Elastic Rock


Nucleus's Elastic Rock is undisputedly a milestone in jazz-rock. A beautiful and vital debut album, it was first released on Vertigo in 1970. Genius trumpeter and visionary composer Ian Carr was one of the most respected British musicians of his era. He was a true pioneer and saw the potential in fusing the worlds of jazz with rock, just as Miles Davis and The Tony Williams Lifetime did in the US. In late 1969, following the demise of the Rendell-Carr quintet, and tiring of British jazz, Carr assembled the legendary Nucleus. Regarding music as a continuous process, Nucleus refused to "recognize rigid boundaries" and worked on delivering what they saw as a "total musical experience". Under bandleader Carr, Nucleus existed as a fluid line-up of inventive, skilled musicians. The very title Elastic Rock could be regarded as the group's MO, describing a melting point between their rock and jazz impulses. Recorded over four days in January 1970, Elastic Rock didn't sound like any other British jazz album. Exploding out the gate, "1916" opens with John Marshall's frantic pounding before melancholic horns enter. The smooth title track, "Elastic Rock" is just a gorgeous electric blues track. The serene "Striation", a Jeff Clyne and Chris Spedding collaboration, is led by bowed bass and is the epitome of calm before the late-night laidback vibe of "Taranaki" breezes along sweetly and smoothly with great trumpet and tenor. The truly emotional "Twisted Track" is elegant with horns, while guitar is gently played with drums and bass. "Crude Blues (Part 1)" features an excellent oboe part by Karl Jenkins with laconic guitar helping out. "Part 2" is livelier, with a heavy backbeat and great wind parts. "1916 (Battle Of Boogaloo)" features a steady bassline and great call and response parts from the horn section. The mesmeric epic "Torrid Zone" brilliantly encapsulates the jazz fusion aesthetic so desired by the group, the rhythm section is rock-influenced but magically retains a laid-back jazz vibe. Spacey jazz in the style of In a Silent Way, the semi-ambient "Stonescape" features smooth, muted brass, warm, smokey keys and a barely-there rhythm section. The bubbling, fragile restraint of "Earth Mother" partially utilizes the "Torrid Zone" bassline but takes the energy in a different direction. Next comes the very idiosyncratic drum solo track by Marshall in the appropriately-titled "Speaking for Myself, Personally, in My Own Opinion, I Think?" The album closes with the raucous "Persephones Jive", a track that ends the album frantically, riotously, just as it began. Remastered from the original Vertigo master tapes by Simon Francis. Cut by Cicely Balston at AIR Studios.