It was the middle of the 80’s – pianists were turning into keyboard players, acoustic tones were being driven out by synthetic swoops while rock music was morphing into the ridiculousness of hair metal and over the top superficial bullshit - I was 16 when this track came out and was smitten immediately.
It’s from Marillion’s third album – Misplaced Childhood – and I was probably hipped to it by my brother who was already listening to their earlier stuff like Fugazi and Script for a Jester’s Tear. They were a rock band and sure, they used snyths as much as anyone else, but for a piano player – this track was like an oasis in the desert.
I always struggled with the role of keyboard player, although I love the flexibility of the technology – the fact that I can hit a switch and be playing a Hammond B3 without having to lug one onto the stage – I’ve always been suspicious of the quality of the patches. I’m personally much more drawn to sounds that emulate real instruments than to the man made tones that you found everywhere in the 80’s – one or two songs aside – I don’t think they’ve aged terribly well.
Aside from the piano what’s also interesting about this is that it is basically the same riff repeated throughout the length of the track; there’s no musical distinction between verse & chorus. The dynamics of the track are all driven by instrumentation, lyric and performance; the idea that one simple idea can be expanded upon and developed into something much bigger and more interesting is at the heart of music2work2.
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