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A quiet progressive rock outfit with strong jazz fusion leanings, Gilgamesh emerged from the fringes of the fertile and beloved "Canterbury scene" as sort of an astute kid brother to Hatfield and the North. Amanda Parsons also contributed crystalline backing vocals to both groups. With Gilgamesh, keyboardist Alan Gowen attempted to erase the division between composed and improvised music, placing emphasis on texture and mood. The band broke up after one album, after which Gowen jumped between various Canterbury-related projects (Canterburians never staying in any one place too long). In 1978 Gowen joined National Health, then re-formed Gilgamesh for a reunion LP, Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into. This second effort featured the talents of legendary Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper. Gowen teamed with Hopper for several more albums, most notably Two Rainbows Daily. In 1982, Gowen succumbed to leukemia. National Health dedicated their third release to his memory. Entitled D.S. al Coda, it included compositions by Gowen that were written but had not yet appeared on an album -- until the release of the Playtime CD by the Cuneiform label in 2001. Cuneiform also released a Gilgamesh archival compilation entitled Arriving Twice in 2000, featuring previously unreleased tracks from three separate incarnations of the group between 1973 and 1975. ~ Peter Kurtz

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