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Old 07-01-2019, 12:26 PM
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Default Mark King (Level 42) - Influences (1984)

Mark King (Level 42) - Influences (1984)
EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 254 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 107 Mb | Scans included
Jazz Funk, Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Pop/Rock | Label: Polydor | # 823 088-2 | 00:43:13

Influences is the debut solo album by the British musician, Mark King, who is the singer and bass player with Level 42. It was released by Polydor Records in July 1984. The album features a cover of the song "I Feel Free" by Cream, which was released as a single. King played most of the instruments on the album. Guest musicians include Level 42 keyboardist Mike Lindup and Drummie Zeb from Aswad, who played drums on "Clocks Go Forward".

I only have 2 regrets when it comes to Mark King - Firstly, that he and his co-stars ended Level 42. But equally as important, was that, during his 15 years as frontman of that band, King only recorded 1 solo album......well, thank god we at least got that - and you'll understand what I mean when you listen to it. Right from the start, the album cuts straight to the chase and the music is well and truely in your face with "The Essential"....a long and enthralling journey that saves the very best until last: the most incredible delivery of bass playing I have EVER heard in my entire life. Other tracks like, "Pictures on the Wall" and "There is a Dog" showcase King's creative excellence as a songwriter. Recorded when he was 25, Mark King's "The Essential" is a must for the serious music lover who demands quality. The only reason I gave it 4/5 and not 5/5, was because it has one fault; track four titled, "I Feel Free" which has been covered by other artists before and after this offering, but like many others, this version is not a masterpiece. Having said that, however, the album, overall is a dream....enjoy!

At the point this was released in 1984 fans of Level 42 had likely been waiting for a solo release from Mark King for several years.Considering the artistic achievment their album True Colours was there was every reason to expect something amazing.Well Mark gave us that and also something very different. Wheras Level 42's albums had a very polished production sheen,such as on the say Standing in the Light or the upcoming World Machine this project is almost pretty much avoids production of any kind and sometimes doesn't even sound like pop in the strictest sense. The idea is for each song to have an on-the-stop feel without alternate takes or overdubs. On the opening instrumental"The Essential",what would've been on vinyl a sidelong cut,this is really strongly emphasized.At the end and the beginning Mark throws down both funky and jazzy bass solo's while there are nods to R&B (around the 9 minute mark) and Spanish music as well.It's kind of a jazzy tour through music that,yes not only brings up ghosts of Weather Report's Jaco Pastorious but shows that there is really a lot of different music in this mans head. All the other songs have vocals of one sort or another but on some they aren't as strongly emphasized. "Clocks Go Forward" is very brooding and dark,very much like the Level 42 work of the same period and seeing as Ron Gould is co-writer that is no huge surprise either.Another song he co-wrote on this album has even more of a Level 42 feel;"Pictures On The Wall" is the closest thing this album came to having a hit single but because Mark's own unique musicianly quality is so present it maintains his own vision outside the band."I Feel Free",the only cover on this album-in this case by Cream (itself not something anyone from Level 42 were known to do).It's a very catchy song,with something of a doo-wop intro and a rock n roll feel to it in this case. These are after all literally Mark's "influences",coming from different musical styles he's heard all his life. And the curiously titled "There Is A Dog" will only serve as a reminder of his jazz backround,especially with it's lively Brazilian jazz flavor in the percussion. Mike Lindup's excellent Rhodes solo here will only serve to remind you this is NOT a Level 42 album,ironically.Again Mark is fully in command of his own vision. Sad thing is because of Level 42's association with British New Wave their actual place as reigning kings of the then emerging Brit-Funk scene still gets overlooked often. But still Mark's great artistic integrity oozes out of just about every section of this music and it surely succeeds in it's mission. The biggest surprise is how this remains so consistantly in print and,since it is I strongly suggest everyone get their chance to hear it.


01. The Essential (18:37)
02. Clocks Go Forward (5:24)
03. I Feel Free (4:51)
04. Pictures on the Wall (4:55)
05. There Is a Dog (6:26)

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