Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ramses - 1981 - Light Fantastic

Light Fantastic

01. Sorry Ma (4:07)
02. Transport of joy (3:50)
03. Force of habit (5:53)
04. The light fantastic (3:40)
05. Earth into the dark (5:46)
06. Carry on (3:45)
07. Across the Everglades (6:00)

Bonus track on cd release:
08. Noise

- Norbert Langhorst / acoustic & electric guitars
- Winfried Langhorst / keyboards, vocals
- Matthias Möller / keyboards, vocals
- Reinhard Schröter / drums, percussion, vocals
- Herbert Wolfslast / bass, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars

Like many 70s symphonic prog groups, German or otherwise, Ramses faced challenges in the 80s. They felt they had to streamline their sound, or else oblivion would be their fate. Sadly, even this process rarely succeeded, perhaps because the prog ghosts are everywhere on such recordings, and few fans or programmers had the taste for it anymore.

While the lengthy epics with major instrumental workouts are all but gone, and the poppiness is often simultaneously underwhelming and overbearing, ultimately "Light Fantastic" is a worthwhile listen if you enjoy early 80s neo prog and dumbed down 70s stylings. Like Eloy, Ramses took the Alan Parsons project approach as they entered the decade, and songs like "Force of Habit" and "Earth in the Dark" are convincing tunes with strong vocals, melodies and excellent arranging and playing. They also threw in a bit of Fleetwood Mac in "Transport of Joy". Sometimes the choruses show a lack of imagination, as in the otherwise engaging title track , but only the opener "Sorry ma" is completely dispensable.

"Light Fantastic" sports barely the vestige of "La Leyla" or "Eternity Ride", and is not an original work at all, but then even Ramses' early recordings were highly derivative of what was going on at the time, or several years before, so taken in the context of its time, this is a good, not great album that deserved more notice.



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  4. Cheers! I used to have their first three LPs - actually, I had almost every record (100+) from Sky Records in Hamburg up until 1985 or thereabout; Serge Blenner, Wolfgang Riechmann, Streetmark, Cluster, Earthstar, Serge Blenner, Adelbert von Deyen, Mythos, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Dieter Moebius, Asmus Tietchens, Harlis...but I sold my vinyl collection some five years ago, 5,500 LPs...:-(