Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Zig-zagging through a debut album of brass laced avant-rock originals like " General Clover Ends A War"?an an eye opening cover of Richard Strauss's "Zarathustra"?Ars Nova was anything but three chords and a cloud of dust.... more »
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Zig-zagging through a debut album of brass laced avant-rock originals like " General Clover Ends A War"?an an eye opening cover of Richard Strauss's "Zarathustra"?Ars Nova was anything but three chords and a cloud of dust. The brainy NYC combo, led by Wyatt Day and Jon Pierson, scored its first gig of note in 1968, opening for the Doors at the Fillmore East. The group?s album got rave notices everywhere?and Ars Nova has since become one of art-rock's undiscovered treasures.
A Group for the Ages
Robert H Zayas | Fort Myers, FL USA | 07/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first age of man is childhood. I grew up in the sixties in a household that listened to classical music. I did not like rock and roll music until I heard Ars Nova. They allowed me to make the transition into the mainstream. Their classical approach to music made rock and roll palatable to me.
The first song "Pavane For My Lady" has a pleasant sentiment and melody. It is sung in a high register that made me afraid that I was in for an entire album of that. The next song "General Clover Ends a War" banished those fears with its more powerful vocals and pounding drums. It begins with a fanfare. If you listen to just the right, and then just the left channel of the fanfare, you will hear a good example of harmonics. "Album In Your Mind" sounds like a precursor to Cat Stevens'
"Matthew and Son," and features an amusing prototypical father character. "Fields of People" is the original version of that song despite what is written elsewhere, and is a fine one at that, featuring matchless vocals by Jon Pierson. The rest of the songs on the album live up to their enigmatic titles.
The second age of man is adolescence, a time when young people tend to rush through their lovemaking. Likewise, instead of a gradual progression up to modern music over a long long period of time, Ars Nova put plenty of jazz, bossa nova, and be-bop on their second album, and seems to end up with nowhere to go from there. The first harbinger of this was disconcerting bits of what sounds like dixieland on their first album during the song "Automatic Love". So instead of a long musical journey, Ars Nova arrives at their destination on the second album when half the fun (and half the success) could have been in getting there. Ironic that their successor group called album three "'Terminal' Barbershop," since they had already arrived at their last stop.
The third age of man is adulthood, when people need to make a living. I think with all its talent, perhaps Ars Nova could have become a franchise like the Beach Boys (who spent three months making "Good Vibrations," which was the same amount of time Ars Nova spent making their first album, and the care taken by Ars Nova really shows) or Chicago (which was another horn group like Ars Nova). Sadly, Ars Nova might have been gradually working their way up musically to the present day, instead of shooting the works in 1969. So maybe it wasn't a poor performance after a long layoff that did them in after all."
One of the first classical rock fusions
Stephen F Mulcahy | United States | 06/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"ars nova's debut was one of the 1st classical/ rock fusions. the band mixed elements of the psychedelic style of the period with a heavy infusion of classical and renaissance music. along with acts like the new york rock and roll ensemble, ars nova pioneered the style of 'baroque rock', a subgenre of rock that is little remembered today.ars nova's album is , overall, a mixed bag, but still pretty good. for me, the highlight of the album is fields of people, a very middle ages sounding kind of thing that was later covered by english legends the move on their 2nd lp, shazam. the move version, a rather heavy extended piece with spanish bolero parts and a raga rock ending, is a classic, but ars nova's original is hardly weak. the eerie march of the mad duke's circus is another standout track, as is and how am i to know, a droning psychedelic number with cool guitar. the band do a not very successful version of zarathusra. pavane for my lady is a nice, breezy , laid back opening number. there are some other decent tracks here, and one wonders what the band might have come up with. unfortunately, the band's performance opening up for the doors at one of the very first fillmore east concerts, was apparently a disaster. the band broke up soon afterwards despite a feature article in newsweek magazine. about a year later the band reformed, with most of the original members absent from their 2nd lp, sunshine in shadows, a more pedestrian affair that nevertheless included a few decent cuts. ars nova featured good musicianship, interesting song ideas, and a quite original concept for a rock band. sometimes the vocalists are not all that effective though. while certainly not a great band, they remain an interesting curio from the golden age of rock. their album is worth a try for fans of obscure 60's rock music."
From My Teen Years....
Walter Johnson | Oregon | 05/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 60's were such a special time for musical diversity(SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW, RIGHT?). It's so good to see this on CD. And the songs are still beautiful, dated, yet enthralling. Not even a one hit wonder band, still, the album was and is a unique part of 60's hippie dippy love culture at it's best. Check it out!"