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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 13. 1970

Incredible String Band I Looked Up: Electra

Incredible String Band I Looked Up: Electra

Photo of Electra

"One light,
Light that is one
Though the lamps
Be many."

The Incredible String Band is a history of progression from the "Layers of the Onion", through to this latest trip.

Coming from a fairly standard folk background they have gone through a fusion of blues, Indian and in fact just about everything, bringing their own sound into the world, peaking with "Wee Tarn" and "The Big Huge".

Those two albums took two years to produce, and showed it, but after a break of about six months, "Changing Horses" was unleashed on an innocent world which dutifully ignored it. This was not surprising—it had none of the perfection of the previous albums and sounded like a live take in the studio. Now after another six months we have a new thing, with the epitomies of Robin Williamson and Mike Heron. Heron's soul and Williamson's hang-up on Indian-blues arc all there, to the Finest point of expression yet.

There are only six tracks on the album, four Heron and two Williamson, but all are the best they have done. As in early times a heavy reliance on tradition is observed, the first Heron track, "Black Jack Davy" is just another "Gipsy Rover" complete with fiddles and trad, harmonies and Williamson's 10 minute "Pictures in a Mirror" is based on the "Lord Randal" ballads. The one electric track is excellent, using guitars, harpsichord, and drums supplied by Dave Mattacks of Fairport Convention.

Both lyrically and musically there is a definite progression, in Heron's "This Moment" one can hear the search for perfection in guitar work, vocals and harmony.

This moment is different
From any before it
This moment is different
Its now. (Its now)
And if I don't kiss face
That kiss is untasted
I'll never, no never
Get it back, no."

There is no middle of the road with the Incredibles, they are loved or hated, turned on, or off.

Murray O'Neill