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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and rewarding journey
Waited a long time for a decent cd release of this album I bought on vinyl in 1974. This remastered edition is slip cased with reasonable booklet and has good sound quality but no bonus tracks. The opening 6 minute track is one of the most beautiful written by Mike and in contrast is followed by a typically haunting live track by Robin. The next is also an excellent track...
Published 14 months ago by Gra 53

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dated rambling and pretencious
I must say I have enjoyed some of this bands music
Way back in sixties but even then I found a great deal
Of pretencious rambling in their music too. To be honest
Listening to it now the pretenciousness is so clear and to be honest quite embarrasing to hear. Idiotic words which
A lot of young people then probably thought was great wisdom oh dear but we...
Published 10 months ago by c rider


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and rewarding journey, 28 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Hard Rope & Silken Twine (Audio CD)
Waited a long time for a decent cd release of this album I bought on vinyl in 1974. This remastered edition is slip cased with reasonable booklet and has good sound quality but no bonus tracks. The opening 6 minute track is one of the most beautiful written by Mike and in contrast is followed by a typically haunting live track by Robin. The next is also an excellent track in the 'Earthspan' style by Malcolm. For those yearning for a return to earlier days we are treated to a sitar driven track written by Robin. What was the final track of side two is another live track in the lighthearted vein of 'Hirem Pawnitof'. Which brings us to the 20 minute 'Ithkos'. I liked this song when I first heard it in 1974 and now nearly 40 years later I like it even more. It embraces many styles including rock and I actually enjoy it more than some of their earlier lengthy pieces. Like most ISB fans I would direct newcomers to the essential first four albums which peaked with Wee Tam and the Big Huge yet ironically many may prefer the sound of this album and so may be a good place to start before tracing them back to their roots. Whatever direction you take it will be like this album - an interesting and rewarding journey.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cruelly under-rated, 5 April 2013
By 
L. GERRARD (U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As somebody who adores the incredible string band's older output such as 5000 spirits,Wee tam and the Big Huge and Changing horses etc, I feel that the paucity of reviews on this album rather maligns it to a damaging degree for someone who is led to believe that it isn't worth approaching in any way shape or form.
Even if one were to sympathise with the view that "Ithkos" is an over-blown attempt at stadium rock and far too removed from the charm and innocent beauty of the incredibles earlier outings, it still fails to acknowledge the fantastic and really quite true to classic form of the first half of the album.

"Dreams of no return" is another melodic,hazy and spiritual Williamson classic,still imbued with the trademark Heron sitar of old.Lovely moods and a fine feel-good chorus at the end.

"Cold days of february" is yet another haunting Willimason track with some lovely penny-whistle flying high above.

"Dumb Kate" is the kind of jaunty country track reminiscent of the same vein as "Log cabin in the sky".

"Glancing love" all depends on our fond you are of Malcolm lemaistre's voice.
But there are certainly more of the french accordion tinged tracks on Earthspan and No ruinous feud that I find more offensive than this track.

Which leaves "Maker of Islands".I personally find it a very effecting track,both melodically and lyrically...though others may focus on the string section as being indictative of too slick a production,or again attempting to head into a more Ballad,or proggy direction.

"Ithkos" itself has many moods,both in terms of genre and percussive use and quite fragmented,but then lots of the interest of classic Incredibles was that they took abrupt left turns and kept things interesting!! Sure,it's a rockier direction,and die-hards would be concerned that this was a direction that they wouldn't want their Luminaries to keep walking in.

My basic point is that even if Ithkos offends and seems too steeped in prog symphonic indulgence,the other half of the album has a Heron classic in "Maker of Islands" which doesn't descend to the lyrical depths of Caterpillars or Hedgehogs.(However fun those tracks may be!!)
Two Robin Williamson gems in "Cold days of February" and "Dreams of no return".
A jaunty number that echoes tracks such as Black jack davy.And a ballad-esque track from Malcolm Lemaistre.

I feel it would be a pity if this album continues to just be written off,especially as it is now being re-issued.So many of their albums have been written off as a sub-par later period,such as "Liquid acrobat as regards the air" and "U" and I wouldn't want this album to be neglected by Incredible string band fans who are getting the impression that this album is so very far removed from their early classic period.There is much to enjoy here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ISB bow out with a stylish swan song, 4 July 2013
By 
Greywolf (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hard Rope & Silken Twine (Audio CD)
I'd better confess from the start that I am a massive fan of The Incredible String Band and have been since the 60s. They are an extraordinary mix of folk and Celtic roots, what we now call 'World Music,' and, especially on their later albums, pop/rock. This album is the final one before they split up in 1974 and is a pretty impressive last hurrah.
The album opens with one of Mike's finest ISB compositions, 'Maker of Islands,' which is just beautiful. The two Robin Williamson tracks are a delight. 'Cold February' is an impassioned and moving anti-war song, originally written as a despairing comment on the bloody, then ongoing, conflict in Northern Ireland that was euphemistically known as 'The Troubles.' Robin broadened the lyrics to refer to any and all wars and, sadly, they remain as relevant today as they were forty years ago when they were written. Robin's second offering, 'Dreams of No Return,' deals with the end of a relationship and features, for one last time, the utterly magical combination of Robin's acoustic guitar and Mike's sitar. By this time, Mike had been playing sitar for about seven years and was really rather good on it. It's a beautiful song, rendered even more beautiful by an uncluttered arrangement and brilliant musicianship.
Mike's longest composition fills the whole of side 2 of the LP (ask your parents), clocking in at over 19 minutes. This is the epic 'Ithkos,' which follows a mystical, mythical journey around the Aegean Sea and contains passages of great beauty and some of Mike's best lyrics. There are those who dislike the later String Band, after Mike started recruiting fellow Scientologists and expanding what had been the acoustic duo of him and Robin into a fully-fledged rock band, but 'Ithkos' shows the musicians really gelling into a pretty formidable group who may well have gone on to greater heights had they not split after this release.
OK, there are a couple of comparative turkeys: Malcolm le Maistre's rather weak 'Glancing Love,' and Mike's unfortunate and deeply sexist 'Dumb Kate,' but the rest of the album comes pretty close to being classic String Band.
By the way, the many references to the sea, sailing, sailors, etc. on the late String Band albums are due to the fact that the ISB were spending a lot of time hanging out with L. Ron Hubbard, father of Scientology, on his yacht in the Mediterranean.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice to have on CD, 13 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Hard Rope & Silken Twine (Audio CD)
At last a remastered CD copy of an under rated album by ISB. Sonically cannot match the vinyl, but worth having to save wear everyday
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars dated rambling and pretencious, 26 Oct 2013
This review is from: Hard Rope & Silken Twine (Audio CD)
I must say I have enjoyed some of this bands music
Way back in sixties but even then I found a great deal
Of pretencious rambling in their music too. To be honest
Listening to it now the pretenciousness is so clear and to be honest quite embarrasing to hear. Idiotic words which
A lot of young people then probably thought was great wisdom oh dear but we were young weren't we
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2 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Time to pack up, which they mercifully did!, 17 Oct 2011
By good fortune, the first record exchange shops had started in 1974 when this came out.

So, after 2 plays, this was swiftly exchanged for something decent.

As always happened, once one of Robin or Mike grabbed the control stick on the landing panel, the band crashed. Put them doing it together, and the result was always enthralling & frequently genius level.

The only thing worth listening to is LeMaistre's Mick Jagger impersonation towards the end of Ithkos. Just to see how bad he really was & boy,he was the pits.

The rest of it is tired, substandard and why it was ever released onto CD as well is beyond me. Don't know what the band were trying to be by now, but they weren't even interesting, let alone Incredible.

If you like funerals, buy it, otherwise ignore it & it might never get a re-release.
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Hard Rope & Silken Twine
Hard Rope & Silken Twine by Incredible String Band (Audio CD - 2013)
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