Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ache - 1970 - De Homine Urbano

Ache 
1970 
De Homine Urbano



01. De Homine Urbano (19:01)
  01) Overture
  02) Soldier theme
  03) Ballerina theme
  04) Pas de deux
  05) Ogre theme
  06) Awakening
  07) The dance of the demons
  08) Pas de trois
  09) The last attempt
  10) Finale
02. Little Things (18:37)


- Torsten Olafsson / bass, vocals, harpsichord
- Finn Olafsson / guitars, vocals
- Peter Mellin / Hammond organ, piano, vibraphone, vocals
- Glenn Fischer / drums, percussion


The seeds for ACHE were sown in the early 60's via the Danish beat group THE HARLOWS. When HARLOWS Torsten Olafsson (bass), Peter Mellin (organ) and Glenn Fischer (drums) were joined by former MCKENZIE SET guitarist Finn Olafsson in 1968, ACHE was born.

They spent the next two years working on an extended piece called "De Homine Urbano", which was released as programme music to an experimental "rock ballet" in 1970. Released on the Philips label the same year with an accompanying single of non-album tracks, it netted positive reviews in the Danish press. ACHE's "rock theater" created something of a sensation in the rock underground, and "Green Man" followed in 1971. The next major ACHE project, by a revised six-piece version of the band, was a conceptual work called "Pictures From Cyclus 7", written in collaboration with lyricist Bo Lillesöe in 1975 and released one year later.

Ache have remained active on and off, albeit sporadically, ever since. Their only other major work (i.e.: not counting singles and compilations) has been "Blå som altid", a folk-oriented album released in 1978.

 `De Homine Urbano' is the debut work from vintage progressive rock related band Ache, hailing from Denmark. Originally recorded as a soundtrack to an experimental rock-opera in 1970, it should come as no surprise that the music here has numerous lengthy flowing instrumental sections, as well as little in the way of vocals to distract from that. Split into two side long pieces, the band present a rough-around-the-edges take on symphonic prog, somewhat along the lines of early classical influenced bands such as The Nice, but never as fancy or sophisticated. Instead the band charges through a frequently heavy, wild and more reckless extended work, with just a slightly sloppier and dirtier edge to the sound, and it's all the more addictive for it. With plenty of fuzzy organ workouts, delicate piano moments and varied ragged percussion, it's a fascinating work that reveals its strengths over repeated plays.

Considered a ten-part suite, the eighteen plus minute title-track offers a colourful range of instrumental passages with just a few vocal moments thrown in as well. Spiralling organ that grows and retreats back and forth in urgency, delicate bass, snapping drumming and dirty distorted lead guitar introduces the piece. Admittedly the band let themselves down a little when one of their main repeated guitar/vocal melodies throughout this piece is ripped straight off the Beatles track `Every Little Thing', or more accurately the Yes cover take that appeared on their debut album, but it only shows up in one or two spots, with other brief nonsensical lyrics taking on a freeform rambling quality. Piano is gentle one second, jagged and psychedelic the next, the cascading electric guitar driving and bluesy one moment, jazzy guitar licks soon after. The Hammond organ is constantly deliciously scratchy, sometimes along the lines of the early Eloy and ELP albums, and the drumming is always sprightly and full of spontaneity. All of these are worked through a range of tempo changes back and forth, with an effective use of grandious reprises for dramatic build. Especially nice is the subdued finale with tinkling ambient chimes, droning organ and soft hand percussion with a victorious electric guitar solo (sounding very much along the lines of early Genesis!) is especially pretty.

The nineteen minute flip-side `Little Things' might just be even better! Full of confidence and tasteful playing, it constrasts beautiful passages with more intense and suspensful emotional moments. There's a darkness and creeping unease throughout the piece that makes for even more of a statement of intent and a display of the band's abilities. It opens with marching drums over prancing organ that brings some lovely fanfare pomp, with some lovely fleeting blissful acoustic guitar moments too. The piece suddenly heads in a darker direction, with unexpected nightmarish stalking piano and somber organ drones, the bass thicker and more menacing throughout. Fiery jazz fusion electric guitar runs spliced with hypnotic middle-eastern ambience burst forth, the entire band playing with rambuctious and thrashing power, but listen carefully to the expertly executed build with creeping piano, punching repetitive bass and chiming guitars over rising and falling Hammond crescendos in the final minutes. Powerful drumming drives the melodic and more upbeat finale home, the band breaking in and out of a tornado of swirling noise.

Initially somewhat underwhelming on first impression, the debut Ache album quickly wins over listeners with it's energetic playing and ambitious arrangements. Although a rarer LP, it can now be easily purchased on an affordable CD backed with the also superb second album `Green Man'. Fans of early Hammond heavy albums by bands like Eloy, Grobshcnitt and Jane, as well as those curious of a dirtier take on music similar to The Nice and Emerson, Lake and Palmer should investigate this one right away. It's an addictive album in need of a little more exposure and more listeners to enjoy it!
This Danish band was founded in '68 and featured Torsten Olafsson (bass and vocals), Finn Olafsson (guitar and vocals), Peter Mellin (organ and keyboards) and Glen Fisher (drums and pecussion). They made two albums: "De hombre urbano ('70) and "Green man" ('71). The music is similar to the Early British Progressive Rock Movement (JULIAN'S TREATMENT, RARE BIRD, BEGGAR'S OPERA, ATOMIC ROOSTER), the German Krautrock (early JANE, ELOY, RAMSES, TRIUMVIRAT) and Dutch masters EARTH & FIRE (their early, con-commercial era). In 2000 both albums were released on 1 CD entitled "Ache: De hombre urbano + Green man". The music is based upon splendid keyboardplay (many floods of Hammond organ) and some fiery electric guitar. The first album contains two 'side-long tracks', the atmosphere is typically end Sixties and early Seventies with lots of solos and long, exciting interplay between guitar and keyboards, like jams. The second album includes shorter songs but the climates are in the vein of the first LP. If you listen to this CD, it's incredible that the magnificent keyboardplay is delivered by an unknown Danish musician!

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