I was introduced to this album in secondary school by my long standing music collaborator Peter Ashby. I remember very vividly being introduced to this along with "We're only in it for the money" by Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention on the same day. What a sonic assault for such young ears in 1976. The album was originally released in 1969.
I had heard Spooky Tooth but wasn't particularly enamoured by them. They seemed a pretty average pedestrian rock band to me. I did like their cover of Janis Ian's "Societys Child" along with another couple of tracks but I was just really discovering what I liked. I had grown up on jazz via my dad, country music and late 50's early 60's rock courtesy of my mum, I had a vague interest in the pop music but wasn't particularly inspired, my grandfather wetted my appetite with some of Bob Dylan's music and the blues of Blind Lemon Jefferson but Pete was introducing me to a world beyond that of mainstream rock and I was getting very interested in the weirder and more unusual stuff of which I had never heard the like before.
My dad had introduced me to the music of Van Der Graaf Generator which had ignited a spark in me but for the most part his passion was more jazz than rock which was something I didn't really appreciate fully until much later on.
Pete had two older brothers who had a taste for the something beyond the mainstream, so we would often listen to stuff round his house on an evening after school and sometimes instead of school. About a year on from this particular time we would be learning to play instruments and began making music ourselves inspired by such weirdness but with very limited ability.
To this day "Ceremony" is one of my favourite albums. I love everything about it from the artwork to the density and intensity of the sound and the overall atmosphere. It has a very distinctive and unique atmosphere that sets it apart as a body of work that to my mind is peerless.
This also opened the door for me to discover the world of experimental and avant-garde music which inspired a lot of my own recordings and excursions into making music by playing conventional instruments in an unconventional way, speeding up and slowing down the recordings, chopping up tapes, running them through rudimentary effects pedals and doing the same with household sounds such as hitting radiators with various different household objects.
I was stunned to discover that the group disliked this record so much. The musicianship is exemplary and Henry's contribution really is otherworldly.
It takes the form of a Catholic Mass. If mass is this engaging and invigorating I would be there every week.