Friday 6 December 2013

The First Light from down under in 1978

My favourite fusion album from Australia, no question.  It really covers a lot of territory in one album, with Mahavishnu-style guitar arpeggios, softer jazz ballads, acoustic guitar solo, etc.  I'll let the music speak for itself.  First example, the stunning ballad (track A5 called Zenith), starting with a chromatic descending arpeggio on acoustic guitar, leading into a beautiful female chorus singing the lines, the chord changes, to a musician, are just astonishingly creative.  As usual flute provides a delicately bucolic and transcendental experience to the whole.  Again, there has never been another song with this sequence, guaranteed-- (in the stanza not intro) (major chords unless otherwise indicated) C, Dflat, Bflat, Eflat, Eflat minor, Dflat, Eflat7, Bflat, C7, Gminor7, Gmajor.  An incredible sequence that works because of the wavering melody which pulls all the disparate keys and modulations together.  Have a listen:

The ninth track (Solar Illusion) is your basic Mahavishnu guitar-fusion machine, but beautifully composed:

The well-reputed and usually on-the-money Tom of course was ahead of us and gave it a priority 3:

' First Light is a mighty fine instrumental jazz rock effort. Sunny in its approach, with some fine guitar leads, at times reaching a Santana like intensity, but falls just short (sadly). Some nice ensemble unison runs with sax, flute, electric piano, and the female voice on side 2 gives it a Northettes feel, that adds points. Back cover says: "Mellotron and special effects kindly supplied by Aleph". Solid effort. File next to Crossfire and Mackenzie Theory. A natural choice for Aztec I think.

According to a good friend of this site, we have it on authority (someone who knew the band) that 1978 is the correct release year.

Martin from Germany tells us: "FIRST LIGHT from australia is the band formed by ALEPH drummer Ron Carpenter. He also plays with AC DC in 1974 and COLD CHISEL in 1978. Release date must be 1979 i guess." '

[ -- P.S. is he talking about Martin Pruckner, the famous krautrock specialist? -- Editorial note]

There is more information to be found here in the comments, credit to the prognotfrog group.  Btw those links he gave go to a different rip than the one I am presenting here, which is fresher.  And of course this record deserves to be bought as vinyl to be truly enjoyable-- I think that goes without saying.


  1. First light


      a lossless rip of first light for those who prefer

  2. unbelievable album!!! god bless you julian ryan!!!

  3. why not better quality??? It is a must for 320 kbps!

  4. Oops I forgot to mention it's 'not my rip' -- but I will see what I can do to get a wav perhaps.

  5. ok thnks i am waiting for this!

  6. Fine album for certain. Would love to see it on CD. Aztec is now Sandman Records. It remains to be seen if they are committed to Australia's progressive past. So far they have focused more on mainstream artists since taking over.

  7. Realy love the sound of that first track!
    Fusion is so much more enjoyable now im 30

  8. ahhh, im getting a 502 Bad Gateway!

  9. Oh dear, now netkups is getting temperamental, please try again in a day and see if it still happens. Of course if this site is down for the count that will be a lot of reuploading for me.

  10. Here is the lossless First Light, use something like xrecode which is free to convert to mp3 if you wish

    Many thanks to the friend who reripped it.

  11. Side 1
    First Light
    Emerald Tide
    Sonidos Negros

    Side 2
    Earth Wave
    Tropical Inequation
    Azure Azimuth
    Solar Ullusion
    Fire In The West

    John Gray - Electric, Classical and Acoustic Guitars
    Harry Freeman - Electric and Acoustic Pianos, SH 5 and Moog synthesisers, string ensemble
    Graham Jesse - Soprano, Alto and Tenor Saxes, Flute
    Allan Freeman - Bass Guitar, Vocals
    Roc Carpenter - Drums, Mellotron, Vocals
    Marion Henderson, Beth Freeman, Jeanette Freeman - Vocals
    Gerald Frape - Percussion

  12. Hello everybody,

    I am the John G who wrote most of this stuff. I am still writing and recording. Will let you know when I have some new good stuff to hear.

  13. Wow! You gotta be kidding! John, I love this album to death, and my remarks are one hundred percent meant from the heart. Particularly awesome that track I talked about called Zenith with the unique chord changes. Brilliant work!

  14. Heh, John G.

    Nice of you to comment. I think anyone who visits this blog will look forward to hearing your new music.


  15. Have a look at SoundCloud John G Elydian Spiral
    or John G Night Markets
    Doing everything myself these days.

    1. thanks for the info!
      will be sure to check it out
      and thanks again for First Light John

  16. Thank you, JohnG, for your lovely compositions in First Light.

    Thanks also to you, Julian, for sharing the rip and maintaining your fine blog.

  17. I remember another group called First Light,a very good UK based fusion band led by guitarist Ronnie Johnson.

  18. yes, this album:
    It's also really good, but a bit more generic fusion