The music enters a new phase of intensity with Jean Luc providing a soaring solo at 4 minutes, we have a drum cadenza from NMW and then the rotation starts again and a beautiful electric piano joins the party, the bass player gently grooving along. Another transition as the whole piece goes up a level with a furious interjection from the orchestra. This is a perfect example of how well it integrates; the mood is more energised by the orchestra’s involvement.
Now down to small forces and John takes up the riff with NMW vibing along on the high hat. This is great wonderful progressive jazz rock utterly believable and real. Jean Luc puts in a bravura performance, improvising over the vibing rhythm section. Very neatly and gently and cleanly “Howe like” John takes up the baton and NMW is still there full of minimalist energy. This is wired up ensemble work pushing prodding John on more flights of fancy.
At 11.58 a pure “Birds of Fire” moment where the guitar catches fire and the big riff returns ascending until the tension breaks and the rotating arpeggios take the piece out with a nice relatively calm climax from Jean Luc followed by the strings and then John brings it down to a beautifully volume restrained ending.
12 minutes of unrestrained bravura performances but at its heart a focused creative mind whose vision informs all the forces involved.
38 years late I have discovered a gem to add to my collection. Why did I not inquire back then. By 1974 music ambitious expansive music was already on the retreat. Many progressive rock bands were said to have over extended themselves and Gabriel and Fripp walked away from the genre. Apocalypse with its mezzo soprano and orchestra was in the firing line just as Passion Play, Topographic Oceans and Lamb were and I remember a negative review closed out my enquiry. Some of these works may or may not justify the criticism they received but this work stands the test of time. Better late than never!!