Wednesday, January 9, 2013
scrap224; Rush- HEMISPHERES
This is a Journey into Sound.....
Rush's 6th studio album, released in 1978 was a concept album like their critically acclaimed masterpiece 2112 but not quite as successful.
Following themes going back to Rush's second album, Fly by Night, on Hemispheres lyricist Neil Peart continues to heavily utilize fantasy and science fiction motifs. Similar to their 1976 release, 2112, Hemispheres contains a single, epic song broken into chapters as the first side of the album ("Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres") while the second half contains two more conventionally-executed tracks, "Circumstances" and "The Trees."
The album's final track, the ambitious nine-and-a-half-minute "La Villa Strangiato," was the band's first instrumental release. According to Peart the band spent more time recording "La Villa Strangiato" than they did recording the entire Fly by Night album.
All that time and effort were worth it after just listening to this album once.
The album contains examples of Rush's adherence to progressive rock standards including the use of epic, multi-movement song structures, complex rhythms and time signatures, and flexible guitar solos, like those found in "La Villa Strangiato." In the 2010 documentary film Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, the band members comment that the stress of recording Hemispheres was a major factor in their decision to start moving away from suites and long-form pieces in their songwriting. That change in philosophy would manifest itself in the band's next album, the considerably more accessible Permanent Waves.
For a short period of time, the album was available in Canada also as a red vinyl LP in a gatefold sleeve with poster (catalogue number SANR-1-1015), and as a limited edition picture disc (catalog number SRP-1300), both of which have become much sought after collector's items. I own the picture LP version!
Side A or the Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres side is 18:08 in length & broken up into 6 movements;
II. Apollo (Bringer of Wisdom)
III. Dionysus (Bringer of Love)
IV. Armageddon (The Battle of Heart and Mind)
V. Cygnus (Bringer of Balance)
VI. The Sphere (A Kind of Dream)
This epic song deals with the story from Cygnus X-1 on the album A Farewell to Kings. It uses the Greek Mythology of Apollo, the god of Reason, and Dionysus, the god of Love. The followers of Apollo believe straight logic can lead them while the followers of Dionysus believe that love will lead them. Civil War ensues until the adventurer from Cygnus X-1 comes across this world. Since traveling through Cygnus X-1, a black hole, his body has been destroyed but he can still see and think. He becomes upset with the war and cries out to the people, Apollo, and Dionysus. The people hear his cry, stop fighting, unite, and proclaim the hero Cygnus, the god of Balance. Pretty heavy stuff if your so inclined to think while listening to music. Besides I have always considered Rush to be the thinking mans band.
The other songs on the album include CIRCUMSTANCES (Geddy sings some in French on the heavy track). THE TREES (whether Neil Peart knew it or not, I have always considered this a song about the haves & the have nots) & LA VILLA STRANGIATO (an exercise in self-indulgence). This track is over 9 minutes in length. It is broken up into differing movements like that of the first track.
I. Buenos Nochas, Mein Froinds!
II. To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...
III. Strangiato Theme
IV. A Lerxst in Wonderland
VI. The Ghost of the Aragon
VII. Danforth and Pape
VIII. The Waltz of the Shreves
IX. Never Turn Your Back on a Monster!
X. Monsters! (Reprise)
XI. Strangiato Theme (Reprise)
XII. A Farewell to Things
This album is a monster start to finish. This is considered by many fans & Rush themselves to be the last of their EPIC songs in terms of length. They so far have remained true to that pledge. HEMISPHERES represents the end of the beginning 'golden' age of Rush & the turning of the page to something different. I love this album. Spin It.