35 years later, the music of Egg remains interesting, enjoyable, challenging and visceral. They were too good to be copied and too intellectual to be widely popular (same as today really). As an early 70s keyboards / bass & vocals / drums line-up you might expect an ELP type affair but Egg had nothing to do with pomp, showmanship or excess. Egg was serious stuff: difficult time signatures, unsettling keys, tight-as-hell drumming, experiments in noise, powerful bass playing, thoughtful lyrics (delivered with a strong voice), a head on crash between classical, jazz and the avante-garde. I see from this website that the New Eclectic Discs label have remastered them. I recommend this and The Polite Force without qualification (The Civil Surface was, I think, a re-union affair and not up to the illustrious standard of the other two).
"If I ever find
what I'm looking for
I will be absorbed and
Never write again."
(All Album Reviews by Phil Jackson)
Much has been written about Egg’s debut album on Decca’s budget progressive rock label, Deram Nova and I well remember taking a chance on this one in my student days. I’ve stuck with it, and indeed all of Egg’s music, since it sounds as relevant today as it did way back then.
“While Growing My Hair” might be corny to some but it is a sentiment of its age and gives an early impression of a precocious and prodigious musical talent. “I Will Be Absorbed” still stands up well as an intensely introspective piece of jazz rock while “Fugue in D Minor” is an adaptation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Fugue in D Minor” later to be sampled by experimentalists Add ‘N’ To ‘X’. ‘The Song of McGillicudie the Pusillanimous’ (etc.) was seemingly influenced by The Nice and is in 5/8 and has a theme that would be later developed on “Contrasong” with its 5/8 and 9/8 time signatures and brass section. One of the short experimental pieces “Boilk” would be also be expanded upon in Egg’s second album.
“Symphony No.2” would also find a resonance in “Long Piece #3” on The Polite Force. Both ‘suites’ are notable in their own way with popular classical music ‘mentioned in dispatches’ (notably Grieg’s “In The Hall of the Mountain King” as well as a quotation from Holst’s “The Planets”). Bartok and Stravinsky are other composers that influenced Egg’s music as well as ‘avant garde’ composers such as Stockhausen as evidenced by the amazing sound collage of “Blane” (whose later equivalent was the second “Boilk”) on which Dave Stewart experiments with a tone generator.The album goes out as it comes in with a demonstration of brilliant musicianship in the succinct solos by the formidable Mont Campbell on bass and Clive Brooks on drums in the “Fourth Movement”.
The Esoteric remaster benefits not only from a deluxe repackaging but also from the restoration of the ‘missing’ “Third Movement” and from two bonus tracks, the whimsical single “Seven is a Jolly Good Time”, an early Nice like song that was hardly likely to catch on given the subject matter even in those relatively enlightened times. The ‘b side’ “You Are All Princes”, in similar vein but perhaps a more obvious choice for a 7” release, is also included.
Now the definitive Egg release, this album is a must for all collectors and all those with a passion for classic progressive rock.