Online Archive  
Issue 8 - November 1972
Help Label - Island Records
Island have recently been releasing a number of cheaper records, for example Emerson Lake and Palmer's 'Pictures' and King Crimson's 'Earthbound', to name but two of the dozen so far released on the Help label.


This review looks at three records which are unlikely to get much 'air play' owing to the rather unusual music that is contained within these records.

The Habibiyya. Ian Whiteman, Roger Powell and friends, 'If man but knew'.

A whole range of instruments appear on 'If man but knew'; zither, mandola, oboe, flute and drums, to name but a few. It's incredibly difficult to tell you what a record such as this sounds like - it's almost impossible as I can't give you any similar sounds to refer to - unless you have been to Morocco and heard for yourself, it's like trying to describe how a good stone feels.

Ian and Roger came from a band called 'Mighty Baby' - quite a musical contrast when you hear the music they are playing now. Think you may enjoy a taste of this strange Moroccan music.

The Habibiyya are the followers of the venerable Shakya al-Habib.

Tibetan Bells - Henri Wolf and Nancy Hemmings.

Tibetan music, got any idea how it sounds? Probably not if you haven't been. This was my first taste. Here is an attempt to give you a general idea. All the sounds on this record are, I'm informed, made by the bells, apart from the occasional whistle. Some of the sounds that the bells produce are as if formed by a synthesiser.

Lie on your back, close your eyes and soar. "From the roof of the world you can see forever, float, glide and plummet then once more ascend." It's certainly not a record to bring you down anyway. Sounds echoing and icy, and sound you feel you can breathe.

Well that's it. I know I haven't given you a lot of ideas so I suggest the best thing to do is go to your nearest listen first, buy after (maybe) shop and hear it for yourself.

Westering Home - John Surman.

John Surman is quoted as being the world's top sax player (baritone and soprano), er well if that's what they say, but it's still a matter of opinion. Personally an album that I've tried to sit and listen to and get to feel but it leaves me cold, in fact for me it grates somewhat. Sorry John but you at least got a fair write-up in Melody Maker.

Still if it's avant garde jazz you like and you like saxes a lot then this could be one for your collection.

There's a nice picture on the sleeve.