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After their second album, “King of Kings,” the Pyramids relocated to Oakland & reshuffled personnel before recording “Birth/Speed/Merging” in ’76. The most obvious change in the band is the addition of an acoustic bassist, on top of the electric bass they already had. This gives the band a heavier sound at certain points, while other times the bass is strummed like some sort of strange guitar. At the same time, they lost the piano which was used on the second album, which allowed them to return to a looser, more open sound similar to the first album, “Lalibela.” The playing, the soloing in particular, has developed to a high level. Idris Ackamoor reels of some high intensity circular breathing alto solos, & Margaux Simmons’s flute is soaring & diving all over the place. The Afro-exotic percussion is still in full effect, driving drums right in there, & numerous stunning moments are generated in the high intensity ensemble sections. The structure & composition is also a little more developed. This still occupies the same post avant Afro-centric jazz world of their other two albums, but there are extended forays into more experimental zones. This is probably a pretty full realization of the type of thing the band had been pursuing from the get go, & maybe they sensed this, & called it a day – this is the last Pyramids record, all of which are classics of underground black music, & all pretty tough or practically impossible to get before these reissues – fantastic. Replica edition, 180g vinyl.