July 3, 2013

20,000 vinyl LPs 22: Dave Greenslade ~ The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony

album art detail
art work by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album cover by Styrous©

One of the reasons everyone loves living in the San Francisco Bay Area is the weather. It has one of the mildest, moderate temperature ranges in the world. When it's too cold (50º), those of us who live here say, wait two or three days, it'll warm up. When it's too hot (80º), ditto to cool off. Well, we are now in the sixth day of an extremely rare heat wave of 100° plus temperatures in some parts of the bay area. And there are those who still insist there is no global warming. Yeah! Right!

This event brought to my mind many of the dire predictions in music of the destruction of our planet through war and climate change caused by our leaders indifference to their actions. From the first song I was aware of, "Eve of Destruction" (1965) by Barry McGuire, Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" (1970), with it's refrain, "They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot," and the Manfred Mann's Earth Band song, "Messin'" (1973), to use only a few examples, they've warned us of what we are doing to our world and the consequences of our actions.

The warning of global destruction reached the height of sophistication with the 1979 concept album conceived and written by Patrick Woodroffe with music by Dave Greenslade, The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony (the 5 books of the origin of the universe).

(click on any image to see slideshow)
art work by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album cover by Styrous©

With this album Greenslade abandoned his prog rock background. He took a que from Klaus Schulze and early 70's Tangerine Dream and brilliantly utilized synthesizers to create surrealistic music that was totally unique and chronicles the demise of an indeterminate planet (but read Earth).

The melodies have an amazing range of styles: an echoey, delicate, almost fairy-like sonnet, Glass; Three Brides, a quiet minuet; The Minstrel, a lively tarantella; Vivat Regina, a joyous, exuberant ode to life; the Barcarole, with it's gentle, almost reggae beat; the dreamy, other worldly closing piece, The Tiger and the Dove . . .

The Tiger and the Dove
art work by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album cover by Styrous©

. . . as well as heart-pounding, driving instrumentals. My favorites are a pair of numbers, Mischief and War. They are actually one song with Mischief, a strong, march-like beat that plows right into War which becomes a heavy, thundering, metallic-sounding dynamo that is quite an experience to hear.

art work by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album by Styrous©

Exile, is an eerie lament, featuring vocoder, bemoaning a world with a long-lifeless, motionless sea, "There is no air, the sea is dead".

"There is no air, the sea is Dead
art work by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album by Styrous©

The LP record album is actually a 12 ½ inch square hardback book with amazing art work by Patrick Woodroffe. Each and every time I look through the book I see something new I've never noticed before. Unfortunately, with the CD edition, due to it's diminutive size, the subtleties are not readily observable without a magnifying glass; also, the CD version does not have the impact the 12" LP format has (another instance to bemoan the death of the vinyl LP).

art work by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album cover back by Styrous©

Woodroffe created a whole fantasy world complete with an alien alphabet. The script he invented is fascinating.

alien alphabet designed by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album by Styrous©

It is ingenious how his art work and Greenslade's music are so well matched. The book is rich with illustrations that are magnificent and exceptionally beautiful . . .

The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony
art work by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album by Styrous©

photo of album by Styrous©

. . . and weird . . .

photo of album by Styrous©

photo of album by Styrous©

photo of album by Styrous©

The story: 'Pentateuch' concerns the discovery of an abandoned spacecraft drifting in space, and the project to decipher the ideograms in the pentateuch 'document' discovered within it. 

 alien space ship design by Patrick Woodroffe
photo of album by Styrous©

Love makes its appearance . . .

photo of album by Styrous©

and, of course, there are lots of space ships

photo of album by Styrous©

The book is a retelling of the document, as one of our modern day archiologists might very well translate the contents of a Babylonian tablet or an Egyptian papyrus scroll. The story is told in 21 tracks on two vinyl records. 

Track listings:

Side 1

    "Introit" – 4:05
    "Moondance" – 3:10
    "Beltempest" – 2.:41
    "Glass" – 3:02
    "Three Brides" † – 5:56

Side 2

    "Birds & Bats & Dragonflies" ‡ – 3:48
    "Nursery Hymn" ♦ – 3:32
    "The Minstrel" ‡ – 2:42
    "Fresco/Kashrinn" – 2:24
    "Barcarole" † – 3:51
    "Dry Land" – 3:54

Side 3

    "Forest Kingdom" † – 3:53
    "Vivat Regina" – 3:44
    "Scream but Not Heard" – 2:57
    "Mischief" ‡ – 5:36
    "War" †‡ – 3:06

Side 4

    "Lament for the Sea" † – 3:08
    "Miasma Generator" † – 5.23
    "Exile" – 2.33
    "Jubilate" – 3.00
    "The Tiger and the Dove" – 5.35

All titles were composed and played by Dave Greenlade except percussion played by Phil Collins on tracks marked with † and by John Lingwood on tracks marked with ‡. Vocals on track ♦ Nursery Hymn by Kate Greenslade (age 2 years and 6 months).

Dave Greenslade played Polymoog, Prophet 5, Roland Rs202, Yamaha Cs60 Synth, Yamaha Cs80 Synth, Yamaha Cp70b Piano, Arp Explorer, Arp Omni, Cat Synth, Church Organ, Crumar Stringman, Hohner Clavinet, Kitten Synth, Mellotron 400, Minimoog], Vibraphone, Tubular Bells, and Vocoder [Sennheiser] Programmed By [Sds Drum Synth 3].

left: Dave Greenslade      right: Patrick Woodroffe
photos by Alan R. Imberg

Links to music on YouTube:

The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony:
Complete album
The Tiger and the Dove

Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction
Joni Mitchel - Big Yellow Taxi
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Messin'

Links to the amazing art of Patrick Woodroffe can be seen here

This is one of the albums I taped and listened to over and over for the last 30 years so the records were only played twice and are in pristine condition. Even though I bought the CD version many years ago, because of the incredible artwork of the book, when I finally do sell my record collection this album will not go with it.

My many thanks to Dave Greenslade and Patrick Woodroffe for decades of listening and looking pleasure.

Styrous© ~ July 3, 2013



1 comment:

PLEASE NOTE: comments are moderated BEFORE they are posted so DO NOT appear immediately.

Thank you.