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Lucifer Rising (And Other Sound Tracks)
[Click above for album images]

You'll need a turntable to hear this release as it will not be available in any other format but a vinyl LP - a decision Jimmy Page perhaps took as a tribute to the epoch when the material was recorded while subtly hinting at its exclusivity. A compilation of Page's early Seventies avant-garde experiments is certainly not for the mass market and not for the mass listener. If it resembles Led Zeppelin in any way, then only in its broodingly dark atmosphere or the way it offers a glimpse of the fertilizer ground from which ideas sprang in the band. A lot of creative audacity and experimental courage went into making the music on this record, but none of it has anything to do with rock, Page interested not in riffs or melodies, but mainly in exploring sound per se, going where the sonic properties of his instruments lead him.

Following the path first trodden by Brian Jones with his recordings of traditional Moroccan music - and in resonance with the fashions of that time - Jimmy Page here ventures further than Jones, mixing the inspiration received from the Eastern music with his personal inner realities in a bid to reach beyond Western cultural codes and practices.

In this sense it's a deeply self-indulgent record, as Page has no wish to entertain, instead choosing to communicate with his inner self to unravel his own potentialities and to tap into what can be awakened within. So it is slightly ironic that when this type of self-discovery in the end did prove successful, the evidence was not in Page's experimental material, but in the songs and the sounds of Led Zeppelin. In this sense his experiments such as these did serve a purpose - having enriched the music of his band - but never amounted to a substantial contribution to the avant-garde music.

Most of the sounds and vibes on this release would sound outlandish to an average rock audience, but die-hard fans of LZ would perhaps hear echoes of Bonzo's accents and patters in the tabla parts of the title track, and hints of the blues on the East-meets-West gem "Unharmonics". The haunted, at times luminously eerie "Unharmonics" is perhaps the closest this release gets to rock with its mix of traditional Indian music and the bluesy guitar sounding as if learned by an alien and reaching us from a different planet, carrying a deeper mystery with its twilight glow than any other material released by Page to date. Other pieces - including the infamous title track which never made it to the final cut of Kenneth Anger's film - are mostly juxtapositions and mixtures of textures and sounds, tranced ostinato repetitions, and experiments with timbre, where Page is more interested in the atmospherics than composition.

On the one hand this release is a relic - the product of the time when rock musicians were looking toward the East for guidance and inspiration, just like the early XX century esoterics who preceded them. But on the other hand this music is curiously timeless, not chasing or creating any trends, not following any prescribed patterns, and aiming at a purpose deeper than reflections on one's own immediate surroundings. It is also simultaneously abstract and deeply personal, self-indulgent but also self-forgetting in an attempt to engage the forces that have been here since the dawn of time.

Whether this release will be understood or misunderstood, one thing is for sure - no-one will ever write music like this. Not only because of the singularity of its author, but also because the times have irreversibly changed and a different age is now upon us where the price for self-search is either obscurity or complete anonymity. -Hardrock Haven
Statistics

Released:
Mar. 20, 2012

Tracks

1. Lucifer Rising - Main Track
2. Incubus
3. Damask
4. Unharmonics
5. Damask - Ambient
6. Lucifer Rising - Percussive Return
Quick Fact

The cover image is based on Gustave Doré's Dream of the Eagle
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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