Brand X: Earth Dance
Masques (Passport PB 9829)
Peter Robinson (keyboards), John Goodsall (guitar), Percy Jones (bass), Chuck Burgi (drums), Morris Pert (percussion).
Composed by Morris Pert.
Recorded: London, May 1978
Rating: 81/100 (learn more)
Keyboardist Peter Robinson replaced Robin Lumley and drummer Chuck Burgi replaced Phil Collins for Brand X's Masques. Record executives were pressuring the band to play more commercial music. The quasi-jazz instrumental music of acts such as Spyro Gyra, Chuck Mangione and even Herb Alpert were actually charting at this time. The black ties were salivating over the possibilities.
"Earth Dance" was written by percussionist Morris Pert. It is expectedly heavy in rhythms. The song's introduction is a passel of ambient Asiatic themes. This soon gives way to a semi-Latin percussion vibe that dominates the rest of the piece. The melody almost becomes a bystander. When the melody is present the band sounds like a cross between a poor man's Eleventh House and Return to Forever. What tune there is, is full of ingratiating hooks and comes quite close in character to Spyro Gyra's hit "Morning Dance" released that same year. I am not suggesting anyone copied anyone. I don't know which tune was released first. But this was the type of music that the commercial types wanted fusion to start turning into. In the end, they had their way. My guess is that the record company was probably pleased with this cut. It is a good song. But it is not up to the standards of the band.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky