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Customer Review

266 of 311 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-Rock goes Baroque, July 25, 2004
This review is from: Physical Graffiti (Audio CD)
If you can understand sheet music and are attempting to master any instrument (from a cello to a tuba) you might want to take a look at the scripts for this album. You'll be devistated! Also, if you are interested in making an album and happen to own a studio, you might find a listen to Physical Graffiti to provide a very instructive statement the limits of how complex mixing and multi-tracking get.

Sure, a few tracks on the ablum: Custard Pie and Trampled Under Foot, are probably the best embodiment of the blues-rock Zep-sound that most people are familiar with, but after those tracks, the album turns into a zen statment on overindulgence. Normally, I might agree that musical overkill is a bad thing, but there's a right time and place for everything; and within the framework of this album, overkill becomes baroque. I argue that only Zep could pull this off.

Beginning with Kashmir, the album lays track upon track until many songs (ie: In the Light, Ten Years Gone) are orchestrated with somtimes 7 or 8 different guitar tracks and 3 or 4 different bass tracks. Bach himself might be proud of such hefty orchestration. Throw in JPJ's keyboards, along with several exotic instruments such as mellotrons and vibrophones, and you've got yourself a saturated hard-rock symphony. Many of the songs, such as Kashmir, In The Light, and Ten Years Gone, are very cerebral, creating a soothing Indian Raga-like effect, while others sustain a hectic Occidental pace (ie: Rover, Night Flight) but are never abrasive to the ear.

I feel that the overall album gets a bum rap sometimes, because many people would prefer to hear the more concise and abbreviated sound associated with the pentatonic riffs of earlier Led-days (ie: Whole Lotta' Love, Heartbreaker). They complain that this album is overindulgent, solos are extended too long, etc.. But they never really explain why this makes the album less worthy than say, the Runes Album. I think that the intent of the album was to push the manifold of hard-rock overindulgence and the result is the raga-like, baroque musical symphony from the '70s that is Physical Grafitti.

I would not hesitate to say that this is the best album from the 70's hard-rock genre; if not the best rock and roll album of all time.
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 10, 2007, 10:17:36 PM PDT
If Bach had multitracking....briiliant analogy!!

Posted on Mar 8, 2008, 9:33:58 AM PST
Righteous.

Posted on May 17, 2009, 5:01:50 PM PDT
Oh yea - you hit the nail on the head. To the casual Zep listener, I would always recommend The Fourth Album, but Physical Graffiti is by far the greatest piece of of hard rock, if not music in general, ever mastered by the mightiest band of all time. If you deepen your indulgence with the Mighty Zeppelin, get this album, close the doors and listen to every track as it was meant to be heard in order. You will add this to your deserted island alsum list.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011, 4:03:08 PM PST
De barra says:
sweet review. i've always thought ten years gone sounded "sitarish" (indian) too. PG is definitely a high point in the mighty zep's career, although come to think of it everything they did was a high point!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2012, 2:36:20 AM PST
i agree 100%this is the best album EVER! get drunk,turn the lights out,& lose your way!

Posted on Oct 27, 2013, 7:24:53 PM PDT
manco82 says:
But remember in the 1970s there was ELP.

Posted on Nov 6, 2013, 12:25:21 PM PST
The Lion says:
Yes, everyone should own a copy of this classic recording. Perhaps the forthcoming remaster will also improve the somewhat dated sound quality of the 1994 version; until then, I would suggest tracking down the original high quality Japanese CD. Rock on!

Posted on Jan 26, 2014, 8:18:09 PM PST
J Fairlight says:
Two notes: The album was released in a brown paper wrapper with several different versions of the cover. Some people actually went to the extreme of trying to assemble a full set (while collecting many duplicate covers in the process).
Second, the synth solo was using an ARP Avatar - an extremely temperamental (and expensive) guitar synth involving a hex pickup and a factory modified keyboardless ARP Odyssey. I had one when they came out. It was way to finicky to use live.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 29, 2014, 3:58:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 29, 2014, 4:00:11 PM PDT
Don't get a remaster the originals have the best sound. I happen to get the reissue a few years ago and I compared it to the old one and there was no improvement whatsoever, in fact another album; Physical Graffitti is another one, the old one now that I washed with a clear audio machine sounds incredible, I heard some bad things about the new masters.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2015, 2:03:12 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 30, 2015, 2:04:23 AM PST
A.R says:
Fairlight You appear to be reviewing "In THROUGH THE OUTDOOR " as PG had a die cut sleeve.
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