Annotations


~ Walk Into Light ~

(1)

 

An introduction to
"Walk Into Light"

Ian Anderson's long awaited solo album finally saw daylight in November 1983. His first attempt had been "A" (1980), which eventually turned out to be a group album, albeit with a different line-up. Though the album was not the acoustic one the majority of Tull-followers had been waiting for, it definitely was a remarkable effort, showing new aspects of Ian's musicianship.

Ian explained to David Rees, that he wanted to take the opportunity to experiment with something outside the frame of the Jethro Tull music of the time (1; p.105). Instead of singing and playing acoustic guitar and flute, he turned to the new electronic means of the time like samplers and sequencers, new keyboard technology and the so often cursed drum machine. One should realize, that the early eighties were the beginning of the techno age, of computer driven music, and though the album nowadays sounds hopelessly outdated, it was at the time a revolutionary step in Ian's musical career as he tried to master a new technology in order to find ways to innovate himself musically. Though he wrote most of the songs himself, he didn't do so without the assistance of keyboard wizard Peter-John Vetesse, who was very familiar with modern music technology. Five of the songs were co-productions.

* Keyboard wizard Peter-John Vettese

The album contains some interesting songs, but it lacks the passion, the humour and the "sting" of cynicism that features his earlier work. The mechanical approach and the use of the drum machine made it sound sterile and detached, which was a bit of a disappointment for many fans. Greg Russo states, that "Looking at it with a wider view, "Walk Into Light" caught Ian Anderson in transition, bridging the gap between standard rock structures and more technical, experimental song stylings" (2; p.130).

When taking the lyrics in account, it is striking to see that this album - like "The Broadsword And The Beast" - reflects the atmosphere of the early eighties. Anderson implicitely comments on that era by portraying peoples feelings of alienation, fear and uncertainty caused by the economic depression on one hand and the increasing influence of technology on peoples life on the other hand. Both in content and in the applied musical technology this album is a true document of its time and will proved to be valuable when appreciated in that context.
* Jan Voorbij;
Cited works: 1. David Rees: "Minstrels In The Gallery - A History Of Jethro Tull" (Firefly Publishing, 1998); 2. Greg Russo: "Flying Colours - The Jethro Tull Reference Manual" (Crossfire Publications, 1999)

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Annotations

Fly By Night

  • There is an uncanny similarity between the main melody in this song (as played by the flute) and the track 'Time Lapse' by the British composer Michael Nyman, written for the soundtrack of the Peter Greenaway film 'A Zed And Two Noughts' which was released in 1987.
    The sixteen bars of melody are copied exactly by Nyman, with the exception of the very last note, and scored at about half the speed. He also extends and develops the melody for a further sixteen bars. I find it hard to believe that Nyman didn't 'steal' this melody line, unless, by some coincidence, both he and Peter-John Vettese were taking their inspiration from the exact same piece of Baroque music --  possibly Mozart.
    The soundtrack album for 'A Zed And Two Noughts' is still readily available, if anyone is interested in comparing the two pieces.
    * Andy Jackson

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Made In England

  • In this song the economic situation in Britain is implicitely reflected, esp. the crisis in the late seventies - early eighties. This subject has inspired Ian when writing several songs, like the ones we find on the 'Broadsword' album (1982). While he usually describes how this economic crisis has affected the life of common people, we see a person outlined here who is not willing to accept what is happening:
    "He accepts no unemployment
    and is to indeterminate station bred.
    Is possessed of skills and reason.
    Flies the flag upon his head."

    Is Ian here referring to activists in the Union or in the Labour Party, opposing to or agitating against the policy of the Thatcher government?

  • "Flies the flag upon his head": I think Ian is referring here to the habit among skinheads of tattooing the Union Jack on their foreheads (although more usually it was on the neck somewhere). This became popular around 1977, just after the Punk explosion in Britain, the skinheads being one of the unemployed, disaffected youth movements of that time who expressed both their patriotism and their social rebellion with this unusual act.
    * Andy Jackson

  • ".... in England's green and pleasant land" is a verseline from the William Blake poem "A New Jerusalem" (1804), also used in the song Coronach.

  • "Brunel's tunnels and bridges bold" refers to Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), a British civil engineer, famous for his revolutionary design and construction of bridges, railway structures and steel ships, like the SS Great Britain, the first propellor driven steel ship to cross the Atlantic.
    * Jan Voorbij


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Walk Into Light

Black And White Television

Continuation

 


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Jan Voorbij (1998-2009)