Without Introduction (review)
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Without Introduction is the first and only album by the American prog rock band Polyphony which broke up shortly after recording together. Beside a cult following on the internet, Without Introduction and Polyphony mostly seem to have been lost to time. Various sources can't agree on basic facts such as whether the band had 3 or 5 members, whether the album was originally released in 1971 or 1972, and even what label the record was released under. For over thirty years the only copies available were from the original release but it was later re-released on CD in 2004 and 2005.
But these are minor details. What is known is that Without Introduction is a standout example of early American prog rock from a time when almost all innovation in the genre was taking place on the other side of the Atlantic. Polyphony is equal parts Procol Harum and King Crimson with psychedelic lyrics and long jams punctuated by moog solos. The album consists of only four songs: two epic jams, an album closer, and an eclectic electronic interlude. I'm really bad at describing music so honestly, if you're interested, you should just listen to the album for yourself.
The Review: ★★★½
If you're listening carefully, you can tell that there are a few times where two different recordings were spliced together to construct the longer tracks. While this was fairly common at the time, it can be slightly distracting to hear the slight incongruity when a hi-hat or organ note is slightly off tempo. The album also relies pretty heavily on repetition and variation on a theme. Don't get me wrong, I like Philip Glass so my tolerance for repetition is high but it's something to be aware of.
Oh, and you can't review anything prog without at least acknowledging the album art. It's a little dated with the allusions to astrology but still, very proggy. The four figures are each meant to represent one of the four elements reaching towards an orb of energy which represents Polyphony. Hokey? Yes, but it's colorful and stylish.
If ELP is filet mignon, then Polyphony is steak. Not the best example of prog rock nor even a good introduction to the genre but a very worthy addition to it. If you know you like psychedelic rock or early prog rock, I'd definitely recommend this album. Copies of the CD release are reasonably common on eBay but it can also be found on youtube as well as, I'm sure, various file sharing sites.Sources & Extras:
The album art
Some reviews and album information which may or may not be accurate
A facebook fan page apparently set up by former member Glenn Howard.