Rush – Hemispheres – 40th Anniversary (1978/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 36:11 minutes | 1.32 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Mercury Records
Recorded: June–August 1978 at Rockfield Studios in South Wales, UK
Another favorite of true Rush fans, this sixth studio album, released in 1978, once more explored fantasy and science fiction themes in Neil Peart’s lyrics. The final track, the ambitious nine-and-a-half minute La Villa Strangiato, was the band’s first instrumental. The album peaked at #47 on theBillboard charts, and was the group’s fourth consecutive gold album in the U.S., featuring the singles The Trees and Circumstances.
Merging an increasingly polished sound with masterful progressive rock songwriting, Hemispheres is considered one of Rush’s greatest, if possibly overlooked, releases. Recorded in the UK, with only four tracks it captures the band at its most ambitious, notably on the nearly 20 minute, side-long Cygnus X-1 Book II Hemispheres and the trio’s first instrumental, La Villa Strangiato. The Trees has endured for well over three decades as one of the band’s most popular, yet misunderstood songs. Neil Peart has said there was never any deep or cryptic meaning to his lyrics.
It was just a flash. I was working on an entirely different thing when I saw a cartoon picture of these trees carrying on like fools. I thought, ‘What if trees acted like people?’ So I saw it as a cartoon really and wrote it that way. I think that’s the image it conjures up to a listener or a reader. A very simple statement. –Neil Peart
While such albums as 1980’s Permanent Waves and 1981’s Moving Pictures are usually considered Rush’s masterpieces (and with good reason), 1978’s Hemispheres is just as deserving. Maybe the fact that the album consists of only four compositions (half are lengthy pieces) was a bit too intimidating for some, but the near 20-minute-long “Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres” is arguably the band’s finest extended track. While the story line isn’t as comprehensible as “2112” was, it’s much more consistent musically, twisting and turning through five different sections which contrast heavy rock sections against more sedate pieces. Neil Peart had become one of rock’s most accomplished lyricists by this point, as evidenced by “The Trees,” which deals with racism and inequality in a unique way (set in a forest!). And as always, the trio prove to be experts at their instruments, this time on the complex instrumental “La Villa Strangiato.” Geddy Lee’s shrieking vocals on the otherwise solid “Circumstances” may border on the irritating, but Hemispheres remains one of Rush’s greatest releases. –Greg Prato
1 Cygnus X-1 (Book II: Hemispheres) 18:08
2 Circumstances 03:44
3 The Trees 04:44
4 La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence) 09:35
Geddy Lee – vocals, bass guitar, Oberheim polyphonic, Minimoog, Moog Taurus pedals
Alex Lifeson – electric and acoustic guitars, classical guitar, guitar synthesizer, Moog Taurus pedals
Neil Peart – drums, orchestra bells, bell tree, timpani, gong, cowbells, temple blocks, wind chimes, crotales