few tracks that never appeared on any Empire albums. As with all the Empire incarnations this album features the amazing talent and skill of Peter Banks, who has been called the Architect of Progressive Rock.”

Drummer Mark Murdock explains, “The Peter Banks Empire ship set sail against the ever-changing music world, and was uncompromising in producing a range of material with Peter Banks' 'Signature Guitar Sound and Style,' while incorporating themes of the time period in which the band existed and also reliving the past by playing songs from the early Empire catalog and even a YES version of ‘Something’s Coming.’ There are various tracks on ‘The Mars Tapes’ that also represented a ‘Work In Progress,’ which were both instrumental and vocal orientated. Empire was anticipating to make some big waves in the music scene, but the waves never reached the shore- until now!”

 Review: US review


November 11 2014

Guitar Legend Peter Banks Releases THE MARS TAPESMuch to the excitement of prog fans worldwide, rare recordings of guitar legend Peter Banks, best known for his work with YES and FLASH, is now available on GONZO Multimedia!
Peter Banks Empire 'The Mars Tapes' (2-CD set) representsEmpire lll in rehearsal at Mars Studios in Los Angeles in 1979. The band had set up camp at Mars Studios for six months rehearsing and showcasing their music, much of which has been unheard until this release. The band basically recorded every thing they did off the board, tape hiss and all.
Peter Banks (RIP 2013) and Sidonie Jordan, who not only co-wrote, but fronted the band with her powerful vocals, founded Empire in the early to mid-seventies after Peter's FLASH endeavors and attracted artists such as Phil Collins. Peter and Phil had joined forces in a band called 'Zok And The Radar Boys' which was pre-Empire for Peter, and pre-Brand X for Phil. "Sky At Night" (bonus track) features Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals and Jon Giblin on bass and is testimony of their collaboration.
Sidonie Jordan, who has an extensive list of music credentials to her name, including a diversified solo career as a staff writer/recording artist for A&M Records, and has recorded for other labels such as Capital Records, Electra Records and Trojan Records. (Her song and recording of 'All God's Mornings' was produced by Peter Townshend and featured on his 'With Love' album. Sidonie is currently producing and writing with Lez Larder owner of SkylineStudios in Sunbury- On-Thames UK, and Empire lll drummer, Mark Murdock, more recently known for his 'Cymbalic Encounters' release featuring members from Brand X, agreed to release these recordings as a dedication to the memory of Peter Banks and his great contribution to progressive rock music.
Says Sidonie, " 'The Mars Tapes' were recorded live at Mars Studios in Los Angles during the summer of 1979! And include a few tracks that never appeared on any Empire albums. As with all the Empire incarnations this album features the amazing talent and skill of Peter Banks, who has been called the Architect of Progressive Rock."
Drummer Mark Murdock explains, "The Peter Banks Empire ship set sail against the ever-changing music world, and was uncompromising in producing a range of material with Peter Banks' 'Signature Guitar Sound and Style,' while incorporating themes of the time period in which the band existed and also reliving the past by playing songs from the early Empire catalog and even a YES version of 'Something's Coming.' There are various tracks on 'TheMars Tapes' that also represented a 'Work In Progress,' which were both instrumental and vocal orientated.Empire was anticipating to make some big waves in the music scene, but the waves never reached the shore- until now!"

 Review: Review


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

London, UK – Much to the excitement of prog fans worldwide, rare recordings of guitar legend Peter Banks, best known for his work with YES and FLASH, is now available on GONZO Multimedia! Peter Banks Empire 'The Mars Tapes' (2-CD set) represents Empire lll in rehearsal at Mars Studios in Los Angeles in 1979. The band had set up camp at Mars Studios for six months rehearsing and showcasing their music, much of which has been unheard until this release. The band basically recorded every thing they did off the board, tape hiss and all.
Peter Banks (RIP 2013) and Sidonie Jordan, who not only co-wrote, but fronted the band with her powerful vocals, founded Empire in the early to mid-seventies after Peter’s FLASH endeavors and attracted artists such as Phil Collins. Peter and Phil had joined forces in a band called 'Zok And The Radar Boys' which was pre-Empire for Peter, and pre-Brand X for Phil. “Sky At Night” (bonus track) features Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals and Jon Giblin on bass and is testimony of their collaboration.
Sidonie Jordan, who has an extensive list of music credentials to her name, including a diversified solo career as a staff writer/recording artist for A&M Records, and has recorded for other labels such as Capital Records, Electra Records and Trojan Records. (Her song and recording of ‘All God’s Mornings’ was produced by Peter Townshend and featured on his ‘With Love’ album. Sidonie is currently producing and writing with Lez Larder owner of Skyline Studios in Sunbury- On-Thames UK, and Empire lll drummer, Mark Murdock, more recently known for his 'Cymbalic Encounters’ release featuring members from Brand X, agreed to release these recordings as a dedication to the memory of Peter Banks and his great contribution to progressive rock music.
Says Sidonie, “ 'The Mars Tapes' were recorded live at Mars Studios in Los Angles during the summer of 1979! And include a few tracks that never appeared on any Empire albums. As with all the Empire incarnations this album features the amazing talent and skill of Peter Banks, who has been called the Architect of Progressive Rock.”
Drummer Mark Murdock explains, “The Peter Banks Empire ship set sail against the ever-changing music world, and was uncompromising in producing a range of material with Peter Banks' 'Signature Guitar Sound and Style,' while incorporating themes of the time period in which the band existed and also reliving the past by playing songs from the early Empire catalog and even a YES version of ‘Something’s Coming.’ There are various tracks on ‘The Mars Tapes’ that also represented a ‘Work In Progress,’ which were both instrumental and vocal orientated. Empire was anticipating to make some big waves in the music scene, but the waves never reached the shore- until now!”

 Review: US Review


Rare Recordings By Guitar Legend Peter Banks ‘The Mars Tapes’ Now Available!


RJ FROMETA on 11 November, 2014 at 21:31

Much to the excitement of prog fans worldwide, rare recordings of guitar legend Peter Banks, best known for his work with YES and FLASH, is now available on GONZO Multimedia! Peter Banks Empire ‘The Mars Tapes’ (2-CD set) represents Empire lll in rehearsal at Mars Studios in Los Angeles in 1979. The band had set up camp at Mars Studios for six months rehearsing and showcasing their music, much of which has been unheard until this release. The band basically recorded every thing they did off the board, tape hiss and all.
Peter Banks (RIP 2013) and Sidonie Jordan, who not only co-wrote, but fronted the band with her powerful vocals, founded Empire in the early to mid-seventies after Peter’s FLASH endeavors and attracted artists such as Phil Collins. Peter and Phil had joined forces in a band called ‘Zok And The Radar Boys’ which was pre-Empire for Peter, and pre-Brand X for Phil. “Sky At Night” (bonus track) features Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals and Jon Giblin on bass and is testimony of their collaboration.
Peter Banks Empire Mars Tapes Rare Recordings By Guitar Legend Peter Banks The Mars Tapes Now Available!Sidonie Jordan, who has an extensive list of music credentials to her name, including a diversified solo career as a staff writer/recording artist for A&M Records, and has recorded for other labels such as Capital Records, Electra Records and Trojan Records. (Her song and recording of ‘All God’s Mornings’ was produced by Peter Townshend and featured on his ‘With Love’ album. Sidonie is currently producing and writing with Lez Larder owner of Skyline Studios in Sunbury- On-Thames UK, and Empire lll drummer, Mark Murdock, more recently known for his ‘Cymbalic Encounters’ release featuring members from Brand X, agreed to release these recordings as a dedication to the memory of Peter Banks and his great contribution to progressive rock music.
Says Sidonie, “ ‘The Mars Tapes’ were recorded live at Mars Studios in Los Angles during the summer of 1979! And include a few tracks that never appeared on any Empire albums. As with all the Empire incarnations this album features the amazing talent and skill of Peter Banks, who has been called the Architect of Progressive Rock.”
Drummer Mark Murdock explains, “The Peter Banks Empire ship set sail against the ever-changing music world, and was uncompromising in producing a range of material with Peter Banks’ ‘Signature Guitar Sound and Style,’ while incorporating themes of the time period in which the band existed and also reliving the past by playing songs from the early Empire catalog and even a YES version of ‘Something’s Coming.’ There are various tracks on ‘The Mars Tapes’ that also represented a ‘Work In Progress,’ which were both instrumental and vocal orientated. Empire was anticipating to make some big waves in the music scene, but the waves never reached the shore- until now!”







 

 Review: US Review


Rare Recordings By Guitar Legend Peter Banks "The Mars Tapes" Now Available

SOURCE:  Published: 2014-11-15 
Peter BanksLondon, UK – Much to the excitement of prog fans worldwide, rare recordings of guitar legend Peter Banks, best known for his work with YES and FLASH, is now available on GONZO Multimedia! Peter Banks Empire 'The Mars Tapes' (2-CD set) represents Empire lll in rehearsal at Mars Studios in Los Angeles in 1979. The band had set up camp at Mars Studios for six months rehearsing and showcasing their music, much of which has been unheard until this release. The band basically recorded every thing they did off the board, tape hiss and all.

Peter Banks (RIP 2013) and Sidonie Jordan, who not only co-wrote, but fronted the band with her powerful vocals, founded Empire in the early to mid-seventies after Peter’s FLASH endeavors and attracted artists such as Phil Collins. Peter and Phil had joined forces in a band called 'Zok And The Radar Boys' which was pre- Empire for Peter, and pre-Brand X for Phil. “Sky At Night” (bonus track) features Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals and Jon Giblin on bass and is testimony of their collaboration.

Sidonie Jordan, who has an extensive list of music credentials to her name, including a diversified solo career as a staff writer/recording artist for A&M Records, and has recorded for other labels such as Capital Records, Electra Records and Trojan Records. (Her song and recording of ‘All God’s Mornings’ was produced by Peter Townshend and featured on his ‘With Love’ album. Sidonie is currently producing and writing with Jez Larder owner of Skyline Studios in Sunbury- On-Thames UK, and Empire lll drummer, Mark Murdock, more recently known for his 'Cymbalic Encounters’ release featuring members from Brand X, agreed to release these recordings as a dedication to the memory of Peter Banks and his great contribution to progressive rock music.

Says Sidonie, “ 'The Mars Tapes' were recorded live at Mars Studios in Los Angles during the summer of 1979! And include a few tracks that never appeared on any Empire albums. As with all the Empire incarnations this album features the amazing talent and skill of Peter Banks, who has been called the Architect of Progressive Rock.”

Drummer Mark Murdock explains, “The Peter Banks Empire ship set sail against the ever-changing music world, and was uncompromising in producing a range of material with Peter Banks' 'Signature Guitar Sound and Style,' while incorporating themes of the time period in which the band existed and also reliving the past by playing songs from the early Empire catalog and even a YES version of ‘Something’s Coming.’ There are various tracks on ‘The Mars Tapes’ that also represented a ‘Work In Progress,’ which were both instrumental and vocal orientated. Empire was anticipating to make some big waves in the music scene, but the waves never reached the shore- until now!”
 

 Review: US Review


British guitarist Peter Banks was one of the original members of the progressive rock bands Yes and Flash. His musicianship helped define the genre, before being replaced in Yes by Steve Howe. Following his dismissal from the band, he decided to form Flash as another outlet for his music. After only three albums, Banks moved on to other projects, one of them being Empire. The band released three albums, but this time, his band was fronted by female singer Sydney Foxx and also featured Genesis' Phil Collins on a number of songs. Empire entered Mars Studios in the summer of 1979 to record songs for the band's next album. The sessions have sat in the vault for 35 years until its recent release through Gonzo Multimedia. The new 2CD set entitled "The Mars Tapes" features songs that have been released on some of the band's earlier albums, as well as some songs that have not appeared on any Empire album. The set opens and closes with a couple of songs from the band's first album, "Mark 1." While "Out Of Our Hands" feels like a sixties psychedelic rocker, "Sky At Night" is a slow-building, gentle flight that features Phil Collins on drums. Sandwiched between these two tracks are ten epic pieces of music, including the 18-minute "Medley" and the unreleased 17-minute instrumental version "Something's Coming" from West Side Story. The band really excels during the masterful nine-minute instrumental performance of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar And Grill," while "Dancing Man" shows disco's influence in rock music. The short instrumentals "The Fall Of The Empire" and "When The Banks Overflow" sound like music pieces of a bigger project that never happened. The album was released in October. To find out more about "The Mars Tapes," please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

 Review: US Review


Peter Banks Empire, "The Mars Tapes" (Gonzo Multimedia): After Yes and Flash, guitarist Banks, who passed away in 2013, recorded this material during 1979 at Mars Studios in Los Angeles, only to have them go unreleased until now.

 Review: US Review


the Mars Tapes helps fill a notable gap in the recorded career of Yes’ lost founding guitarist, as Gonzo Multimedia collects a fascinating two-disc set of odds and ends from Peter Banks’ late 1970s-era collaborations in Empire.
By 1979, as Banks gathered with Sidonie Jordan (his future wife, she was going by the stage name Sydney Foxx) Paul Delph, Brad Stephenson and Mark Murdock, Empire had already released two albums that had failed to find distribution in the U.S. Mark III, alas, would suffer the same fate as 1973’s Mark I and 1974’s Mark II, disappearing into undeserved obscurity. Well, at least until the late-1990s, when a belated reissue campaign revealed their long-withheld delights.
Photo credit: Peter Banks Estate/George Mizer
Photo credit: Peter Banks Estate/George Mizer
Aside from being one of the few women fronting prog groups at the time, Jordan also possessed a dark occasionally Joplin-esque vocal grit that stood completely apart. Couple that with Banks’ reliably intriguing flights of guitar fancy, and the prog-blues of Empire begins to look like a lost treasure from a time when the genre badly needed something to restore its creative momentum.
The Mars Tapes both amplify the successes of Mark III — as we find Peter Banks and Co. collaborating during six months of studio rehearsals, recorded direct form the control desk at Mars Studios — even as they dig further back into the band’s heady beginnings. A fascinating bonus track finds Banks performing with Phil Collins on a track called “Sky at Night.” They’d been working in a loose amalgam called Zok and the Radar Boys before Collins settled into a more regular extracurricular schedule with Brand X during his downtime with Genesis. (Murdock, more recently, produced Cymbalic Encounters with members of Brand X.)
Unfortunately, Empire wouldn’t return Peter Banks, who died in March 2013 at 65 of heart failure, to the same lofty places that he’d seen with Yes, or even his subsequent group Flash. The fault, as we hear on this remarkable set, lies not in the things he tried, but in something beyond Banks’ control. Whether it was ill timed, poorly promoted or just bad luck, we’ll never know. But his work in Empire, all of it, richly deserved to be heard. Luckily, we have that chance now.
- See more at: http://somethingelsereviews.com/2014/11/29/peter-banks-empire-the-mars-tapes/#sthash.jAsaPtLl.dpu

 Review: Peter Banks review


http://www.keysandchords.com/cd-review-blog/peter-banks-empire-the-mars-tapes
PETER BANKS EMPIRE: THE MARS TAPES
12/17/2014
Last month, appeared on the label Gonzo Multimedia another gem of unpublished material. Eighteen months after the death of former Yes guitarist Peter Banks super decreases the double CD The Mars Tapes' down on your eardrum.
The recordings date back to 1979. The Mars Studios in LA and have a Peter Banks with female Sidonie Jordan (Sydney Foxx) belong in the group Empire, seeking new paths in the progressive rock landscape.
Far from his previous groups Yes or Flash, but with such a recognizable sound. Not for nothing called the "Architect of Progressive Rock.
The recordings are of acceptable quality (as always with Gonzo) but come from the original master tapes and are not digitally remastered. Here and there some minimal noise gives the charm of that period.
In 'Do you want me' impresses Peter (à la Yes) with his sleight guitar work while Sidonie with her bright (soul-) vocals creates a successful symbiosis of two musical styles from the 70s. In 'Dancing Man' you're on a typical vocal disco song that was instrumental enriched.
Disc 2 turns completely instrumental: Peter Banks and brilliant Paul Delph on keyboards immerse yourself in prog similar to King Crimson, Yes, Wakeman around that period.
To top comet you will also find a wonderful bonus track: 'Sky at Night. Phil Collins, yeah that, on drums and backing vocals, acoustic Peter Banks and his wife Sidonie as a nightingale. Shivers of pure pleasure afflict your senses from the first chords! Just for this ingenious number (heritage!) Walk to the record store or order it directly from Gonzo Multimedia.
Marino Serdons (3½)

 Review: US Review


the Mars Tapes helps fill a notable gap in the recorded career of Yes’ lost founding guitarist, as Gonzo Multimedia collects a fascinating two-disc set of odds and ends from Peter Banks’ late 1970s-era collaborations in Empire.
By 1979, as Banks gathered with Sidonie Jordan (his future wife, she was going by the stage name Sydney Foxx) Paul Delph, Brad Stephenson and Mark Murdock, Empire had already released two albums that had failed to find distribution in the U.S. Mark III, alas, would suffer the same fate as 1973’s Mark I and 1974’s Mark II, disappearing into undeserved obscurity. Well, at least until the late-1990s, when a belated reissue campaign revealed their long-withheld delights.
Photo credit: Peter Banks Estate/George Mizer
Photo credit: Peter Banks Estate/George Mizer
Aside from being one of the few women fronting prog groups at the time, Jordan also possessed a dark occasionally Joplin-esque vocal grit that stood completely apart. Couple that with Banks’ reliably intriguing flights of guitar fancy, and the prog-blues of Empire begins to look like a lost treasure from a time when the genre badly needed something to restore its creative momentum.
The Mars Tapes both amplify the successes of Mark III — as we find Peter Banks and Co. collaborating during six months of studio rehearsals, recorded direct form the control desk at Mars Studios — even as they dig further back into the band’s heady beginnings. A fascinating bonus track finds Banks performing with Phil Collins on a track called “Sky at Night.” They’d been working in a loose amalgam called Zok and the Radar Boys before Collins settled into a more regular extracurricular schedule with Brand X during his downtime with Genesis. (Murdock, more recently, produced Cymbalic Encounters with members of Brand X.)
Unfortunately, Empire wouldn’t return Peter Banks, who died in March 2013 at 65 of heart failure, to the same lofty places that he’d seen with Yes, or even his subsequent group Flash. The fault, as we hear on this remarkable set, lies not in the things he tried, but in something beyond Banks’ control. Whether it was ill timed, poorly promoted or just bad luck, we’ll never know. But his work in Empire, all of it, richly deserved to be heard. Luckily, we have that chance now.
- See more at: http://somethingelsereviews.com/2014/11/29/peter-banks-empire-the-mars-tapes/#sthash.jAsaPtLl.dpuf

 Review: EMPIRE: The Mars Tapes US review


Recorded at the Guitarist’s Mars Studio in 1979, The Mars Tapes is a collective post-Flash recordings that exposed that even that late in the game, as far as the golden era of art rock was concerned, The Architect of Progressive Rock never lost sight of the vision he possessed, as you can hear his trademark guitar technique and echoes of early Yes and how the foundation for prog rock guitar playing was laid down. The prevalent tape hiss and the age/condition of the tapes have cut out any crispness, so the sound is often rough, third multi-generation cassette, but that doesn’t mean that the electricity within the performance hasn’t been captured.
For the most part, jam sessions, the intricacy, and the ability to compose ditties that have hooks keep the listener on their toes which makes you wish that this would have grown into a finer master quality release. Through Tunes such as “Out of Our Hands,” “Off With The King’s Head” and the flamenco flavored “Sky at Night” (feat. Phil Collins on Drums), Banks’ steadfast mastery to dance around the arrangements and syncopated rhythmic intensity is exposed with strident fervor; plus the pre-new wave keyboards of the late 70’s give it that lurking AOR flavor for it’s day in the pre-pop era of prog that would be come to be known as ‘neo.’ Another snapshot in time, yet the even with the shitty sound quality and all, you have to admit that Banks was never one to stop bolstering creativity.

 Review: PETER BANKS: The Mars Tapes US/UK review


Classic Rock Radio (Dot EU)
06 Jan 2015
CRR (Dot EU) - New Classic Rock Releases
Spotlight: Peter Banks Empire - The Mars Tapes (2014)
Imagine my panic when, on the day I set aside to write about Peter Banks Empire - The Mars Tapes, that it's revealed that the second disc of the two disc set is...MISSING! Lucky for me I knew where it was. In an automobile that I rented and gave back to its rightful owner the day before. Listened to both discs driving up and back to San Antonio during the recently passed Christmas holidays. When returning the vehicle I made double sure to look and make sure I didn't forget anything, neglecting to check the fancy CD player we used the entire four hundred mile round trip. Would have sucked if the CD was lost / thrown away.
A couple days after returning the vehicle, a happy ending took place as I was reunited with the disc at the Enterprise Car Rental place in Katy, Texas. Nice people over there. In the meantime while missing the second disc, I played the first disc a few more times. Worked out fine really. Oh wait...I caught a nasty ass cold, and after that had three back teeth removed in my lower jaw (receiving stitches in my mouth). The pain once the novocaine wore off...Holy Shit! I promise myself that I'd NEVER do that EVER again. It hurt so much. The first few days after was pretty unbearable 24/7. Then everyday after that, a tad less painful than the day before. In total, about five or six weeks of agony! And all through this I'm playing mostly this new Peter Banks archival two CD project. Now having survived, I can say it helped me through by rearranging my focus. Shifted my attention onto something else. Along with some hot tea and honey, Peter Banks Empire - The Mars Tapes became a cool distraction from everything I was physically having to deal with. Onward through the fog.
I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that I once worked with Peter Banks, trying to help him promote an autobiography he penned with the help of William (Billy and not William regarding authorship recognition first name) James; titled 'Beyond And Before...The Formative Years of Yes.' This is back at the turn of the century. Sometime after publication, I lost touch. Enjoyed the contact I had with Peter. With him in the United Kingdom and myself in the United States, the phone and fax machine was our main source of communication. Peter was always nice to me, at least until one of my good friends royally screwed up involving getting his wife and himself free admittance into a Alice Cooper show, and then hanging out after the show together. The whole thing planned ahead of time. Very professional actually. Never happened. My friend got so involved with what he was doing that he totally forgot about Peter and his wife, leaving them hanging at the door. My part was being a go-between, and setting everything up. I drew up an itinerary, that my musician friend totally ignored, being caught up in all the excitement. Wasn't on purpose at all. Was seriously disappointed with the outcome. Again, nothing I directly did. Frankly, I'd be super pissed as well with the traveling that was required, and be it all for nothing. So there went my contact with Peter. Still, I remained a loyal listener. Up to the end h stayed active, and his playing was still top-notch. Broke my heart hearing the news of Peter's passing (2013).
Imagine my delight when towards the end of 2014, here comes along some unreleased Empire music. Of course I'm interested. Could my review be bias? A distinct possibility, so much so that I'd say YES myself. Be it as it may, I decided the BEST thing to do would be if I went down another path. Therefore, instead of a straightforward review, the following are my impressions, listening to what I believe is one of the best archival projects to come down the pike in a while. From a band led by a man labeled the architect of Progressive Rock. Empire's music emcompassed many styles even containing a hint of what was popular on the charts via record company / companies request. Remember disco? A tune called 'Dancing Man' comes to mind that Empire did. Rehearsed to play live as well, as a part of a Empire medley. Included in The Mars Tapes (disc one) for your listening pleasure.
Imagine if you will, a professional established progressive rock musician trying to jump start a band to his liking, when music not of his kind, is ruling the airwaves. The promotional norm at the time by newer and younger rockers was to simply talk shit about established bands. One example was labeling the chart toppers "Dinosaurs". This said with intent to kill interest in them, while at the same time boasting their own popularity. The musical tide was sure changing, and unfortunately just never in the direction Peter or Empire needed it to go.
Fact is Peter Banks Empire was a band that had three major attempts at becoming a commercial musical act, and failed at doing so, ALL three times. In their defense, years after the band broke up and went their separate ways, music they created did see the light of day. Three CD's labeled Empire...featuring Peter Banks, Mark I, Mark II, and Mark III. One Way Records in the 1990's put these out. Yours truly being the BIG Peter Banks fan, of course purchased all three at the time of their release. Out of print and collectors items nowadays. Note, knowing I would write something about the newest P.B's Empire release (The Mars Tapes), I reacquainted myself with these recordings recently. The third CD of demos / studio recordings, Mark III, compliments this recent release very well. Same musician roster. Here's the band practicing what would have been a pretty cool set list if they even got a chance to perform anywhere in front of a paid crowd. And they would have had that, had Mark I been released properly, and money spent promoting the song, 'Out Of Our Hands' been made a single. Could have been a hit, or at least got respected airplay. Its success would have launched the band towards popularity, and that is what makes money and keeps things afloat. As humans mature, sometime during the process most of us learn, and it's usually always the hard way, that hopes and dreams cost money. Adds up quickly. As does time in a professional recording studio.
Empire had a six year history with major occurrences happening between projects. This was Peter's group. He devoted his all to this. The time frame was 1974 to 1980. When the financially bad times hit, he slept on peoples couches while playing salesman, trying to get the band it's BIG break. From his own personal accounts, Peter's attitude came off as 'all or nothing'. Unlike other rock bands he participated in like Yes or Flash, Empire as a whole had no one to answer to but Peter. With authority came responsibility. At times the money was there, and at others it wasn't. Unfortunately in the business world in which music, like it or not, is a BIG player, deals fall through. Peter's actions dictated the man certainly tried, doing all he could to make Empire not only the band he wanted, but a success as well. A hard working / well rehearsed musical group that made chart topping albums, and went out on tour. A band that actually played live gigs in front of paying crowds. None of that ever happened for Empire. I conclude what a major shame that was, because the material when presented in the right environment was there. I base this on the three (Mark I, II, and III) now Out of Print (OOP) Empire factory pressed from the now defunct One Way Records CDs that I have. All these years later since their release is further testimony to conclusion, with the double CD; Peter Banks Empire - The Mars Tapes.
Let's talk content. The two CD's that make up Peter Banks Empire - The Mars Tapes amount to around ninety minutes of unreleased music from what would be the third major, and I guess final line-up of the group. Rehearsal tapes recorded at Mars Studios in Los Angeles, California. Music that represents not only the three past failed studio recordings, but Peter as its star as well. And rightly so for this was Peter's vision. He was the music guy, and his once wife and Empire's lead singer, Sydney Foxx (nowadays Sidonie Jordan) doing the lyrics. Long instrumental parts in songs are credited by Peter as music created when their singer was not around. The results are wonderful. I can see Sidonie maybe stepping aside while the band did its thing. Kind of like James LaBrie does when performing with Dream Theater. And while on the subject, maybe not what the record companies were looking for at the time, but am glad Empire was a band with a strong voiced female singer. Has seen success since those days, as did the bands drummer, Mark Murdock. He's rocking Tokyo, Japan with a group called Machine Messiah in which material like that found on this CD, could be heard / seen in concert. Mark also is very involved with a very cool progressive / jazz-rock band called Cymbalic Encounters. Their sophomore studio release will be out here shortly. Includes Percy Jones and John Goodsall from a band Phil Collins was in at one time called; Brand X. As for the others involved with Empire, we are talking a few decades ago; R.I.P.
Did I just speak his name? One of the best drummers in prog-rock history, Mr. Phil Collins is included in Empire's history, being a session man in the bands beginning days. Friends of Peter's, it was another band he was in called Genesis that kept him from perhaps being Empire's full time drummer. As a admitted fan of Empire, be it what ever line-up, featuring Peter Banks, I just think it's so cool he contributes. Makes for an excellent footnote. A man behind the drum kit that I would have loved to have at least once witnessed in person, seeing him play live. With everything else I witnessed over the decades it's hard to believe I missed something like that. A lifelong friend with Empire's final drummer, Mark Murdock also. Phil rocks! Good singer / showman also. Oh...on The Mars Tapes, Phil appears on disc two. On a song called 'Sky At Night'. A beautifully layered prog-rock song if there ever was one. Sydney / Sidonie's vocals shine here, and I dig the tabla playing (by Sam Gobal). Another one with hit potential, and I bet would have been cool to see them do in concert. Give the prog rock band Renaissance a run for their money.
Uncle G Rating: Using the one to five star rating system with one star pretty much meaning, "pass", to five stars meaning it's cool to spend your hard earned cash on, I rate Peter Banks Empire - The Mars Tapes - 5 Stars! From the concept, which would include an awesome representation via the artwork that accompanies this release, by Paul at Studio 3 (as listed in the CD's credits). Makes for slick looking promo ads as well. A GREAT idea using an obvious Sci-Fi twist based on the name of the studio. Nice work! Progressive rock and Outer Space do go together nicely.
Speaking of Mars, a couple instrumentals found on the second disc of The Mars Tapes by Peter Banks Empire, captures the spirit of the project. The first being a tune called 'Ascending To The Planet Mars'. Songwriting credits go to Peter and the whole band. And also containing the same spirit is a song called 'The Fall Of The Empire', which gets my attention every time played. Always trying to be honest, I LIKE the second disc of Peter Banks Empire - The Mars Tapes more than the first. Different listeners, different reactions. Remember, I'm more into the actual music itself. It's Peter's guitar playing that holds my focus. All other players being outstanding, and having to be so to keep up with Peter in the first place.
Note: Please understand what an archival project is before paying all that money for postage. You know, should one be buying the physical CD itself. Available for official download also. The recordings themselves reflect recording devices and techniques reflective of the time the music was recorded. Just pointing out the obvious. Saying that, sounds very well being blasted out of a powerful home stereo system. Comparable or better to that of the One Way Record releases. On the negative side, a couple songs could have had better endings, and not sound so like they abruptly stop. Maybe could have faded out sooner? Maybe due to glitches in the source tapes themselves? A wild guess really. I once was involved with a Billion Dollar Babies three disc CD archival project called, Complete Battle Axe (2002). Learned many valuable lessons helping Michael Bruce with that one. Another story for another day. Back to the way a couple songs ended, it's really the only bad thing I got to say about the whole project. Having worked on an archival project before, was taking a above novice educational guess as to why.

 

Before this turns into a two parter, I sign out forever a fan of Peter Banks music. His sound will outlive us all. The possibility of a human being on the planet Mars listening to music Peter was involved with, or better yet, this very recording, will increase as time goes by. In the vast far reaches of outer space...may the vibes proceed the jive. Isn't that Seventies sounding?

 Review: US Review


 

Title - ‘The Mars Tapes’ (Gonzo Multimedia)
Artist - Peter Banks Empire
Prog fans everywhere, and I truly meaneverywhere, most likely all have their gleeful, sweaty lil’ hands on this incredible 2CD release. For not only is this two discs of recordings from the man best known for his work with Yes and Flash, but each and every one of the 12 tracks are rare ones, at that. Originally recorded back in Los Angeles in 1979 at the Mars Studios, the Peter Banks Empire had actually been encamped there for over six months. Rehearsing, tinkering, showcasing their music, much of which has still to this day been unheard - until today - what you get here now is the actual rare soundboard recordings.

The late Peter Banks (2013) co-founded the Peter Banks Empire in the early 70’s alongside Sidone Jordan, a woman whose powerful, stand alone vocals could have you entranced within seconds. Indeed, Banks might well have been the lead name behind the project, but Jordan not only co-wrote much of the tracks the band released, but she stood alongside Banks the whole time.

Jordan, who has an extensive list of music credentials to her name, and who has recorded with en masse of other record labels throughout her incredible career, brings a depth to this wondrous double album that wouldn’t exist without her. Tracks like the three-part ‘Medley,’ ‘Do What You Want,’ ‘The Fall Of the Empire,’ and especially the opening track, ‘Out Of Our Hands’ showcase Jordan and bring each and every track to 3D life.

Featuring a whole host of tracks recorded live at the Mars Studios back in the summer of 1979, The Mars Tapes even includes a few tracks that never even appeared on any Empire albums Peter Banks put out. Called the ‘Architect of Progressive Rock,” the Peter Banks Empire incorporated numerous themes of the time period in which the band existed whilst playing songs from the early Empire catalog. And yes, if you’ll pardon the pun, we even get a Yes version of ‘Something’s Coming’ (West Side Story)’ from Leonard Bernstein. Banks’ arrangement is simply divine, but it’s the bonus track on the second disc, the final track on the double album, that really embodies what this release is all about. Featuring the irrepressible drumming qualities of Genesis legend, Phil Collins, ’Sky At Night’ is, quite possibly, a track like no other.

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk


 Review: French review translated


PETER BANKS: THE MARS TAPES (2014) 
 


GROUPS CLOSE:
- TRACKS: 01. Out Of Our Hands, 02. Medley (foundation, Destiny, Far Away) 03.Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar And Grill, 04. What Do You Want, 05. Dancing Man,06. Where Yes Means No, 07. Off With The King's Head, 08. Something's Coming, 09.The Fall Of The Empire, 10. When The Banks Overflow, 11. Ascending To The Planet Mars, 12. Sky At Night (feat. Phil Collins ) EDUCATION: Brad Stephenson (bass), Mark Murdock (Drums), Paul Delph (keyboards), Peter Banks (Guitars), Sidonie Jordan (Vocals) TAG: 70's , Experimental , Fusion , Instrumental , Psychedelic , Guitar-Hero ,female Chant


Written by Mr.Blue on 01/12/2015 

Gonzo Multimedia likes to please the fans by digging up old tapes lost and forgotten by all. The wheel of fortune has stopped this time on ... Peter Banks! In 1979 with her ​​friend Sidonie Jordan, former guitarist for Yes, insatiable musician multiplying artistic projects based project Empire with whom he released three albums (the "Mark I, II and III"). Shared with many artists including Phil Collins himself (he holds the rhythm on this 'Sky At Night') the group yet barely interested label to distribute its music and leave for lack of (too) quickly forgotten. This double album, which includes many unreleased tracks mostly during the sessions of "Mark III" allows to finally rehabilitate this much anecdotal project. It includes course titles very close musically universeEmpire but also other more original and offset and a handful of relatives of the first instrumental Yes . 'Off With The King's Head' launches on this double album rails Jazz / Rock / Funk Fusion as an instrumentalWeather Report or Mahavishnu Orchestra could offer at the time, that blessed the explosion of musical boundaries and the wildest and unbridled experimentation between intense jam, Dance Music singing feminine and assumed complexity. And to better drive the point, is not less than 17 minutes of music between joyful bonhomie and false simplicity, which from the second range. Leaving the spotlight to guitar melodies, 'Something's Coming' feels the model full nose. The sound is sometimes rough, transitions look slightly awkward and tired but all bands do not have less charm. The second album 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow "and" What Do You Want', significantly more energetic will be classified in the same category. In a genre more concise and radio, sadly aptly named 'The Fall Of The Empire' sees Paul Delph experiment on his electric keyboard sounds the all-new space before an almost Carnival title and again a little disjointed. Still at the more oriented tracks "song", the few songs sung by the warm Sidonie Jordan have an irresistible charm. Hot rock of the 'Out Of Our Hands' trimmed swaying passages, disco 'Dancing Man' or 'Sky At Night' on which Banks out the acoustic guitar in the style of a Steve Hackett and cheek Gypsy also deserve some attention.Experimentation and inspiration are the key words to describe these bands not always completed content. Too short 'Ascending To The Planet Mars' and its spatial and epic guitar would such deserved to be developed over more than two minutes as plans are rich and exciting at the same time. If you accept the slight sound approximations and effect model of all times, you are guaranteed to have a great time with the late Peter Banks, another artist who died Gonzo seeks to rehabilitate with deep respect. The company is honest and passionate enough to be welcomed.

 Review: UK Review


PETER BANKS EMPIRE The Mars TapesPETER BANKS EMPIRE
The Mars Tapes
Gonzo
Former Yes / Flash guitarist Peter Banks died in March 2013 at 65 of heart failure, but his collaboration with Empire is often overlooked when people look back at his career.  This album, “The Mars Tapes” was recorded live at Mars Studios in Los Angeles during 1979, and includes some tracks that never appeared on any of the other Empire records.
Fronted by the future Mrs Banks, one Sydney Foxx, her gritty voice pointed Empire towards a mix of blues and prog, which in places is actually very good.  But even during the odd leaden moment, you can never drag Mr Banks away from his progressive guitar sound, which is very much a saving grace.
As with most “lost” albums, not everything should have been resurrected, but the music, which was recorded during six months of studio rehearsals, direct from the control desk has enough juice to satisfy fans of Mr Banks.  Cruelly, though, for Genesis fans they’ve thrown in a song which sees Banks performing with Phil Collins on a track called ‘Sky At Night’, from their time as Zok and the Radar Boys before Collins decided to concentrate on his Brand X sideline.  A wicked, but profitable lure, albeit one that leads into some interesting music.

 Review: US Review


Peter Banks Empire

The Mars Tapes

Review by G. W. Hill
This set is a rehearsal tape. That said, the band set up in a studio to start working on material that was to be an album. They recorded everything. So, while this is rehearsals, it’s good quality rehearsals. Yes, some of it suffers in the sound quality department, but really only the first couple tunes have a problem to the point where it’s a little distracting. Not everything here is progressive rock in my opinion. Most of it is, though, and the fact that this is a Peter Banks band (Yes, Flash and more) definitely lands it there. The vocals (Sidonie Jordan) often bring a soulful vibe to this, pulling it more down to earth and grounding it in reality. It should be noted that Phil Collins plays drums on one song here. This is definitely worth having from an archival perspective, but you’ll find some gems here, too.
Track by Track Review
Disc One
Out of Our Hands
As this opens, there’s no mistaking the Peter Banks trademarks. This is a powerhouse progressive rocker. The only thing is, the recording is a bit muddy and distorted. The cut works through a number of shifts and changes. The female vocals here are quite soulful. It lends a different texture. The mix of melodic and more rocking sections is great, too. I love the guitar, keyboard interplay section later in the track.
Medley: Foundation, Destiny, Far Away
The section that opens this seems to combine fusion with space rock. As it works out for the vocals, this makes me think of Gong a bit. The vocals really add a lot of power and passion to the piece. After the piece works through some changes there is a powerful and involved instrumental section. That gives way to a more mainstream rock vocal movement. After that section works through we get some particularly dramatic progressive rock that emerges in the instrumental movement. It turns a bit towards metallic sounds, but then gets more into psychedelic rock territory from there. Another vocal movement is heard after that jam. It’s particularly soulful and compelling. Another powered up progressive rock jam takes it. After that works through, it drops to a mellower movement with atmospheric guitar elements. Another vocal movement emerges. This one is very much mainstream rock music. It has a real R&B quality. Yet, there are some prog elements that show up within at times. The final instrumental section has a mellower, more atmospheric progressive rock sound.
Somewhere over the Rainbow Bar and Grill
Guitar soloing opens this, feeling a bit like it could have come from Banks’ Yes era. From there they take this out into a soaring kind of jam that’s part prog and part fusion. This carries forward instrumentally with different little shifts and turns taking it. There are sections that are more guitar dominated and others that are more in line with an ensemble sound. Some portions are keyboard dominated, too. This is a good instrumental, but perhaps it stays around a bit long for the kind of fairly simple jam band music that it is.
Do What You Want
A powerhouse prog rock jam opens this and holds it sans vocals for the first couple minutes. It does feel a bit like Yes at times. The vocals come in and bring a different kind of element to the table. It’s almost like Motown goes progressive rock to me. I really love the instrumental section that ensues beyond this vocal movement. It is another point where we get some great keyboard and guitar interplay. The cut really scorches. They bring us back for one more vocal movement. This one, though, is a powerhouse progressive rock based segment. That ends it in style.
Dancing Man
A funky bass line starts this. It’s got a real R&B kind of vibe, with some jazz in the mix. This is a bit too mainstream and pedestrian for my tastes, but it has its charms. The mellower movement is almost pure jazz and one of those.
Where Yes Means No
Another instrumental, this is very much a fusion type tune. It has some definite funk in the mix. It also has some of the most impassioned guitar soloing. That guitar soloing is really what sells this piece.
Disc Two
Off with the King's Head
The opening section and those that continue it are made up of smoking hot progressive rock laced with fusion. The guitar soloing is powerful and moments call to mind Banks’ work in both Yes and Flash. The cut has a number of shift and changes that work really well. It does a great job of balancing the more intense stuff with the more melodic for variety. In fact, this is one of the most effective instrumentals here.
Something's Coming (West Side Story)
When Peter Banks was with Yes, they did a version of this piece. This one is considerably different than that one, though, with much more of a focus on crazed guitar playing. That said, it does start with drums before the rest of the group join and launch out into the jam that has plenty of both prog and psychedelia in it. There are moments of this that call to mind the Yes version, though. There are some moments here that are more modern in nature than the Yes version of the piece, and seem to have some hints of jazz. This is an instrumental version, too, further contrasting it to that take. There are some themes from other parts of “West Side Story” that show up later in the jamming.
The Fall of the Empire
This is very much a tasty fusion number. It’s a great instrumental and includes both impressive textures and melodies.
When the Banks Overflow
I love this piece. It has some surf music along with some definite progressive rock. There are moments here that definitely make me think of Yes.
Ascending to the Planet Mars
More of a straightforward rock jam, there is still quite a bit of fusion in the mix here. It is a short one, but also quite tasty.
Bonus Track - Sky at Night
This starts with a very flamenco kind of classical sound. It continues building in that regard. After a crescendo around the two minute mark, the piece becomes even more classical and sedate. As the vocals come over the top it resembles Renaissance quite a bit. Eventually that section works through, and the cut explodes into a real powerhouse prog jam. That section at times reminds me of Yes. Once that finishes, though, the whole thing drops way down to the classical motifs (but a little more worked up) for the next vocal movement. After running through like that, it turns a bit soaring and rather spacey. Ground control chatter for a rocket launch is heard in the mix at the end of this.

 Review: Canadian Review


PETER BANKS EMPIRE – The Mars Tapes
Gonzo 2013
PETER BANKS EMPIRE -
The Mars Tapes
Ex-YES guitarist’s last major group gear up for a record and round up the best of their oeuvre.
It was 1979 when the latest – and the last – of Peter Banks’ collective endeavors entered the Mars Studios in LA to hone the material for their next record, “Empire III,” and, as the band’s new records had to contain a fresh version of a previously released song, to play older tracks. “Not sure why Peter liked doing that. But it could have been because he was basically an instrumentalist at heart,” says singer Sydney Foxx, better known as Sidonie Jordan now. They never toured yet the ensemble could have been great in a live situation, given the vigor of these soundboard recordings that capture the band going through their repertoire and developing the pieces along the way.
And it’s not just cuts from the EMPIRE lore, as Banks and his team rave and rage through a lot of unreleased melodies as well as a wild take on Leonard Bernstein’s “Something’s Coming,” an early YES’ concert staple, without showing an iota of regular rehearsal noodling. Such a vivacity on the otherwise overtly artsy compositions comes from Foxx, whose bluesy pipes shine on the likes of “Out Of Our Hands” before Banks starts rocking and Paul Delph engages his synthesizers in a duel with guitar. More so, there’s humor – something most people don’t associate with Peter in particular and prog rock as a whole – in the fusion of “Where Yes Means No” or sophisticated jamming of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar And Grill” where effervescent funk rules the game, and the groovy “Do What You Want” only ups the playfulness of the performance.
It’s the instrumental interplay, though, that creates a multicolored canvas from the segueing, out of the new album, of proggy “Foundation” with a disco of “Destiny” and the soulful “Far Away” for the voice to embroider, which waves the magic and waives the quality warts. “Peter famously would have preferred not to have worked with lead singers, but they were necessary to procuring record deals!” adds Sidonie. Without voice, “Off With The King’s Head” sounds rather undercooked, unlike “When The Banks Overflow” which is filled with Peter’s trademark curlicues, and then there’s “The Fall Of The Empire” – short, if enchanting piece that marries sharp riffs to lyrical runs.
“It was also a challenge to him musically and production-wise to recreate something in the studio It was very difficult and we were not successful in that. For example, ‘The Sky At Night’ was brilliant on the first album. On the second it was lackluster,” points out Jordan. But this double-CD set offers the earliest, most delicate version of the song as a bonus track: laid down with Phil Collins on drums and Sam Gopal on tabla for the ZOK AND THE RADAR BOYS project which never got off the ground, it’s still a brilliant jazz ballad, while the whole collection is a testament to EMPIRE’s grandness.
***1/4

 Review: Polish review translated


Peter Banks Empire - The Mars Tapes 
Author: Artur Chachlowski 
02/27/2015. 
This album is a sign of some sort of sentiment. Sentiment we have for meritorious and rock artists already absent (Peter Banks died in 2013). 
As you know, Peter Banks is one of the members of the first composition of the group Yes. After the departure of the legendary band worked in different projects.Among other things, played in teams Blodwyn Pig, Harmony In Diversity, Flash and the Empire. The latter was a joint venture between Banks and vocalist, then his wife, Sydney Foxx (real name: Sidonie Jordan). In the 70s appeared three albums branded as Empire. Now, years later, after the death of the artist, shows the fourth - "The Mars Tapes". It contains a record of the trials and videos "work in progress", which took place in 1979 in the famous Mars Studios in Los Angeles. Nearly 100 minutes of music, which is found on issued by Gonzo Multimedia album, the songs of all levels of production. Some of them are finished products, some of this demo, and some of this is just the musical sketches and initial fitting. Some of them are instrumentals, part sung by Sydney Foxx. But in all hear immense talent as a composer and executive Peter. 
This remarkable album is one of the manifestations of the esteem in which Peter Banks for many years enjoyed in the world of rock music. There is also a posthumous tribute to his work. Never before made public unreleased music, which undoubtedly still await many supporters of his work. 
With the chronicler's duty even remember the names of musicians accompanying then Banksowi in the recording studio. Played bass guitar John Giblin and Brad Stephenson, Paul Delph synthesizers and Jakob Magnusson, tabla - Sam Gobal, and on drums and Mark Murdock ... Phil Collins, who at the time worked with Peter Banks in another project called jazzrockowym Zok And The Radar Boys.

 Review: Canadian Review


Band: Peter Bank’s Empire

CD Title: The Mars Tapes

Label: Gonzo Multi-Media (2014)
Original Yes guitarist Peter Banks had quite a productive musical career after leaving the symphonic proggers. After a solo disc and then three discs with the band Flash he went on to form Empire. This two disc set represents the rehearsal tapes for what would eventually become Empire III released in 1979. The sound is that classic seventies progressive rock, with mostly longer songs featuring Bank’s guitar solos everywhere. I find it difficult to make the distinction of his guitar work sounding like early Yes because it sounds equally Flash and ultimately Empire. Perhaps the primary distinguishing feature of Empire was the powerful vocals of Sidonie Jordan. She brings a bluesy intensity to the musical proceedings that set it apart from other prog inspired music of the day. As you would expect there are plenty of musical change-ups given that many of these compositions are built of varying segments or bits of music. There’s a fair bit of music on these two discs and some of it does seem to go nowhere, just jamming. Other times the songs just sound rather ordinary as if the band were simply playing to see where their music would go. Ultimately it’s an insight into the inner workings of the band on the studio floor. There was a fair bit of debate on whether to actually release this material given it’s rough, off-the-the-floor sound. In truth the mix is a little flat in spots and there’s plenty of tape or studio hiss to go around. Still it’s a valuable document showing the band in more-or-less a live situation full of energy and musical ideas. Fans of Peter Banks will undoubtedly have much to appreciate as they listen to The Mars Tapes.

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