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I Looked Up
Incredible String Band
I Looked Up
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Limited Edition Japanese pressing of this album comes housed in a miniature LP sleeve. Strange. 2006.


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CD Details

All Artists: Incredible String Band
Title: I Looked Up
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Warner Spec. Mkt. UK
Release Date: 1/13/2008
Album Type: Import
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Styles: Bluegrass, British & Celtic Folk, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 075596276023


Album Description
Limited Edition Japanese pressing of this album comes housed in a miniature LP sleeve. Strange. 2006.

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CD Reviews

Larry L. Looney | Austin, Texas USA | 06/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Originally issued in 1970, I LOOKED UP represents the end of the Robin/Mike/Likky/Rose period of the Incredible String Band. Later that same year would see te release of the 2-lp set U, which would introduce new faces and influences into the melting pot that was the 'sound' of the ISB.Other than being the last album by this line-up, I LOOKED UP is notable for several other reasons -- for one thing, it was the last album they recorded that was mostly acoustic (I don't consider the occasional presence of a quiet electric guitar to be as poisonous as some might). It also contains two of Robin Williamson's most memorable compositions: 'When you find out who you are' is an insightful treatise on growing older and 'finding' onself -- something we all go through, whether we pay attention to it or not; and the simply amazing 'Pictures in a mirror', which takes Lord Randall through imprisonment, execution, death, darkness and ultimate rebirth, all in less than 11 minutes. Robin's works always tended more toward the mystical than Mike's (with some exceptions on both sides -- neither writer's scope was so narrow as to never wander...), and this song is a sterling example of his mind-stretching perceptions.Mike Heron contributes some nice tunes as well, although not quite as 'deep', at least in this outing. 'Black Jack David' begins the album, a rousing fiddle tune -- it quickly became a concert favorite. 'The letter' is my least favorite track here, Heron's attempt at a pop song -- but his other two offerings in this set are excellent: 'This moment' is almost Zen-like in its view of reality-as-now; and 'Fair as you' is simply a touchingly beautiful love song, sung as a call-and-response duet with Likky McKechnie. Her child-like voice was one of the ISB's sweetest 'trademark' sounds during the period during which she was associated with the band.Not their greatest effort, but certainly a fine collection of well-written tunes. With the advent of U, Malcom LeMaistre would come on board, and beginning with LIQUID ACROBAT AS REGARDS THE AIR a couple of years down the road, their sound would turn increasingly electric and (if you can believe it from their early work) 'pop', undoubtedly, to some extent, brought on by pressure from their record companies to become more 'marketable'.They're back together now, in 2001: Robin Williamson, Mike Heron, and Clive Palmer -- the three original members, from the very first album -- along with Bina Williamson and Dawson Lando (I hope I've gotten his name right! If not, sorry...) from Robin's latest band. We'll see how well they can revive the old magic..!"
I Looked Sideways
Tom | London | 07/23/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

""I Looked Up" is another one of the Incredible String Band's transitional albums, no less a figure than Robin Williamson has described this album as a tentative step towards the more polished electric style of "Liquid Acrobat". The album has a rushed feel, as if it had been recorded as quickly as possible. All in all, with 4 Mike Heron songs and two epics from Williamson, this is an unusual ISB album to say the least. From Heron, we get the first, rather faltering version of his "Black Jack Davy/David", personally I prefer the version on "Earthspan". "The Letter" maps out the future for ISB, with Rose Simpson on bass, and (gulp) Dave Mattacks on drums, Heron fills up the rest of the track with electric guitars, the result being an odd elliptical take on a "rock song" - the lyrics are banal in the extreme, demonstrating the band's [..] move away from mysticism to openness and simplicity. "This Moment" is a favourite song of many ISB fans, melodically related to Leonard Cohen's "Bird On A Wire", it's a nice but somewhat cloying song, Likky's vocals are, as ever, an acquired case and the song is simply too long. Heron's last song is "Fair As You", a lovely underrated song which features a nice duet vocal from Likky and Rose (why didn't Rose sing more?), pure hippy idyll but none the worse for it. Which brings us to the problematic side of album, the songs of Robin Williamson - it seems as if Robin was going through a period of gigantism, following on from the 16 minute "Creation" on "Changing Horses", both of his contributions here sail way beyond the ten minute mark, though thankfully neither are a cringingly pretentious and self-indulgent as "Creation". "When You Find Out Who You Are" is lyrically a curiously didactic piece [...] and musically rather laborious. The old Williamson method of welding together various disparate musical elements leads to a bit of a Frankenstein's monster of a track with lumbering and inexact drumming from Likky, out-of-tune bass from Rose and Mike Heron apparently making it up as he goes along on piano - Robin's on good form though. "Pictures In A Mirror" is simply one of the most extraordinary pieces of music you are likely to hear, I still can't make my mind up about it, at times I think it's an unlistenable, self-indulgent piece of trash, at others that it's an incredibly brave and innovative attempt a new musical form. The track has a dark, Eastern European feel to it, thanks to Robin's gypsy violin and Likky's hammered dulcimer, once again Mike Heron has trouble following things on piano (and who can blame him!) - as for, Robin's vocals, well, they are unique to say the least! Lyrically, the song is a fascinating birth/ life/ death reincarnation epic, the Lord Randall of the songs appears to have no relation to the eponymous hero of the well-known folk song. [....] Overall, an interesting album but not an essential one."
A Lesser Album, best for the sweet female voices.
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 06/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"`I Looked Up' by the four member The Incredible String Band lead by Robin Williamson and Mike Heron is just a little different from all previous TISB albums, signaled by the change in cover art. The next most obvious sigh that this album is different is the fact that this may be the only TISB album where the majority of songs are by Mike Heron. The third distinction, flowing from the second, is that there is much less fantastical content.

And, if that is what you always liked about TISB, then you may, as I do, feel just a bit let down by this album. That is not to say that when I start a TISB listening jag, as I do about once a year, that I skip this album, the way I often do with `The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion' or `Hard Rope & Silken Twine'. This may be because I am especially fond of the sweet voices from Rose and Licorice which seem to show up a bit more strongly on this album than on earlier releases, but then that may just be that in the absence of other strong qualities, this virtue stands out.

With only six numbers and four out of six being written by the less interesting Heron, this is an album you will probably want to get eventually to fill out a `complete set' of TISB recordings, but you can leave it until you have all the albums which come before it in time.