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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Anderson, Ian - 1983 Walk Into Light
Anderson, Ian - 1983 Walk Into Light

ARTIST: Anderson, Ian
ALBUM: Walk Into Light
LABEL: Chrysalis
SERIAL: CHR 1443 (LP), F2 21443 (CD)
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1997, BGO, BGOCD350 * 2011, Chrysalis, 50999 0 70406 2 7


LINEUP: Ian Anderson - other instruments and serious vocals * Peter-John Vettese - synthesisers, piano and blouse vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fly By Night * 02 Made In England * 03 Walk Into Light * 04 Trains * 05 End Game * 06 Black And White Television * 07 Toad In The Hole * 08 Looking For Eden * 09 User Friendly * 10 Different Germany


After a number of false starts to his solo career, particularly the 1980 album 'A', which was quite rightly mentioned by George, an album that morphed into another Jethro Tull release, this appeared in 1983. Due the criticism and uproar the record label finally saw sense, and I imagined Ian Anderson wasn't prone to be pushed around a second time; and was released as a solo artist. This probably gave him freedom to finally have a chance to cut the ties and go it alone with this album and explore different venues. Only a year had passed since what I classed as a masterpiece the stunning 'The Broadsword And The Beast', talk about an abundance of riches. Surprising in some way these two albums couldn't be any different if they tried, not in quality I strenuously like to add, but in nature. This really is a joint contribution with Anderson providing the lyrics and the vocals, with Peter-John Vettese providing the keyboards, most of the songs follow this format. So as such it is a perfect keyboard album, from an unlikely source, if this was Canadian and some obscure label, you would be crawling out of cracks in the walls to lay your hands on a copy, this guy writes music in his sleep in a way that only you can dream of. Be patient with this album, it's not the most immediate, first of all you have to accept the change in direction compared to the majority of Tull albums, but bear in mind Tull never always ploughed the straight and narrow furrow.

The Songs
Looking at the album sleeve, Ian took great delight in all the machines used on the album, very impressive, unless you are musical void like me, and means bugger all. Once upon a time a very well known group said no machines were used on this album, well Mr Anderson has no such worries using the odd ZX81 or Sinclair Spectrum.

So have you played all your Saga songs to death, went to hear some more, than try 'Fly By Night', this will probably satisfy your craving, the opening keyboards sound like raindrops (this is a real pomp classic, maybe I'm hearing Airborne or The Ladder, but I just can't place it for sure?), and the riff (not guitar) used throughout the track comes across like a musical morse code. This is the stuff ultra-cool Ogo from Robot and Monster would have on his iPod.

If they had a musical alternative to the poet laureate then I would propose Ian Anderson, you want evidence? well try out 'Made In England' (this always appeared on puzzles on the bottom right hand corner, just to get you started), the guitar opening sounds like something off Dire Straits 'Brothers In Arms', and we have the first sniff of the flute. This flows like the countryside of England's green fields.

The title track has that Anderson pleasing whine and lots of 'hey hey' at the end of the lyric line. This line continues with the rattling of pompy keyboards on the excellent 'Trains', which has what best can be described as a new romantic keyboard sound, 'spend half my life on trains' anyone?, maybe the train drivers could have this playing over the course of the journey to make the passengers at least smile once, and block out the noise of people tapping on laptops, ring tones or relieve the need to speak loudly on mobile phones. While the album doesn't have the AOR sounds of someone like The Producers (another train connection, with the glorious 'Waiting On A Train'!) the musical interplay does come out of a sister station.

Sometimes this has the general ambience of the first Arcangel album, for instance the emotional strains of 'Black and White Television'. My particular favourite part of this is the pre chorus which Ian reels off in one long sentence, just how Kevin Gilbert does on the Toy Matinee album, with the song 'There Was A Little Boy' from 1990. The Cannata option can also be traced to 'Looking For Eden', which shows an album that just gets stronger as it spins nearer to the centre point.

The renowned odd lyric are here, like 'Toad In The Hole', which has a feel of somewhere around the 'Heavy Horses' period, lyric wise yes, music wise well just updated with keyboards. While the lyric positioning of 'User-Friendly' may be a touched out dated, it's probably the most instant in terms of a hook line. Which just leaves us with 'Different Germany', the stuff Rammstein would be producing if the Iron Curtain hadn't come down. Yes a touch sombre, but includes beautiful piano pieces which sounds at odds to some of the basic synthesizers knocking, but this was 1983.

In Summary
After listening I can only imagine the amount of heartache Anderson must have given to those arable Jethro Tull fans, but yes all these years later people are more accepting and albums like these are appraised as a single entity rather than continuations of past lives, and as such this album works. Of course Saga is a familiar running mate to most of these compositions, and these songs have the lyrics wrapping round the keyboard and synth. One big advantage is that I was made to reappraise Jethro Tull's 'Under Wraps', I brought that album at a time I was buying majority of the Tull back catalogue, subsequently this didn't receive (or warrant, so I thought) enough plays, it's only after taking notice of 'Walk Into Light', that 'Under Wraps' in my mind improved and was a continuation of what we have here. Yes both are obsessed with new keyboards noises, but 'Under Wraps' has a more variety in speed, although that doesn't mean to say that the velocity is an issue with 'Walk Into Light', it's more done at a walking speed, so in some context the songs have to be either better written to hold the attention of the listener and glad to say this is where it succeeds. Ian Anderson would continue releasing solo albums, the next 3 were all different, investigating different themes and genres and it wasn't until 2012, with the 'Thick As A Brick Part 2', that he ever got close to recording a solo album that ancient Jethro Tull followers would nod in agreement, you know the guys, those with facial hair. (Yikes, for the month of Movember that includes me!)

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#1 | AOR Lee on November 12 2013 04:18:23
Well discussed article Chris, sounds like a disc I should investigate
#2 | Eric on November 12 2013 16:53:35
I prefer this over 'Under Wraps'.
#3 | gdazegod on November 13 2013 01:12:09
I'm keen on hearing it. The Saga references do it for me.
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