Reviewed by MJBrady on 08 Aug 2001
I remember hearing this album for the first time, it was such a different style of music, I couldn't quit playing it, sure I was familiar with all the members past achievements with their respective bands: Bruford(Yes, Crimson), Wetton/Jobson(Roxy Music/Crimson), And Holdsworth(Tony Williams Lifetime/Gong/Soft Machine). But the combination of these volatile elements made for an incredibly new version of progressive rock. It was like taking the energy of Yes' - Close to the edge/Relayer period, and the fusion stylings of Mahavishnu/or Return to forever, seemingly each member had developed a new and improved sound over anything they had done apart from eachother. Brufords drumming was really upfront, technical amd in your face, Jobson, lets the world know he has an amazing catalogue of keyboard sounds, styles and soling ability, as well as on the violin. Holdsworth, the ever enigmatic guitarist, fits into this sound so well, it is like a calling, he does some fantastic unearthly rhythm as well as soloing, and some rare acoustical pieces as well, showing he is not a gimmickry player, but a very gifted one. Wetton, gives the band a "trademark" sound vocally, while he does do double duty as the bassist, his role as the singer is very important, as the band could have easily been an instrumental group with these guys, but thats the beauty of UK, they added an important page to the book on progressive rock, and Wettons contributions are the icing on the cake so to speak.
Reviewed by DBSilver on 23 Aug 2001
that really works, UK didn’t just make music, they moved music forward in a fresh and melodic and exciting fashion.
While many may prefer the second line-up and album Danger Money, this
album & line-up is in my opinion the better of the versions Eight songs
comprise this CD and in it you can hear the tension between Wetton & Jobson's
more commercial stylings with the more fusion directions for Holdsword and
Bruford. It was this tension that raised the music to such great heights
but also saw Bruford replace on the follow-up album (with Bozzio) and the guitar
being dropped altogether.
centerpiece to this recording is In the Dead of Night / By the light of Day
/ Presto Vivace & Reprise a 13 minute segued masterpiece
featuring Bruford and Holdsworth at their performing best and the band at
their compositional best. In the later
segment, Bruford and Jobson tear things up when they joust one another on Drums and Keys.
presents a soundscape where the melodicism of the performers outshines their
Thirty Years shows this band has the patience to make their statements and the abilities
to deliver them – defining not prog and not fusion, but prog-fusion as the core
to their sound. It is a chance for
Holdsworth especially to shine.
Mental Medication In the area of Wetton’s vocals, sometimes he is up to it (in the opening verses) and other times
he is not (after the song starts rocking).
While the guitar that accompanies Wetton’s opening verses is simply way
cool, this is probably the weakest song on this
recording. A shame too, because around
the half-way point it jumps to an intense fusion section (Brand X would repeat
much of this general sound on their first CDs) with very find work by all. Wonderful guitar throughout and cool violin
Nevermore plays freely with a strong jazz feel thanks to Wetton’s bass, Brufords
drums, and the choice by Jobson of a jazz piano (verses electronic keyboard)
sound for much of the song. Again Wetton is asked to do some vocal parts
that stretch is range past where he is strongest. Holdsworth plays a powerful guitar solo here – containing
excellent exchanges with Jobson’s [now] very electronic keys (reminding me in
it's structure a bit of Return to Forever). This piece is performed
with power and passion as well as emotion and restraint when called for.
Time to Kill
is a rather cool tune which
starts out straight and turns itself inside out with rhythm changes. Vocal chorus work well although as with much
of the album, Wetton’s vocals sometimes suffer because he is asked to sing out
if his range and strengths.
Reviewed by Olav on 12 Nov 2001
It started in 1977, the rumours about a new band, formed by Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Rick Wakeman. Wakeman left after a few days to return to Yes and Bruford and Wetton had to search for a new keyboard player. Wetton came up with the idea to ask Eddy Jobson, which he knew from his Roxy Music days. Jobson joined Roxy Music at the age of 17, he had already been a member of Curved Air and played on the album "Air Cut". Jobson accepted the invitation and left Frank Zappa, which he joined after Roxy Music, to form this new band.
So Alaska was formed, named after a composition Jobson wrote, but the name soon changed to UK (Bruford came up with it). There was still room for a guitar player, the first person they thought of was Robert Fripp, but he declined the invitation. The guitar player they did add to the band was ex-Soft Machine Allan Holdsworth, who also played guitar at the first Bruford album, released in 1977.
Their debut album, simply called "UK" was recorded in december 77 and january 78. This albums contains 46 minutes of excelent prog with lots of jazzrock influences. It's an adventures and dynamic album in which every member can show off his talents. Althought some fans of progressive rock where dissapointed with the resulting collaboration of these 4 unique talents, I still think this album is a masterpiece. Just listen to the great guitar solo during "In the Dead of Night", or the atmospheric keyboards during the first part "Thirty Years". Do I have to say more? Just listen to this superb album.
UK1 lasted 1 album and 1 tour. After this, Bruford and Holdsworth would both depart and went on to record the second Bruford album. UK1 was over but UK2