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on 4 September 2012
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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on 1 March 2017
Great album from ELP well worth a listen
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on 18 June 2017
I had this album when I was 13 and couldn't get my head around it. Unfortunately it has taken until my mid fifties to return to it and find what a superb album it is. Still, better late than never eh?
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on 21 July 2017
ELP Prog Rock - Excellent - Memories of my youth - Pure magic
But if it's the quality of the CD (rather than the music) that I am reviewing then, well, it's just another CD
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Some fans have noticed that this reissue malarkey has gone a bit Donald Trump on ELP - spend, spend, spend – then blame someone else for the double-ups.

'Deluxe Edition' 2CD sets of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Island Records catalogue appeared in 2012 with Steve Wilson and Andy Pearce Remasters and Remixes galore. Those supposed 'definitive' issues were going to put out to pasture numerous reissues on Sanctuary that went before in the 80s through to the 00's. Yet here we are again in July 2016 (itself it appears reissued March 2017 too). But there's a subtle difference that I feel should be pointed out - the new 2016 mastering for both discs is just that bit sweeter in my less than humble opinion. These 2016 reissues sound utterly amazing. Let's get to those gun-totting armadillo details...

UK released 27 July 2016 (September 2016 in the USA) - "Tarkus: Deluxe Edition" by EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER on BMG/Leadclass/Manticore BMGCAT2CD2 (Barcode 4050538179996) is a 2CD Reissue containing both 2012 Remaster Versions (Steve Wilson and Andy Pearce) with new 2016 Andy Pearce mastering for this reissue. It plays out as follows:

Disc 1 - "The Original 1971 Album (2012 Remaster)" - 38:42 minutes:
1. Tarkus [Side 1]
(i) Eruption
(ii) Stones Of Years
(iii) Iconoclast
(iv) Mass
(v) Manticore
(vi) Battlefield
(vii) Aquatarkus
2. Jeremy Bender [Side 2]
3. Bitches Crystal
4. The Only Way (Hymn)
5. Infinite Space (Conclusion)
6. A Time And A Place
7. Are You Ready Eddy?
Tracks 1 to 7 are their second studio album "Tarkus" - released June 1971 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9155 and June 1971 in the USA on Cotillion SD 9900. Produced by Greg Lake and Engineered by Eddy Offord - it peaked at No. 1 in the UK and No. 9 in the USA.

Disc 2 - "The Alternate Album (2012 Steven Wilson Stereo Mixes)" - 50:47 minutes:
1. Tarkus [Side 1]
(i) Eruption
(ii) Stones Of Years
(iii) Iconoclast
(iv) Mass
(v) Manticore
(vi) Battlefield
(vii) Aquatarkus
2. Jeremy Bender [Side 2]
3. Bitches Crystal
4. The Only Way (Hymn)
5. Infinite Space (Conclusion)
6. A Time And A Place
7. Are You Ready Eddy?
8. Oh, My Father
9. Unknown Ballad
10. Mass (Alternate Take)

The 16-page booklet includes new 2016 interviews with all three musical prodigies – and just before Keith Emerson passed in March 2016 and then tragically – Greg Lake in December 2016. Well-known writer and musicologist CHRIS WELCH fills in the rest of the details – William Neal's amazing drawings of flying pterodactyls with guns, missile-bearing lizards and a scorpion-tailed Manticore (they'd adopt their record-label name from this track) - all of which are complimented by the Armadillo Tank with Propulsion Tracks out front. With the album's title 'Tarkus' spelt out in parched animal bones – the three musician names didn't even appear on original album covers. There's witty anecdotes about the no English Greek sandwich lady who kept interrupting sessions no matter what – so much so that her cries of 'am or cheese' to the band was left on the record ("Are You Ready Eddy?"). There's discussion on the organ at St. Mark's Church in Finchley that's featured on "The Only Way (Hymn)", the influence of Jazz Musicians Lenny Tristano and Dave Brubeck on Keith's playing and style - Greg coming up with the nonsense name in a car (a possibly more vengeful Tarka The Otter). The inner gatefold artwork of the 1971 album is reproduced in the centre pages - but it's sloppily a Manticore reissue version and not the 1971 Island Records original.

The audio was done by Andy Pearce for Disc 1 and Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson for the Alternate Album on Disc 2 (both in 2012) - but the key here is that both have been newly mastered in 2016 by ANDY PEARCE for this reissue and I'd swear that his tweaking has made the transfers more substantial, clearer and given them less of a clinical sheen. I've never heard this aggressive Progressive Rock LP sound so good. Let's get to the music...

Side 1's 21-minute 7-part "Tarkus" Suite opens with a real dawn-of-man lead in - before exploding into wild keyboard stabs in 5/4 time. It soon settles into a prolonged solo - and when those staccato Moog and Drum jabs kick in at about eleven minutes - the remaster is huge. Lake gets his guitar parts towards the end and his 'let there be no sorrow...be no pain' lyrics. "Jeremy Bender" is a fictional London Spiv brought to life my Keith's barrelhouse piano and Greg's witty lyrics. Inspired by Dave Brubeck's "Count Down" - "Bitches Crystal" races along in 6/4 time - Lake singing of tortured spirits and ghostly images while Keith lashes into more alehouse piano. Bach's "Toccata In F Major" provides the inspiration for the churchy "The Only Way (Hymn)" which in itself segues into the funky Prog swing of "Infinite Space" - a piece of Piano Jazz inspired by Lennie Tristano. ELP get King Crimson heavy with the buttermilk cream of "A Time And A Place" before they bring it all to a finish with the rather silly and out-of-place cod Rock 'n' Roll of "Are You Ready Eddie?" (turn those faders down).

I wasn't expecting the "Oh, My Father" Bonus Track to be so good - four minutes of Greg Lake examining his relationship with his Dad - the words never spoken - no more time left to speak them. It's an Acoustic/Electric Guitar ballad - sad and beautiful and moving. Both it and the equally melodic "Maybe It's Just A Dream" simply don't fit in with the Pure Prog of the LP - but that doesn't step from being alarmingly pretty given the harsh iconoclast music that's preceded them. The harmony vocals and pretty piano playing will thrill ELP fans. There's a count-in to the Alternate of "Mass" - section four of the seven-part "Tarkus" suite. It's really good - especially Keith's virtuoso playing and Palmer's skin-tight drumming - but you can also hear why the more lively finished version was chosen.

"Tarkus" will not be everyone's favourite ELP album for damn sure (I prefer the first and "Trilogy") - and there are those who will dismiss it as very much of its 1971 Progressive Rock time. But it was a Number 1 for a reason. And fans are going to need this superb sounding version of it on CD. Another reissue I know – but this is the one worth buying...
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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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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 29 July 2014
The Tarkus section is absolutely brilliant. It is so inspiring and uplifting that I cant stop playing now. What a fantastic piece of music. Yoshimatsu gave his all to this, and this is exceptional. This piece of music will be around for the next 500 years at least!
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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 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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