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Genesis: Trespass (1970)

In 1969 Genesis released From Genesis to Revelation. Although opinions differ, I thought that album was crap, sounding like psychedelic Muzak to me. Of course, the band could be forgiven, since the guys in the band just graduated from Charterhouse Public School (a public school, for those living in America, is the English equivalent of a private school, in which Charterhouse had a reputation of being very exclusive) and they just got started and perhaps didn’t get the best record deal or manager. A year later, they switched producers from Jonathan King to John Anthony, and labels from Decca to Charisma, and a drastic change in the sound.

Trespass is the results and I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. This is Genesis the way they’re supposed to sound: the epitome of all that’s great in ’70s prog. While Trespass is not regarded by many as one of the better efforts from these guys, I still think it’s full of great stuff like “White Mountain”, “Dusk”, “Stagnation”, and of course, “The Knife”. Gone are the Muzak-like strings from the first album, in its place are the Mellotron and Hammond organ, and both electric and acoustic guitars. Not to mention a much better sound quality (From Genesis to Revelation sounded like it was recorded in a tin can).

Trespass does tend to be a bit moodier than the following albums, and the humor element you might find in songs like “Harold the Barrel” and parts of “Supper’s Ready” isn’t found here. Anthony Phillips found his style which, by far and large, tended more to the pastoral end (he would later explore this style further in 1977 when he released his first solo effort, The Geese & the Ghost).

Phil Collins still hadn’t joined the band at that time, instead it was someone by the name of John Mayhew handling the drums, who I know very little of, except for this album. Both Phillips and Mayhew left after this album, to be replaced of course, by Steve Hackett and Phil Collins.

I personally like Trespass, and this is the sound of the band doing the very first dip in to prog waters, and you can tell only better things will come with this band, which following albums only prove. If you want to try any pre-Duke albums, you’re better off starting off with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, or Selling England By the Pound first, but if you’re convinced then try this album.

5 Responses to Genesis: Trespass (1970)

  • yeah this album isnt bad, but still it doesnt compare to nursery cryme or foxtrot….. The best song on the album has to be The Knife, definitely. But, this was the beginning of their sound, which they havent quite perfected yet, and two members of their classic period werent with the group quite yet, that is Phil Collins and Steve Hackett….

  • I agree, a good effort, especially for such a young bunch of guys, enjoyable throughout, jut not something that commands ones attention the way their later albums do; Selling England by the Pound being my personal favorite. I love Anthony Phillips, and his guitar work on this is very accomplished for someone so young. He would disappear for a few years after leaving the band, concentrating on music studies and teaching for a bit, before coming back into the scene with the exceptional Geese and the Ghost. Trespass is well worht picking up for fans of seventies progressive rock.

  • You’re a pinhead.

  • The first pieces of popular music I listened to were quite alternative looking back. The age in which I grew up, born in 1960, introduced me to something new and never replicated. Some, today, refer to it as album rock. For me then, and today, it was remarkable for its musical theatric, story telling and musicianship. And so it set the standard upon which I would enjoy the Return to Forever, Genesis, ELP, Go, etc, and later Styx, and Kansas. I don’t like references today to it being classic rock or progressive rock. For me, it was the dawn of musicianship around the song, the tale, and then, the experience — all of which is touching, like poetry. And this is a perspective rarely acknowledge among critics and listeners of the new age today. For most songwriters then the poetic journey brought forth legends, tales, stories, history, and experiences of a higher level, fruit for the wandering mind. In the midst of the chaotic seventies, musicians, playing for us, our consciousness, established a foundation of spiritual otherworldness. And this is the beauty of Trespass, to arrive at the subject at hand. Some writers refer to it as a coming of age album. But, for all Genesis fans, it’s the one piece to return to. Here, you’ll hear AP in such a way never to be heard, although Geese and later pieces are wonderful. Tony is deep, deep, beneath the skin. Peter, likewise. Some critics don’t like the drumming. Then, you must listen. Lie on the floor and listen without interruption, and you will hear a music that is outside of the band itself, the music industry and so on. The band members were inspired, moved. And you will be. The music and words, the performance, the musicianship are ripe, and unripe, clean and hesitant, perfect and lovely. This, by far, is the best piece of work in modern music history.

  • Hi there,
    If you like Genesis from 1970 to 1974, you may want to check out a recent jazz release: Jazznesis (the music of Genesis 1970-1974), by a jazz-fusion band from Barcelona called Jaume Vilaseca Quartet: https://www.myspace.com/jaumevilaseca
    Great stuff!

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