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on 5 November 2006
It is rare to find an album so filled with intense ideas, beautifull melodies and aggressive virtuosity. This is jazz meets heavy metal meets Twenty Century Classical music meets Bach. In short a unique and exhilerating experience.

From the almost 20 minutes (not a second too long) suite Tarkus with it's anti war theme in a modernistic fantasy setting, to the perfect parody and homage to producer Eddie Offord in "Are You Ready Eddy" ("We've only got 'am or cheese"), this album captures the whole range of human moods and follies.

A true classic not to be missed. Furious and fabulous fun!

Most amazing about this album is perhaps that ELP got even better on their next two albums (Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery).
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I am very happy with this package. What you get is a re-master of the original album. A 2nd CD with some alternative versions and a great re-mix of the classic album by Steven Wilson. The 3rd disc is a special treat, a genuine DVD-Audio of a remixed Tarkus in 5.1 plus a high res stereo mix of the alternative mixes as well.

What more could you ask for? Included also is a great booklet well writen by Chris Welch about Tarkus and the work re-creating this classic album.
The sound in my opinion is stunning considering it was recorded on 16 track tape in 1971. For the price what you get is a very generous collection of discs that cover Tarkus in several ways of listening pleasure.

Spend £10 and enjoy this piece of musical genius all over again. I did and I am sure glad I have.

Just played the 2nd CD using a decent CD player and a high quality headphones and the sound mix is very clear and very well done. This is a treat to the ears.
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VINE VOICEon 27 July 2010
Tarkus was Emerson Lake and Palmer's second studio album and as such had much to live up to after their successful first album (imaginatively titled Emerson, Lake & Palmer).

Like the animal (half armadillo half WW1 tank) it is supposed to represent, the album had a difficult birth. Keith Emerson describes the events leading up to its release in his autobiography Pictures of an Exhibitionist. The title piece is a pseudo classical one in 7 parts (in fact the Tokyo philharmonic orchestra played an adoption of it in 2010). Greg Lake really didn't like it at first and suggested that it appeared on Emerson's solo album. This irritated Emerson who was and still is justifiably proud of this piece. He saw this as representative of the future direction of Emerson Lake and Palmer but Greg Lake clearly did not. Lake recorded the piece reluctantly but did come up with the lyrics and make his own contribution.

Tarkus is a challenging piece to play, even for such accomplished musicians as Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer. It has no consistent time signature and is (at east in parts) tonally ambiguous. It is a progressive rock tour-de-force and remains a challenge to the listener even today. If you like music to relax to, in 4/4 time then this one isn't for you. If however you like progressive music that pushes the boundaries of what is possible (intellectually and musically) then maybe you should give Tarkus a try.

This is not Emerson Lake and Palmers best recording of Tarkus however, that honour going to the live version on Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends .... This one sounds a little thin in parts. The live has in particular a much better version of the final movement Aquatarkus (So called because the synthesiser sounds like it being played down a snorkel).

The arresting sleeve art by William Neil came after the original piece of music and the links between the two are somewhat artificial. It does however remain a classic design. The inner artwork is excellent but was at its best on the vinyl record, it lost a lot in the smaller format of the CD and is non-existent on the MP3 download.

Side two of the album tends to be overlooked, even by ELP fans but does have some hidden gems there. Bitches Crystal is a firm favourite of the live stage set and `The Only Way and Infinite Space) are genuinely fine pieces that do not attract the credit that they deserve.

I don't know anybody that rates Tarkus of their favourite ELP album. It is a challenge both to play and to listen to. I like it enormously and the more I analyse the music of the title track, the cleverer it appears, the more I uncover and the more rewarding it becomes to listen to.

I award Tarkus four stars, it is a must have for any ELP fan, it is deep, vibrant and like fine wine gets better with age. This isn't the best recording ELP ever made but it's success in achieving number 9 in the American Album charts is testament to its and the band's popularity.
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on 13 June 2010
I was bought this as a 16th birthday present when it was first released as a vinyl album in 1971` and was stunned by the vitality of the title track and the variety of styles on side 2. I remember it being a very loud album (for the time) and was forever being told to turn it down by an angry parent even though it was on a system with less than 10 watts total output.
The title track starts with a fade in and hits the ground running. If you closed your eyes you could see the beast itself trundling across the multicoloured landscape, trumpeting at the top of it's voice, looking for conquests and succeeding until the final confrontation where it is defeated and goes off to die.
Musically and lyrically you see the actual journey is much more metaphorical. Some of the sounds were hair on the arms raising because of the pioneering use of the moog particularly the mass with use of the wand controller and the end of battle field with the distinctive part before the fade out. Some excellent guitar work from greg lake in this section is also worth a mention having a very distinctive tone and a melancholy feel to support the sadness of the piece.
Side two doesn't quite match the first side. There are some decent melodies but it lacks the punch of side one. Some of it seems like obvious filler (are you ready eddy ) and some of the lyrics are a bit iffy, but still a long way ahead of some of the material being churned out at the time.
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on 4 June 2001
This creative masterpiece of ELP - daring to go beyond the pop and rock trends of their own and any day - is back again, in the best remastering ever!
Whether one prefers ELP's astonishing workout on the Tarkus suite, their classical inspired jazz fusion, their ballads or their parodies, this is the definite edition of Tarkus.
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I eagerly awaited this release after enjoying ELP's first album so much. Truth is, I didn't like it so much: first side excellent, second side patchy. On buying the CD, I'm afraid that I felt the same, many years later.

The major track - Tarkus - is excellent. An exercise in syncopation on the start of "Eruption" indicates that we are in for something really special. I first heard `Tarkus' when they performed it live before the LP was issued. It is a work that has continued to feature in Keith Emerson's live repertoire forty years later - I have seen him perform it with (reformed ) Nice and listened to a very good re-recording with his own band.

I recently very much enjoyed the live version at the Barbican with full orchestra as part of the 'Three Fates' project. It lends itslef well to orchestration, which tells me that, as a composition, it is tour de force. It remains a major part of ELP's repertoire and has stood the test of time. It is worth buying this CD to hear this track, and if you like the others, consider that a bonus.

The second side (as it then was) is a collection of more poppy material that I found lightweight compared to 'Tarkus' and the first album, finishing with a humorous track aimed at their engineer Eddie Offord. Jeremy Bender has some excellent honky-tonk piano work.

Recommended, for sure, but better was to come ...
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on 5 September 2012
Another exceptional sonic resurrection by Steve Wilson. Tarkus has never sounded better. As with the eponymous first album, Wilson's Tarkus 5.1 mix avoids mindless showmanship, instead it concentrates on delivering a fantastic soundstage for the music. Do yourself a favour. Buy this set!
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on 30 August 2012
Another great 5.1 remix by Steven Wilson. I have owned the vinyl version since the 70s and regularly listen to it, still. This 2012 Deluxe edition really has given it a new lease of life by immersing the listener in subtly crafted surround sound. For £10 the DVD-A alone would be worth buying but you also get the original mix and new stereo mixes and even a couple of previously unreleased items. Nice packaging too. I remember seeing ELP at the Empire Pool Wembley on the Brain Salad Surgery tour and hearing the quadraphonic sound swirling round the auditorium. I really hope Steven Wilson gets to work his 5.1 magic on that album soon...
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on 30 August 2012
I can understand why some people dislike Jeremy Bender and Are You Ready Eddie but such songs were an integral part of ELP back in the day. They've been long-criticised for including joke tracks on their albums but there's more to Tarkus than just side one (which is top-notch ELP) and these two songs. The Only Way/Infinite Space is excellent... and both Bitches Crystal & A Time and a Place are short sharp stabs of the kind of harder rock music ELP could have produced instead of the mess that was Love beach (and much of Works). I like these shorter ELP tracks... they showed there was more to the band than just the prog epics.

If anything, I always thought Tarkus missed a Greg Lake acoustic ballad. The (previously unavailable*) Oh My Father goes some way to redressing the balance on the latest Sony 2012 3xCD version of this album. I would have included it on the original release rather than one of the joke tracks. If you're going to buy Tarkus, I'd recommend this latest version. Forget any of the other releases.

At time of writing (late August 2012), Tarkus and ELP's first LP are the only ones to have been given the deluxe 'Stephen Wilson' treatment.

*This track was first released on 2007's From The Beginning box set. It is also on the 2012 3xCD version of Tarkus, included along with an excellent alternative version of Mass and an 'unknown ballad' which claims to have a Keith Emerson lead vocal! Doesn't sound like Emerson to me. I'd go further and say that it doesn't sound like Emerson playing the piano either. All of which may go someway to explaining why the track is apparently being removed from subsequent releases.
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on 17 October 2015
Reaching the number one spot in the summer of 1971 'Tarkus' is dominated by two songs - the dense and impressive 20 minute 'Tarkus' suite with 'The Battlefield' section it's highlight and the sombre, elegant 'The Only Way'. In comparison the rest of the album is a bit patchy with songs like the honky-tonk 'Jeremy Bender' and the throwaway 'Are You Ready Eddy?'
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