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12 Jun 2017

Polyphony "Without Introduction" 1971 US Prog Psych

at Beach Theatre Virginia Beach, VA.

Glenn P. Howard on stage in Virginia Beach, Virginia USA with Polyphony

Polyphony  "Without Introduction" 1971 US Prog Psych...highly recommended...


Influenced by the early UK exponents of prog including Keith Emerson, Steve Howe & Peter Gabriel, 'Without Introduction',originally released in 1971, features stunning guitar, keyboard and percussion work along with surrealistic lyrics and off center vocals making it a jaw dropping album from one of the US's earliest progressive rock bands. Radio Active. 2005..............

Jaw-dropping 1972 album by one of the earliest progressive-rock bands from the U.S. Long, complex tracks full of Hendrix-like acid guitar leads, heavy Hammond organ, Moog, surrealistic lyrics and off-center vocals. A masterpiece of hard progressive and psychedelic stylings. Features remastered sound and original artwork, including an insert with photos and liner notes.....................

"What a lost gem this is! I have to thank PA member cannon for introducing me to this group, which I had literally never even heard of. This is the only album by this American band from Virginia. A collector's item before being reissued on CD. This is yet another one of those one-album wonders from the early 1970s where you wish there was a follow up. There was just so much great music coming out at the time that an album like this fell through the cracks. (Realistically, there was a lot of sh*t back then too). This is great prog from 1971, just as good as anything coming from the UK at the time.

The music can generally be described as equal parts symphonic prog and space rock. Not very derivitive but the organ work is very Emersonian (more The Nice than ELP though). The synth work is good but I've heard better tones used on analog monophonic synthesizers. This is your typical guitar/keyboards/bass/drums line-up but with a percussionist added. The added percussion only makes the already great music even better. Everyone except the drummer and percussionist do vocal duties. The album features two epics and two shorter tracks.

"Juggernaut" is mostly instrumental. There's lots going on and the music changes a lot. After 9 minutes is one of the greatest vocal sections in all of progdom. Lovely organ playing and echoed vocals are joined by the rhythm section and sinister sounding guitar. Very memorable section, I've had it stuck in my head a few times. "40 Second Thing In 39 Seconds" has a bizarre title, mainly because the song itself is over a minute long. This song is literally an afterthought, but it's what I refer to as "filler that works." It begins with an announcement of the first take; the voice has an accent that leaves you in no doubt that they are not from anywhere but the USA. The whole track is basically noodling on the MiniMoog. It starts out sounding like the beginning of "Baba O'Reilly" and ends sounding more like an organ.

Compared to "Juggernaut," the second half starts out more psych/space sounding. "Ariel's Flight: a) Gorgons Of The Glade b) The Oneirocritic Man c) The Gift Of The Frog Prince" is probably the highlight of the whole album, although the whole thing is very consistent. I like how the bass does a pause/unpause dynamic when the vocals enter. Great organ playing in this track. Gets into an awesome groove in the middle. Later gets more spacey with treated vocals. Near the end the music is in almost a waltz style. Great vocal melody in this part. You can listen to last song "Crimson Dagger" here on PA. This starts off in a rockin' symphonic way. Gets spacier and freer sounding for awhile. Some back-up harmony singing during the vocal section. The song ends abruptly; don't know if it did that on the original vinyl.

My only real complaint with this album is that abrupt ending. The only time I like abrupt endings to a song is when they are immediately followed by the next song. I don't like it when it happens at the end of an album. Apart from that, this is almost flawless. Great compositions, great playing and great production for 1971. More people need to hear this album, it truly is a masterpiece of progressive rock. 5 stars." @ ProgArchives...........

I moved to Richmond, Va in 1974 just a year after Polyphony put this album out. Have had it for almost 40 years. As far as progressive rock, it is similar to the first side of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's second album "Tarkus". "The Crimson Dagger" could be a sequel to Side 1 of Tarkus., especially Eruption and Stones of Years. The final selection "40 Second thing in 39 seconds" reminds me of Bill Bruford's unfinished piece on Yes Fragile "5 Percent of Nothing" only more polished and final. It is a blow to the music progressive rock brings that Polyphony did not stay together. Two band members did form a nightclub based band called "Glass Moon"in 1974 and continued playing for 2 years. Their synthesizer emphasis would make one think of early Yes and Tony Kaye's band Badger but they too did not linger long. Still an outstanding creation for one album !........By Bruce Simon..................

Polyphony’s "Without Introduction" is renowned for being a highly-collectable and listenable album of psych/prog jams reminiscent of some of the British or Italian psych monsters from the early ‘70s. Released in 1971 on the Eleventh Hours label (Eleventh Hour 1003), this hard progressive rock outfit from Virginia features some stunning guitar and keyboard work, as well as a percussionist at home on congas, timbales and just about everything hittable. The band is definitely influenced by early UK exponents of prog including Keith Emerson, Steve Howe and Peter Gabriel. The stunning original artwork lends itself perfectly to the album’s inspired music.
A rare and obscure gem !.................

Hunters and collectors, there is an operating field!

Polyphony is an American band that recorded an album in 1971 - and thus closed their discography again. But with the almost 40 minutes of music that came into being, it provided an important piece of work for the early American prog, which generally is rather little noticed. Nowadays, the record has become a rarity, which, however, has been circulating for several years in the form of an apocryphal CD publication.

The musical melange on "Without Introduction" mirrors its origins in many facets. Fuzz and slide guitar sounds paired with keyboard sounds a là Keith Emerson and seem to want to document in this combination the progrowing of the psychedelic era. The singing contributes to a distinct Sixties touch especially in the last track. In front of the mental eye, ruffled shirts emerge involuntarily. However, the music of Polyphony is largely instrumental. The frequent use of percussion instruments is striking and rather "unsophonic". There are even passages that have a certain Latin touch.

All in all, I would say that the music of "Polyphony" has received strong suggestions through "The Nice" and the early ELP. But it is less cultural and less trimmed with show effects than with the British (also less diatonic, if I want to venture out on the dangerous terrain of musical terms). One could also describe it differently: where the musicians around Emerson had all hands to do with banging their audience, Polyphony apparently still had time for one or the other joint. With their compositions the band does not have to hide.

It's really difficult to score points. Although it is a rare and treasured piece from the great fundus of the prog, one can ignore badly against which overpowering masterpieces from the early 70s this music has to compete. So I give only 10 points, but advise anyone who accidentally stumbles over the J. Günther.................

The Americans Polyphony have shown themselves even more rooted in the sound of the psychedelic era than their British contemporaries. Despite this basis in the sound of the late 60s, the energetic compositions give the impression that the band wanted to snatch this very heritage at the same time. So they had undoubtedly arrived in the presence of the symphonic variant of the progressive rock music, as evidenced by the frenetic use of the Moog synthesizer and powerful bass lines. The arrival of a Latin-oriented percussion in the form of a fixed conga player lends the whole a special note.

In the opener "Juggernaut", Polyphony present themselves between tantalizing psychedelics and progressive dynamic symphonics. It is precisely in this "struggle" between these opposites that the charm of the truly unique sound of "Without Introduction" lies. After the explosive Moogintermezzo "40 Second Thing In 39 Seconds", the title "Ariel's Flight" brings all this to the top, which leads to the climax of the entire album in a "Symphonic-Trip-Sound" hardly heard by other bands , The vocals, which are only very late, make memories of Lee Jackson in the service of Refugee in connection with the euphoric touch tone. With the rather discreet "Crimson Dagger" rooted in the vocal lines still in the sixties, an impressive testimony of the early phase of the US prog.

By the way, a professionally designed CD release by the Greek label Acid Symposium from the year 2004 is Straske ..............

Martin Ruddy - bass, vocals
Christopher Spong - drums
Craig Massey - vocals, organ, moog
Glenn Howard - vocals, guitars
Chatty Cooper - percussion

A1 Juggernaut 14:04
A2 40 Second Thing In 39 Seconds 1:07
Ariels Flight (15:15)
B1.1 Gorgons Of The Glade
B1.2 The Oneirocritic Man
B1.3 The Frog Prince
B2 Crimson Dagger 7:05 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

Cassete Deck