David Bedford's classical credentials included study at London's Royal Academy of Music and tutelage under Italian avant-garde composer Luigi Nono. He crossed over into the rock world as the keyboard player for Kevin Ayers and the Whole World in 1969. In 1970, that band performed Bedford's The Garden of Love, written—in true avant-garde form—for "pop group." This association led to further collaboration with guitarist Mike Oldfield and others on the Virgin roster. Bedford's first "solo" album, Nurse Song With Elephant, was a purely experimental effort, and released on John Peel's Dandelion label in 1972. Bedford then signed to Virgin Records and set to record his Star's End composition. Featuring the talents of Oldfield and Henry Cow's Chris Cutler on percussion, it is performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. While Oldfield's guitar is a tie-in to the progressive audience, it's an album of symphonic music. Taken in proper context, the album is more than a curiosity; it encircles the non-traditions of modern composers, of which Bedford was a part of. He would next orchestrate Oldfield's Tubular Bells in 1975; a great success, the album reached No. 20 in the UK. Bedford would provide similar services to a variety of artists over the decade, in addition to recording three additional albums for Virgin. The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner was a somber keyboard composition, based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's work of the same name. In some ways, it echoed Rick Wakeman's then-current works, but with far greater humility. Both The Odyssey in 1976 and Instructions For Angels in 1977 were more accessible progressive music albums, performed mainly on keyboard and synthesizer, and bordered on new age music. Following a final album in 1985, Bedford would continue to create a sizable body of work outside of the "rock" arena.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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"Always ready with the ray of sunshine"