Ian Carr with Nucleus


Be With • 1973

The seventies were a wild time: »Anything goes« was still taken very literally, was imaginatively filled with life and new superlatives were sought.  In the case of »Labyrinth« it was the »total musical experience«.  The very concept of transforming the ancient Greek legend of the Minotaur into a kind of jazz-rock suite would probably reduce any A&R today into hysterical fits of laughter or make them run away screaming.  However, Ian Carr, who was highly respected in the British jazz scene at the time, was serious about this ambitious approach and, together with his legendary band Nucleus and singer Norma Winstone, they set about implementing it in 1973.  Similar to theatre, set roles were assigned:  The bass clarinet represents the tragedy, the trumpet the heroic and the voice the human in the myth; the remaining instruments stand, as it were, as antagonists for either Athenian or Cretan society. Despite the cerebral concept, »Labyrinth« is a very physical, atmospheric album: melancholic, dark, eerie – and at the same time full of musical ideas with a focus on present, trenchant beats and grooves.  No wonder »Labyrinth« is one of Madlib’s favourite albums, who sampled the spherical »Ariadne« for Quasimoto’s »Astro Travellin’«.  So this reissue is not only something for jazz buffs, but also for crate diggers who until now have been digging in vain for »Labyrinth«.