Monday, May 4, 2015

Midnight Sun - 1971 - Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun 
Midnight Sun

01. Talkin'
02. King Of The Sun
03. Nobody
04. B.M
05. Sippin' Wine
06. Living On The Hill.
07. Rainbow Song.

- Peer Frost / guitars
- Carsten Smedegaard / drums
- Bent Hasselmann / winds
- Allan Mortensen / vocals
- Bo Stief / bass
- Niels Bronstad / piano

Danish 70's (1971-1974 ) progrock band, a second incarnation of Rainbow Band as it is essentially the same band that had to change their name in July 1971 as a Canadian band had already registered the name and the band was about to release ind the US and UK.
As Rainbow Band, a "Supergroup" of danish rock and jazz artists, they releases their selftitled debut album in 1970. The album was re-recorded with new vocalist Allan Mortensen in 1971 and re-released again in the second version under the new band name, Midnight Sun.
As Midnight Sun the band released two albums and two singles.
Bent Hesselmann went on as a solo artist, releasing the now rare album "Bøsse". Peer Frost left the band to join Savage Rose. Allan Mortensen also persued a solo career.

This album is a rework of the Rainbow Band album with a different singer, and since they chose to change their names (also used by a Canadian Band), so they changed the artwork as well. I'm not sure the Dean-esque artwork is a wise choice for this type of prog that relies more on jazz and blues than on folk and symphonics, though; and I preferred the more unusual previous artwork. With only Bisgaard being replaced by Allan Mortensen, the group remains constant, and if you expected more maturity (not saying it isn't the case), a lost of freshness was also tobe feared. And indeed, it is the case.

As opposed to the first version of the album, King Of The Sun has lost some 40 seconds and it's just as well as it remains the least interesting track on the album, while Where Are You Going To Be is almost doubled in time, both versions having their charms. Talking is the new version of Where Do You Live and I think I prefer the older version's more immediacy and urgency. The duo track of Nobody/BM are now separated (but it was already the case before) by another track, but none of them are drastically different.

Sippin' Wine is a relatively uninteresting blues track that brings little more to the album (it was the only new track on the second version of the album aznd written by Mortensen) and Rainbow Song had too few changes that the Long Hair Label decided to leave out the second version (time restrictions too). Among the two version of the mega Living On The Hill, the later version is clearer- sounding (production-wise), seems more jazz-rock tenser and urgent. Smedegaard's drumming being for a big part of this, as he pushes Frost's guitar antics to the limit and at wind-player Hesselman's expense.

The proghead could do a good deal by choosing the Long Hair release which holds both version of the album, but gives the preference the Rainbow Band artwork rather than the Dean artwork of Midnight Sun, which is just as well as it is much more charming. Midnight Sun would then again change vocalist (but decided against re-recording this album again) and made two further albums in the progressive jazz-rock vein. In the meantime I find this album's second version less enthralling overall even if there are some brighter points as well, but since both version are on the same album, the Freudian choice is not to be.



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