Rush: The (Partial) Series – Hemispheres (1978)
I have an idea.
I’m gonna take Cygnus X-1 (in its entirety) from A Farewell To Kings, then Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres from the Hemispheres record and make a whole new, dedicated album out of it on a CD-R.
Surely I am not original in this. There are probably entire blogs and web pages dedicated to the intricacies and beauty of pasting the two parts together. Have any of you guys ever done this? How did it turn out?
[And if, inexplicably, no one in the history of ever has ever done this before and I am truly original in this, just remember that you heard it here first! However, I highly doubt this is the case.]
Anyway, Hemispheres. Holy hell this is HUGE!
Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres rocks and sways as instrumental tune, as full-on rock song, as experimental outlet, you name it. There’s so much to love here. I’m thinking it’s (long before now) redundant to express the opinion that Rush is ‘very creative?’ Haha.
In it’s entirety, the parts go like this: Prelude/Apollo: Bringer Of Wisdom/Dionysus: Bringer Of Love/Armageddon: The Battle Of Heart And Mind/Cygnus: Bringer Of Balance/The Sphere: A Kind Of Dream. Total time 18:04.
The cycle shows them in high flying form. Synths are appearing in these big rawk tracks. There are trippy patches, sometimes a bit of a drone, lots of big guitars and rolling drums. The whole thing ends gently, on acoustic… All you need to know is that it’s brilliant (wait, that’s redundant too!). It’s Rush. YEAH!
Circumstances is next, and it ought to have been a radio hit. It’s a pure Rush rawk track, lots of slippery hi-hat, odd time signatures, intricate guitars… hell yeah!
The Trees I knew from CD1 of Chronicles. You know this song. The medieval sound is back, in the intro. Then, of course, they’re off and rocking quickly enough. I loved the instrumental bit in the middle. Only Rush could get away with this song and not make it sound totally pretentious (or like they were really, really high).
La Villa Strangiata is another that we all know well. What an awesome track! Since I only owned Chronicles for the longest time, and since I never bothered to look deeper, I never realized that this song was actually in twelve parts (over it 9:34):
i) Buenos Nochas, Mein Froinds! / ii) To Sleep, perchance to dream… / iii) Strangiato Theme / iv) A Lerxt In Wonderland / v) Monsters! / vi) The Ghost Of The Aragon / vii) Danforth And Pape / viii) The Waltz Of The Shreves / ix) Never turn your back on a Monster! / x) Monsters! (Reprise) / xi) Strangiato Theme (Reprise) / xii) A Farewell To Things.
In sum: This is an insanely ambitious, perfectly-realized album. The musicianship is boggling, the songs highly intricate and compelling while still rocking out. In other words: it’s a Rush album. Full marks!!
Thanks ever so much to Our Brother Lebrain, Patron Saint Of The Rawk for getting this gem into my hot little hands!