Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Agamemnon - 1981 - Partl l & ll

Partl l & ll

01. Agamemnon Youth
02. Agamemnon, King of Mykene

- Urs Ritter / drums
- Erich Kuster / vocals, guitars, organ
- Walter Rothmund / bass, keyboards
- Werner Kuster / piano, keyboards, guitars, flute

Recorded at Agamemnon Studio, Schweiz (1980-1981).

AGAMEMNON was a German band that recorded their only release back in 1980. There is some speculation that the band is actually from Switzerland, as that is where the original LP was privately released. Either way, AGAMEMNON S/T is keyboard dominated space/psych/prog music. The lyrics are in German. It is reminiscent of Minotaurus, Epidaurus and in some parts Kyrie Eleison. This album features the first two stories from the mythologic Greek hero. It is divided into 2 main tracks as Parts I and II .

This mysterious 1980's album haunted my inspiration, and luckily I eventually found the Greek mythology inspired funny record. It is also a mythic heroic deed to carry the crown of 1970's progressive rock's crown trough the eighties, an era which is yet strongly present in the sound, especially in synths. Overall aural flavor resembles slighlty the tonal textures of CAROL OF HARVEST's first record without the vocals, and also the albums of STREETMARK. Lady vocals are not though used in this record, excluding some background parts. Mentioned synths support strongly this folky soundrealm, and slightly clumsy but pleasant male vocals describe the epic tale in English. Flow of music is logical, relating to European musical heritage in classical and traditional folk music leanings, performed trough post-psychedelic art rock philosophies. The duration of time used for studying the musical themes is quite amazing, as the dual parts are constructed from minimal basics. For example the first ten minutes concist from sole phasing between two key notes, which carry multiple layers of instrumental variations and innovations, giving birth to very stimulating and pleasant voyage. Also the cleverness in arrangements is evident, an factor not always coupling hypnotic underground music. The soothing vortex of symphatetic underground rock flow has cosmic and bucolic levels, where symphonic and psychelic traditional elements merge together as good willing, mellow entity. I think this record could fit as basis of animated movie for the legend, or maybe coul work for vintage gaming background music to early 1980's "Ulysses" PC game, or reading the Gilgamesh epic. So, "We were amused by this warmhearted artifact".

After Shave - 1972 - Skin Deep

After Shave 
Skin Deep

01. Skin Deep
02. Him
03. Paper Woman
04. Ride, Ride, Ride
05. Sweet Home
06. Amsterdam in My Living Room
07. Near The Sun
08. Pink Rose
09. Sunflower

*Pierre-Alain Kessi (Pakman): guitar and vocal
*André (Dédé) Pascal: drums
*Bruno Zuest: vocal
*“Noldi”: bass guitar

The group was produced in May 1968, in Bienne, by Pierre-Alain Kessi (Pakman) (guitar and vocal) and André (Dédé) Pascal (drums), reinforced by Bruno Zuest (vocal) (future father of “QL”s bassist) and by “Noldi” (bass guitar). One of its first gig consisted in the featuring, in Spring 68, into a pop contest organized by a Zurich magazine. Disqualified without glory with this commentary : “the group might be good if the guitarist did not use so much distortion…”. Nevertheless, the group carried on playing the blues out of the repertoires of Cream, Hendrix, Mayall, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. A first single was recorded but never marketed (Look for a woman), because the group had run out of money. After different changes of line up, the group consisted in a trio in 1970, following the withdrawal of lead singer and bass guitarist, this last one being replaced by Jean-Claude Fontana (Cacou). With this new formation, the group won the famous first price in Golf Drouot in Paris in November 1970. In December 1970, Dédé decided to quit the group and was replaced by the late and regretted Rodolphe (Jötu) Baumgartner. Between 1971 and 1974 After Shave became famous, creating their own legend and repertoire. They begun touring in Switzerland, France and Germany, and experienced their first LP called “Skin Deep”. This album is now being gloriously praised in “Hard rock anthology 1968-1980” by Denis Meyer, Editions Enfer Magazine, as well as in the “Encyclopédie du hard rock des seventies” of Denis Protat, Editions Alternatives. Those two specialists repertory more than one thousand groups and records. After Shave also produced two singles. The group took on a new English singer named Barry James Brown, and a new bass guitarist, Silvano “Gugus” Paroni replaced Cacou.
At that time, Pierre-Alain Kessi and his drummer Jötu had the great honour to accompany Champion Jack Dupree on his last Swiss tour. After Shave recorded in 1974 a new LP called “Strange Feelings”, accompanied by a second guirarist, Peter “Misteli” Mischler, in a studio proposed by the producers in Antibes. Unfortunately, the producers not having ever paid the bill, the tapes were impounded and reappeared at the beginning of the 90’s with an Italian pirater edition, mentioning other name and titles of the pieces. Copies of the original mixing still being in Pierre-Alain Kessi’s possession, a new production can still be envisaged. At the beginning of 1975, After Shave recorded a demo with two titles : “So you’r gone away” and “Ain’t ready for you yet” that draw EMI’s attention, in England, who was ready to sign the group, as long as they changed their name. So After Shave became Slick. The contract would nevertheless not being signed, being cancelled by EMI’s directors who had just hit the jackpot with Ten CC’s “I’m not in love”, this last piece sounding like “So you gona way”. It seems not to be such a good idea to compete with oneself! Exit After Shave, exit Slick! Everybody was back again to its first occupations (from

After Tea - 1971 - Jointhouse Blues

After Tea 
Jointhouse Blues

01. Jointhouse Blues 4:06
02. You've Got to Move Me 5:19
03. I'm Here 3:35
04. Someday 4:08
05. Let's Come All Together 5:52
06. Trial / Punishment / The End 24:58

*Ferry Lever (guitar, vocals)
*Polle Eduard (bass, guitar, vocals)
*Ilja Gort (drums)
*Uly Grün (keyboards)

After Tea was founded in 1967 by Hans van Eyck and Polle Eduard, both ex-members of the Tee Set. The group produced three moderate hits in 1967-1968: "Not Just A Flower In Your Hair", "We Will Be There After Tea" and "Snowflakes on Amsterdam". The most important composer Hans van Eyck left shortly after the recordings of the first LP, "National Disaster" and subsequently rejoined the Tee Set.
Martin Hage was next to leave, replaced firstly by Pierre van der Linden (later to Focus, Trace), and later by Ilja Gort. In 1969, German keyboard player Uly Grun joined the group. That same year, Ray Fenwick departed for a solo career. He later returned to England to rejoin his 60s bandmates the Spencer Davis Group. He was replaced by ex-Baroques guitarist Ferry Lever. In 1971, the group finally split up. However, just four years later, Polle Eduard, Ferry Lever and Ilja Gort reunited once again to record the single, "Mexico", under the After Tea monicker. Polle Eduard continued his career as songwriter by penning a few for Nico Haak, and subsequently recorded an album of Dutch songs one year later, in 1976. Ilja Gort worked as a producer for Basart.

After Life - 1975 - Cauchemar

After Life

01. Cauchemar   
02. Really Love You   
03. Exit   
04. The Old Man   
05. Rolling Down   
06. Bible 1   
07. Try People Try   
08. (Le Secret De) La Viellle Dame   
09. Your Mother   
10. Posology   
11. Things Of The Life

Bass – Xavier Dubois
Drums – Jose Munoz
Guitar – Ralph Benatar
Harmonica – (Roddy) R. Julienne

Published in 1975 on Discophon (Spain).
Limited edition of 500 Copies.

After Life are one of those insane rarities, so obscure that it’s just now surfacing to the collector market. They were a French group whose only album gained a release in Spain. Turns out someone was digging through an old farmhouse in Aragon and found a stash under the hay, behind the pitchforks....or something. As for the music, it’s one of the most baffling releases I’ve heard in years. On the plus half, there’s a haunting progressive laced sound, with that doomy vibe only the French seem to conjure up. Recalls first album East of Eden or The Visitors, and the vocalist has that gruff voice which is very similar to the guy from Alusa Fallax. Most of these are sung, whispered, or narrated in French. The Visitors influence is not that surprising when one learns that the master of all things obscure is involved: J.P. Massiera. On the downside, and I mean really down, there’s these godawful rock-n-roll tracks, like Bad Company playing the most insipid Bachman Turner Overdrive tunes. Complete with honky-tonk piano, harmonica and badly accented English vocals. It’s not a good A-side, bad B-side situation, but rather they are intertwined for an entirely frustrating listen. Obtain a cheap copy, but don’t spend too much time digging for it – at a record show or in the barns of the Spanish landscape...

Affinity - 2007 - Origins: The Baskervilles 1965

Origins The Baskervilles 1965

Christmas Ball, December 1965
01. She's Not There - (2:32)
02. I Feel Fine - (3:02)
03. It's Good News Week - (3:03)
04. Mr. Tambourine Man - (3:25)
05. I Saw Her Standing There - (2:31)
06. Hallelulah I Love Her So - (2:32)
07. Freight Train - (2:09)
08. Love Potion No.9 - (2:02)
09. You Like Me Too Much - (2:40)
10. Day Tripper - (2:57)
11. We Can Work It Out - (2:10)
12. Peggy Sue Got Married - (2:28)
13. I Can't Get No Satisfaction - (3:46)
14. Yesterday - (2:13)
15. Bumble Bee - (2:19)
16. Perfidia - (2:16)
17. Another Girl - (2:12)
18. Summertime Blues - (2:32)
19. We Wish You a Merry Christmas - (1:37)
20. Get Off My Cloud - (1:39)
21. Sweets For My Sweet - (0:38)
22. Hang on Sloopy - (0:42)
23. Get Off My Cloud - (1:43)

Bonus Tracks
Rehearsal, January 1965

24. Mr Tambourine Man - (3:27)
25. Always Something There to Remind Me - (2:37)
26. You Like Me Too Much - (2:50)

Rehearsal, June 1965
27. Perfidia - (2:18)
28. Trains and Boats and Planes - (3:06)
29. Last Time, The - (3:22)

Chemistry Society Party, December 1965
30. Hey You've Got to Hide Your Love Away - (2:24)
31. Take Five - (3:06)
32. We Wish You a Merry Christmas - (1:01)

The Baskervilles:
Andy Brentnall - Vocals
Kris Johnson - Guitars
Brian Davis - Guitars
Mo Foster - Drums
John Carter - Background Vocals

Additional personnel
Helen Wright - Tambourine

At first glance this doesn’t look a very promising release; for starters, the only future Affinity member within is Mo Foster, and he’s playing drums. Besides, the Baskervilles were no more than a short-lived college covers band, and the bulk of the group members left music swiftly behind once they gained their degrees.
However the band appear to be astonishingly accomplished — even Foster, who learned drums while playing them here. As was the fashion in those days, the Baskervilles faithfully echoed as closely as possible the original style and feel of the songs, yet their repertoire was diverse enough to showcase their jazz, blues, surf, and R&B influences.
Their steaming “Freight Train,” scorching “Summertime Blues,” thundering “Peggy Sue Got Married,” and exuberant “Hallelujah I Love Her So” show where their real sympathies lay. The group’s take on “Get Off of My Cloud” comes close to rivaling the Rolling Stones, whom they promptly snookered by using the song as the opening of a medley comprising more saccharine fare.
Just as amusing is the Baskervilles’ recorder-led stab at “Take Five,” or Foster exuberantly battering about on his kit on “I Feel Fine.” More telling is the slight surf twist Kris Johnson gives “She’s Not There,” a trick he successfully employs elsewhere on the set, and reaches an apotheosis on the rehearsal version of “Perfidia.”
The bulk of this album was recorded live at two school functions and the Baskervilles never attempted any original numbers, happy just to reproduce others’ hits in the band’s own indomitable manner.

Affinity - 2004 - Origins 1965-67

Origins 1965-67

01. Autumn Leaves (4:49)
02. Django (3:30)
03. My Funny Valentine (3:16)
04. I Got Plenty of Nothing (4:54)
05. Date Dere (6:21)
06. Lover Man (5:23)
07. Blues Etude (1:49)
08. Some Day My Prince Will Come (2:28)
09. Cubano Chant (2:35)
10. Jordu (0:58)
11. My Funny Valentine (5:00)
12. Autumn Leaves (5:31)
13. You Look Good to Me (6:17)
14. The Preacher (5:34)
15. My Funny Valentine (2:13)

- Mo Foster / Drums
- Lynton Naiff / Piano
- Nick Nichols / Double bass

After Baskervilles, drummer Mo Foster joins future Affinity pianist Lynton Naiff. Alongside double-bassist Nick Nicholas, the pair formed the succinctly and so accurately named Jazz Trio.
This trio’s recordings make up this set, a clutch of songs recorded in sundry locations around their university base: a rudimentary studio, the debating chamber, and various noisy bars; spanning over three years.
It’s fairly straightforward stuff; the repertoire is locked into light jazz arrangements of sundry pop and torch classics.
However, one definite treat on board, as the final track, a reprise of “My Funny Valentine,” reunites Nicholas and Foster at a 1980 party, then adds Linda Hoyle’s so distinctive vocals to the brew. It isn’t brilliant, it isn’t especially well-recorded. But it does lend a neat circularity to the collection.

Affinity - 2003 - Live Instrumentals 1969

Live Instrumentals 1969

01. Jive Samba (4:50)
02. Dis Here (5:48)
03. Comin' Home Baby (3:48)
04. Out of the Storm (7:25)
05. Fever (3:15)
06. 13 Death March (5:42)
07. All Blues (4:17)
08. 81 (4:01)
09. A Day in the Life (6:48)
10. All Blues (4:25)
11. 81 (4:36)
12. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (4:47)
13. Jive Samba (3:45)
14. On Green Dolphin Street (4:28)

- Mo Foster / bass
- Nick Nicholas / double bass
- Lynton Naiff / piano, organ (Hammond)
- Grant Serpell / drums

A magnificent piece of archive scouring, “Live Instrumentals” was recorded during the month or so that Affinity vocalist Linda Hoyle spent recuperating from an operation on her vocal chords, leaving bandmates to fill their time with a month-long residency at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London.
Nine of the tracks here, including tumultuous jazz-rock versions of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” (a staple of the like-minded Brian Auger’s repertoire around the same time), and “Fever” were recorded there; four more were taken from a period-radio broadcast, and the album wraps up with the instrumental rampage “On Green Dolphin Street,” recorded by the University of Sussex Jazz Trio, from which the original Affinity ultimately arose.

Affinity - 2003 - 1971-72


01. Moira's Hand (5:21)
02. Grey Skies (8:42)
03. Cream on Your Face (5:23)
04. Sunshower (5:47)
05. All Along the Watchtower/It's About That... (7:45)
06. Rio (4:50)
07. Poor Man's Son (3:25)
08. Sarah's Wardrobe (4:17)
09. Highgate (3:56)

- Mo Foster / bass, percussion, organ (Hammond), double bass, Fender piano
- Vivienne McAuliffe / vocals, vacuum cleaner
- Grant Serpell / drums, vacuum cleaner
- Dave Watts / piano, organ (Hammond), vacuum cleaner

Singer Linda Hoyle and organ player Lynton Naiff left Affinity in 1971. This set — aptly titled for the timespan it covers — not only documents the band’s further activities, it also suggests that their ultimate demise was far from timely.
With Vivienne McAuliffe proving a more than ample replacement, Affinity continued both gigging and recording, and this collection of previously unreleased demos and outtakes finds the band in excellent form.
One can only imagine how great they might have been, had they had a full studio (and a recording budget) at their disposal!

Affinity - 2002 - If You Live

If You Live 


01. Eli's Coming [Single] (3:28)
02. United States of Mind [Single] (2:45)
03. Yes Man (7:22)
04. If You Live (3:12)
05. I Am the Walrus  (4:04)
06. You Met Your Match (2:59)
07. Long Voyage (4:17)
08. Little Lonely Man (3:57)

- Mo Foster / percussion, guitar (bass), double bass
- Linda Hoyle / vocals
- Lynton Naiff / percussion, piano, harpsichord, organ, piano (electric), vibraphone, Wurlitzer
- Grant Serpell / percussion, drums

Excellent early jazz-rock/blues/pop/psychedelic band recorded and released just one album during their existence. Really pity!
This album is compilation of their singles, outtakes and unreleased materials. As often with such releases, you can't compare it with regular album, but sometimes such releases contain interesting material for fans. Same case is there - if you never heard Affinity's music, just start from their excellent debut/only album. But if you listened it and love their music, as I am, then try to find this release. You wouldn't be disappointed.
Main thing which attracts on this album - even from such eclectic material you can hear how huge potency had this band! Linda Hoyle is great vocalist, a bit in a manner of Julie Driscoll, and compositions all are melodic, with fantastic atmosphere of their time. Being a eclectic compilation, no strange songs are too different to sound as regular album. But - you will find some brilliant moments here, between some average and raw songs.
Stylistically, album's music is eclectic mix or r'n'b, early bluesy jazz rock, psychedelic pop and rock. Main difference with debut album is there are some great songs and some average songs. On their only studio album there are no fillers at all. But as rare possibility to hear some additional materials, this album is great release for band's fans.

Affinity - 1970 - Affinity


01. I am and so are you (3:31)
02. Night flight (7:15)
03. I wonder if I care as much (3:20)
04. Mr. Joy (5:02)
05. Three sisters (4:57)
06. Cocoanut grove (2:35)
07. All along the watchtower (11:36)

Bonus tracks on Angel Air re-issue (2002):
08. Eli's coming (3:32)
09. United states of mind (2:49)
10. Yes Man (7:25)
11. If You Live (3:15)
12. I Am The Walrus (4:08)
13. You Met Your Match (3:03)
14. Long Voyage (4:18)
15. Little Lonely Man (3:58)

- Mo Foster / bass, bass (electric)
- Linda Hoyle / vocals
- Mike Jupp / guitar, guitar (electric), guitar (12 String)
- Lynton Naiff / piano, harpsichord, piano (electric), vibraphone
- Grant Serpell / percussion, drums

Like many bands riding on the crest of the jazz-rock wave in the early '70s, AFFINITY released one album and were just getting their footing when they decided to split up, despite the album being well received by the critics. They were fronted by Lynda Hoyle, a powerful vocalist who sounds like a cross between Carol King and Julie Driscoll. The other band members were Mo Foster (bass), Mike Jupp (electric and 12-string guitars), Lynton Naiff (keyboards) and Grant Serpell (drums and percussion). Basically, their music is an eclectic mixture of a blues-rock with jazz, pop and folk influences as well as some rudiments of early '70s psychedelia. Their sound is very brassy and the Hammond organ omnipresent, the overall product sounding very progressive for its day.

Issued in 1970, their only official (self-titled) album shows much variety as well as plenty of soloing. As the excellent sound, musicianship and production will attest, it is a superb achievement for the times. Their material has since been reissued on different cd's, some featuring studio demos and full-band rehearsals. One of them is made up entirely of live instrumentals, recorded at a time when vocalist Linda Hoyle was temporarily hospitalized for a vocal chord operation, leaving the rest of the band on their own.

With horn-based rock bands like Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chase and Chicago enjoying massive late-1960s commercial successes, it was only naturally that record companies all over the world would begin signing any group of folks holding brass instruments.  If nothing else, statistics would dictate that on occasion someone with actual talent would get signed to a recording deal and in this instance the Vertigo label had the numbers on their side.  (Paramount acquired US distribution rights.)

Affinity traces its roots back to the mid-1960s when Lynton Naiff, Nick Nicholas and Grant Serpell met while attending Sussex University.  The three discovered a common interest in jazz, forming The US Jazz Trio.  When Serpell graduated fellow student Mo Foster took over the drums.  Graduating themselves, Naiff and Serpell recorded a pair of singles with the Sussex-based pop outfit Ice, before deciding to return to a more jazz-oriented sound.  Auditions added English teacher/singer Linda Hoyle and  former Tridents guitarist Mike Jopp to the fold (Jopp had previously replaced Jeff Beck in The Tridents).  Jopp's addition had another benefit in that his father agreed to finance the purchase of instruments for the group.

With their line up in place the band spent several month rehearsing and settling on the name Affinity.  They made their public debut at a October 1968 performance at Ronnie Scott's London Revolution Club.  Scott signed them on as house band and quickly became their manager.

Showcasing the talents of bassist Mo Foster, singer Linda Hoyle, guitarist Mike Jopp, keyboard player Lynton Naiff and former Ice drummer Grant Serpell, 1970's John Anthony produced "Affinity" is actually pretty entertaining.  It's far better than the critics careless 'jazz rock' label would have you expect and while the horns undoubtedly put off  lots of potential listeners, they're kept largely under control throughout the seven tracks.  Instead the primary focus was on the attractive and talent Ms. Hoyle and to a lesser degree Naiff's keyboards (betcha thought I was going to say 'Naiff's organ') and Jopp's tasty guitar (check out his work on 'Three Sisters').  That's not to say I don't understand where the critics were coming from.  Musically the collection shared some common ground with the likes of Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll, though thankfully without the irritating jazz influences favored by the former.  I've also read comparisons to Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane though I don't really hear it.  Hoyle certainly had a nice voice that shared the same crystalline delivery, but anyone expecting to hear West Coast-styled psych would be grossly disappointed by these measured performances.  So what are the highlights?  Well, to my ears Hoyle and company were at their best on the more focused, rock-oriented tracks like 'I Am and So Are You' and 'Night Flight'.  On the downside, they turn in one of the worst Hendrix-does-Dylan covers I've ever heard (a seemingly endless 'All Along the Watchtower').   Vertigo also tapped the album for a UK-only single: 1970's 'I Wonder If I Care As Much' b/w 'Three Sisters' (Vertigo catalog number 6059 007).

"Affinity" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) I Am and So Are You  (Alan Hull) - 3:30
2.) Night Flight  (Mike Jopp - Linda Hoille) - 7:15
3.) I Wonder If I Care As Much   (Don Everly - Phil Everly) - 3:19
4.) Mr. Joy   (A. Peacock) - 5:03

(side 2)
1.) Three Sisters   (Lynton Naiff -Linda Hoyle) - 4:56
2.) Cocoanut Grove (sic)   (John Sebastian - Zal Yanovsky) - 2:45
3.) All Along the Watchtower   (Bob Dylan) - 11:37

Credited to Linda Hoyle and Affinity, there's also a 1970 English non-LP single: 'Eli's Coming' b/w 'United States Of Mind' (Vertigo catalog number 6059 018). 

Having begun sessions for a follow-on album and an American tour, in early 1971 Hoyle and Naiff both handing in their resignations.  

The survivors subsequently recruited ex-Principal Edwards Magic Theatre singer Vivienne McAuliffe and former Tornados keyboardist Dave Watts as replacements.  The new line recorded some demos and actively toured, but didn't release another effort until some thirty years later when the small Angel label reissued the original LP with the inclusion of the single and five previously unreleased tracks, including two new instrumentals recorded by Foster and Jupp ("Affinity 1971 - 1972" - Angel catalog number SPJCD145). 

 AFFINITY's self-titled album from 1970 is one of the best English progressive albums ever. This album has been available on CD before, but this new Angel Air edition contains no less than 8 bonus tracks. The original LP was released on the well-known Vertigo label, which at the time were one of the most interesting labels for progressive rock. The value of the original LP has reached £100.
Their music is a blend of blues, jazz-rock and progressive rock with lots of nice Hammond organ. The band had a fantastic female vocalist in Linda Hoyle. AFFINITY started writing for a second album, but in January 1971 Linda left the band and that was the end for the whole band.
If you're into 70's progressive rock this album should have its given place in your collection, and if you haven't already got it you should buy it immediately.

The Aerovons - 1969 - Resurrection

The Aerovons 

01. World Of You
02. Resurrection
03. Say Georgia
04. With Her
05. Quotes & Photos
06. Words From A Song
07. Bessy Goodheart
08. Something Of Yours
09. She's Not Dead
10. The Years
11. Everything's Alright
12. The Children

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios 1969, in analogue Stereo

Tom Hartman - piano, guitar
Bob "Ferd" Frank - guitar
Phil Edholm - guitar
Mike Lombardo - drums
Bill Lombardo - bass

The Aerovons were formed in 1966 in St Louis, Missouri by Tom Hartman. A 1967 demo record was heard by a representative of Capitol Records. In spite of an offer to record in Los Angeles, the group held out hope that they could record in London, the recording home of their heroes, The Beatles. In 1968 they travelled to London twice, receiving offers from both EMI and Decca. In 1969, the band returned to London and recorded an album at Abbey Road  studio. Guitarist Bob Frank, a long time member of the group, left the group just before they went to London to record, due to personal issues. Despite blogs and rumors to the contrary, Bob was never "let go" and was always missed, according to leader Tom Hartman. Only once in England did the band realized that his replacement, Phil Edholm, and the group had differences that proved insurmountable. He left shortly after they began recording.

Once the album was finished, the band returned to St. Louis where more personal problems between a group member and his family caused the group to splinter. EMI decided not to release the album. EMI invited Tom Hartman to come to England and reload, so to speak, but Hartman felt moving to England was too great a step at his age, and the partnership with EMI was dissolved. The album was not released until a CD release in 2003 by RPM.

Aeroblus - 1977 - Aeroblus


01. Vamos a Buscar la Luz
02. Completamente Nervioso
03. Tema Solisimo
04. Arboles Difusores
05. Vendriamos a Buscar
06. Aire en Movimiento
07. Vine Cruzando el Mar
08. Nada Estoy Sabiendo
09. Sofisticuatro
10. Buen Tiempo

Pappo (Pappo's Blues) - guitarra, vocal
Alejandro Medina (Manal, La Pesada, Pappo's Blues) - bajo
Rolando Castello Junior [Bra] (Patrulha do Espaço) - bateria

Aeroblus -actually it should be "aeroblues", but the band’s name was misspelled on purpose-, it was a trio formed by Pappo with a Brazilian drummer, Júnior; and the bassist Alejandro Medina that was an ex-member of Manal and other Argentine erratic and tasty projects such Billy Bond y La Pesada for instance; adding to this, the bassist and vocalist Enrique Avellaneda, who is featured in some track, as well.
The album it’s short, as usually happened with these heavy rock LPs released in Argentina during the 70s, particularly by the local Music Hall label (strangely this one was released by Philips that, if I’m not wrong, it is or it was a subsidiary of Polygram); and besides being short, "Aeroblus" it’s stylistically, dare one say “samey”, showcasing a heavy blues/proto metal with not too many variants...but in spite of this, the tunes are truly great, and the spirit, the sound of the band has a power that unavoidably moves you, if you can tell a good from a mediocre band in this genre, and Aeroblus belongs clearly to the league of the good ones.
Aeroblus shows-off some groove and sophistication at the same time, especially I note the strength in the Alejandro Medina’s voice -in the songs he sings-, which it’s quite spectacular. The Pappo’s voice hasn’t that grit and stamina, on the other hand, though he was an original and fine composer and a fantastic guitarist; also his lyrics are obscure and semi-philosophical for moments; getting well fit in to the (for 1977) quite apocalyptic sound.
Apparently the "Aeroblus" project was engendered in Brazil, where Pappo and Medina met the drummer Júnior Castello from the band Patrulha do Espaço (band that would release an album in the mid 80s with Pappo himself as stable member)...the recordings for "Aeroblus", the album, were finished in Buenos Aires, with a rather low-budget production: nonetheless the technical quality is pretty decent.
I have several favourite tracks to pick from here: “Vine cruzando el mar”, “Nada estoy sabiendo”, “Buen tiempo” (with a killing-heavy wah-wah), “Completamente nervioso”, and the enigmatic “Vendríamos a buscar”, that years later Pappo re-recorded with a different title: “La adivina”, graced with mysterious lyrics that in some moment say:
“If you accepted, it’s because you were with the fortune-teller; and she told you, that we would come for you…”

This album is quite unknown, maybe unfairly , but as final pseudo footnote, I’d like to say that its lyrics are important in context and form: to some extent, the listener who can not understand them, won’t appreciate fully the LP in its intriguing or suggested parts; and incredibly these parts exist, they are there.

Aera - 2010 - The Bavarian Radio Recordings Vol. 2, 1977-1979

The Bavarian Radio Recordings Vol. 2, 1977-1979

01. Fingerlink (5:30)
02. Hoffmanns Tropfen (6:30)
03. Fetzenotto (5:50)
04. You Need Some Speed (9:20)
05. Dracula's Frühstück (16:53)
06. Rypdal's Letzter Schrei (3:43)
07. Rückwärts Auf Die Null (8:40)
08. Annettchen (2:18)
09. Dracula's Frühstück (10:00)

- Matz Steinke / Bass (tracks 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 9)
- Locko Richter / Bass (tracks 1, 2)
- Lutz Oldemeier / Drums
- Freddy Setz / Organ, Bass (tracks 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
- Helmut Meier-Limberg / Percussion
- Klaus Kreuzeder / Saxophone, Lyricon, Flute

Releases information
Released by Long Hair. Tracks 1, 2 were recorded live on 17, 11, 1977, Nagykanizsa, Hungary. Tracks 3, 4, 5 were recorded live on 20, 3, 1979, Münnerstadt, Germany. Tracks 6, 7, 8, 9 were recorded on 2, 5, 1979 at Studio Franken (Studio 1), Nuremberg, Germany.

Volume 2 of the Bavarian broadcast series present further recordings of Area, for once from the period 1977-1979. Five live tracks from 2 concerts and four tracks recorded in Bavarian Broadcast Corporation owned studio 'Franken' 'at Nuremberg'. Aera played a lively jazz-rock dominated by soloist and sax and flute player Klaus Kreuzeder, based on powerful and clever keyboard playing all held together by amazing bass player Matz Steinke and drummer Lutz Oldemeier (of Missus Beastly-fame) and lots of percussions. Aera were in a very good shape and gave their best. Highlights are the 17 minutes long version of 'Dracula´s Frühstück' and nearly 10 minutes version of 'You need some speed'. All titles were digitally remastered from the original tapes. Booklets contains the history of the recordings and rare photos. Highly recommended!

Aera - 2010 - The Bavarian Radio Recordings Vol. 1, 1975

The Bavarian Radio Recordings Vol. 1, 1975

01. Papa Doing / Kyrie (8:05)
02. Tagträume / Gloria (6:15)
03. Hodibbel / Credo (6:22)
04. Sax-Solo / Sanctus (2:28)
05. Simaelarity / Agnus Dei (8:41)
06. Jonas Schläft / Frühling (5:22)
07. Demmerawäng / Sommer (10:28)
08. Mechelwind / Herbst (12:04)
09. Sechs/Achtel / Winter (15:51)

- Dieter Bauer / Bass
- Wolfgang Teske / Drums, Percussion
- Muck Groh / Guitar
- Klaus Kreuzeder / Saxophone, Flute

Recorded live 09.01. 1975 at St. George's Church, Freising (near Munich). Germany
Produced 1975

Besides the SWF (German south-west broadcast) series with German bands of the Krautrock era,Long Hair start a new series with recordings form the vaults of Bavarian Broadcast Corporation (located in Munich). Volume 1 of the series is dedicated to Aera, one of Germany´s finest bands of this time and well known because of their albums 'Humanum Est' and 'Hand und Fuss' (vinyl version re-released on Long Hair, LHC43 and LHC44). On January 9,1975 Aera with the line-up (same as on 'Humanum Est') Muck Groh, guitar, Klaus Kreuzeder, sax and flute, Dieter Bauer, bass and drummer Wolfgang Teske, performed in an extraordinary setting-St. George´s Church in Freising, district of Munich. The idea of the concert was to open the church for contemporary music and to give the musicians the chance to interpret the Roman Catholic liturgy, the 'Holy Mass', with their music. Aera went a long with the five components of the holy mass and played two titles of their up coming album 'Humanum Est' and another three titles that were not included on any album. The titles presented during the second part of the concert were earlier versions of titles that were later released on the album 'Hand und Fuss'. Aera played more than 75 minutes. All titles were digitally remastered from original master tape. Booklets contains story and a review of the concert and rare photos. Highly recommended!

I am missing the Mechelwind abum... Anyone out there that has it... and feels like posting a rip?

Aera - 1982 - Akataki


01. Mobile Base (2:41)
02. Fake Jake (3:40)
03. Für Charly (10:05)
04. Wieder Da! (4:22)
05. Akataki (18:40)

- Klaus Kreuseder / Soprano & Alto saxophone
- Achim Gieseler / keyboards
- Peter Kühmstedt / bass, guitar, vocals
- Limbus / percussion
- Toni Danner / drums

finally, they got their act back together with AKATAKI, which saw another change in style, partly a step back to the energy of HAND UND FUSS, though the high-tech setting of Achim Gieseler's computer keyboards against a heavy jazz-fusion base led to unusual and often startling results. Whilst being Aera at their jazziest, it's also their most experimental and shows a band still striving for the ideals set a decade before.
Aera's last album is also one of their best and compares favorably with other excellent early 80s German fusion albums like Embryo's "Zack Gluck" and Kontrast's sole work.

Aera - 1981 - Too Much

Too Much

01. Don't Come Back (5:21)
02. What I Can Do, You Can Do Too (3:02)
03. Peace (2:08)
04. Supercool (3:54)
05. Nevertheless (3:54)
06. Brainstorming (4:24)
07. Grand Slam 81 (4:13)
08. Pricklepit (6:37)
09. Empress (4:38)

- Peter Kühmstedt/ bass
- Achim Gieseler/ piano, wave computer
- Limbus/ percussion
- Toni Danner/ drums
- Klaus Kreuzeder / lyricon, Soprano & Alto saxophone

This 5th album of this german progressive rock band mixes jazz and funk with strong percussions and European influences.
This would have to be considered Aera's weakest and most commercial effort. The "funky chicken" component is pretty high here. Still, the album has its merits, including some nice atmospheric bits that belie its popstar ambition.

Aera - 1980 - Live


01. Scream Your Horizon (9:20)
02. Yellow Moon (2:51)
03. Stoned Out (3:19)
04. What I Can Do, You Can Do To (4:22)
05. Sulzheim Swinging (8:39)
06. Harm-O-Nights (2:52)
07. Scooter Future (11:33)

- Roman Bunka / guitar, vocals
- Locko Richter / bass
- Klaus Kreuzeder / lyricon, Soprano & Alto saxophone
- Lutz Oldemeier / drums
- Helmut Meier-Limberg / percussion
- Freddy Setz / drums, organ

 This live AERA album released in 1980 certainly sounds different from the studio album "Turkis" that they released the year before. In part that might be because EMBRYO's guitarist Roman Bunka gets a prominant role as you might expect in this live setting.
"Scream Your Horizon" opens with this raw and aggressive guitar that caught me off guard. It does settle quickly though with vocals.This reminds me of KRAAN only not nearly as good.The guitar is soloing after 2 1/2 minutes and later around 4 1/2 minutes followed by organ. A calm with sax before 7 minutes. "Yellow Moon" is experimental then it changes after 1 1/2 minutes as a beat takes over and vocals join in.

"Stoned Out" is another experimental sounding track. "What I Can Do,You Can Do To" is both catchy and a little funky. Guitar 1 1/2 minutes in.This is the best song so far.

"Sulzheim Swinging" has some prominant sax with drums. Good song that turns more intense before 5 minutes. "Harm-O-Nights" has this raw sounding guitar at first then the sax, organ and drums take over.This is great ! "Scooter Future" is laid back early on as vocals arrive 1 1/2 minutes in. It does pick up before 3 minutes and slowly builds. Nice bass too. Sax leads before 6 minutes then it settles back with vocals a minute later. A fuller sound 10 1/2 minutes in as the vocals continue.

Aera - 1979 - Türkis


01. Fetzenotto (4:01)
02. Pfiffe (4:23)
03. Dracula (11:04)
  a) Teen Clown
  b) Park und Elfe (Sarg und Nelke)
  c) Teen Clown Goes Downtown
04. Annettchen (1:19)
05. You Need Some Speed (6:28)
06. Türkis (8:36)
07. Siebert (7:03)

- Klaus Kreuzeder / Soprano & Alto saxophone, lyrikon
- Helmut Meier-Limberg / percussion
- Lutz Oldemeier / vocals
- Freddy Setz / vocals, organ, percussion, string ensemble
- Matz Steinke / bass, percussion
- Achim Gieseler / keyboards, Fender piano, Hohner D 6, Moog, string ensemble (3, 5 & 6)

- Muck Groh / guitar (2)
- Locko Richter / bass (2)

Third album from this German combo that was entering a more difficult phase, plagued with personnel problem and they had to wait almost three years since the release of their second album. I am not sure about this but the group might have disbanded during this time. By now (79), the Ihre Kinder and Embryo roots were long gone, and guitarist Muck Groh had departed (although he guests on one track), leaving wheelchair-bound saxman Kreuzeder a bit alone at the driving wheel. As he was the only remaining member from the previous two albums, understandably the group sounded quite different, especially that the JR/F scene had gone from jazz rock to jazz-fusion. Still released on the legendary Erlkonig label, this album (sporting a cartoon-like artwork) sounded very different, starting with vocals and yet another shift away from progressive rock towards jazz-fusion.
As said above, the guest musos included old Aera Muck Groh, Missing Link's Limberg and they would be joined for touring and the future next live album by ex-Embryo Roman Bunka. But Aera was now a very percussive group with two full time percussion players and most other contributing some more at a given time, thus giving often a Latino feel to the album, a bit like Pazssport did at the time, although not quite that extensive. The vinyl's first side starts very mildly with two run-of-the-mill fusion tracks that are effortlessly forgotten as soon as you hear their three-piece suite Dracula. Driven by a descending keyboard line, the group plays their heart out with Kreuzeder soloing away. The closing tidbit is also best forgotten.

The flipside doesn't really start much different, with the average opener You Need Some Speed and the closing Siebert (both above the 6-min mark, and enjoyable if not too picky), the highlight is again the longer (title in this case) track. Indeed Turkis has a slight eastern feeling and a great electric piano that does give it the edge over the rest of the album. Isn't it sad to realize that the two best tracks are indeed the most progressive rock ones? It is safe to say that this album is saved by Gieseleer's keyboards, even if the rest of the group are all ewxcellent musicians (Kreuzeder in particular), but the inspiration was not leadig the group towards adventure, but rather commercial safety.

As mentioned above a live album was up next and then the group will endure further line-up shuffles, record ever-increasing commercial jazz-fusion albums (Akataki is still worthy) on another legendary label, Spiegelei. As for the present album, it is an honest JR/F album of the time (but 79 was not the best of times for that style of music) , but we are a far cry from their firqst two albums, which are much better and should be investigated in priority.

Aera - 1976 - Hand Und Fuss

Hand Und Fuss

01. Mechelwind (9:24)
02. Alabaster Keaton (3:06)
03. Wrdlbrmfd (5:33)
04. Elephen Elephants (8:40)
05. Herbstzeitlos (2:27)
06. Ad Absurdum (5:06)
07. Kamele On (5:35)

- Klaus Kreuzeber / Soprano alt-sax & flute
- Peter Malinowski / bass
- Christoph Krieger / violin
- Lucky Schmidt / drums (vocal)
- Muck Groh / guitar, vocals (7)
- Als Gast Onkel Latzi / Bariton-saxophone & oboe (7)

Aera fits in under the fusion umbrella, although I hear a strong psychedelic vibe from this band as well - meaning that whether you're cruising the Herbiedelic beboppadoo jazzy highway - or melting gently out on the terrace like a psychedelic gummy bear in heat, chances are that you're going to love this one like you love feet.

On Hand und Fuss (Hand and Foot) you are met with a delicious mix of melodies and a raw psych groove. No such thing as dry chops and duduliduh dududuliduh on its own - no, there's a sweetness to these pieces, that not unlike Danish band Secret Oyster manages to portray the music here as warm, vibrant and effortlessly flowing. Often you get obstacles in your fusion - blocking the easy way forth, making the melody skip the beat - drive around the set course, deviate from everything else, and leave everything behind for a nice spot in front of the band right up close to the mic. This is not the Aera way! This is smooth and floating jazz rock - with emphasis on the rock part of the equation. It's psychedelic as I mentioned earlier, but in a groovy gravy kind of way - with warbling bass lines and wah wahing guitar textures that sink into each other like hot scrumptious chocolate lovers making sonic adult gymnastics as the tunes drift along.

Just like Secret Oyster, the tracks here are often lead by birdy bird wind instruments such as saxomophone, flute and the occasional oboe. Mmmmhhh I love the oboe. It's like the instrument world's version of Pee-wee Herman... All these tooting birds are very attuned into the melodic approach taken by the other instruments around them. They don't complicate things unnecessary - they stay the course, but in a most brilliant way - which makes me think of the small insistent blackbirds outside my window that every summer wake me up around 5 in the morning with these sunshine serenades that all sound very smooth and beautiful - unlike the later afternoon sessions where they seem to have drunk a fair deal of alcohol, because they all start sounding like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Outside the birds, we have a violin taking care of business from time to time, and in a genius kind of way, it actually sounds perfectly like these aforementioned wind instruments - albeit with another timber and voice of its own. These are all the guiding beacons of Hand und Fuss, but where things start to get fuzzy and slightly psychedelic is in the guitar department, that whilst often sticking to the back draft with a tight rhythm bearing duty accompanying the bass lines - also freaks out when the moment calls for it - changing the scope of the track - adding olive oil to the mix slithering the tunes out of bounce in a most astonishing manner.

There are no keys or synths on this outing and I quite frankly don't miss them. If the individual track needs a splash of something out of the ordinary, the instruments on deck will surely take care of this in a jiffy - just like the weird and oddly infatuating animal piece called Elephen Elephants - where the sax changes its natural presence in for a much more lovable and nasally charged pachyderm sound, that takes me back into the Jungle-book with Colonel Hathi marching along - blowing his trunk to the saucy beat of the forest. So sweet this track, and again so melodic and alluring that it practically invites you in.

This is a jazz rock album for the uninitiated and those who are still wondering how and where to start in these fusioneros waters. These are treacherous - yes I know, but Hand und Fuss is so welcoming, rocking and melodically enhanced, that it is damn near impossible not to get a little smitten by it. This is a perfect album to start your journey into the more jazzy lands of prog rock, and if you already love this kind of stuff - you'll most likely adore this one. Somewhere between Kraan and Secret Oyster lie Aera with their marvellous brand of jazzy psych rock - that swoops over you like a cosy hand held sonic sprinkler. Frooooossshh!!!

Aera - 1974 - Humanum Est

Humanum Est

01. Papa Doing (8:22)
02. Demmerawäng (7:07)
03. Hodibbel (5:37)
04. Sechs Achtel (10:45)
05. Jonas Schläft (4:20)
06. Alois' Flötending (2:26)

- Wolgang Teske / drums
- Klaus Kreuzeder / saxophone & flute
- Dieter Bauer / bass
- Muck Groh / guitar
- Peter Malinowsky / bass (6)

AERA has been a little-known band hailing from a small Bavarian village called "Mechelwind" (hence the title of one track on their second album). Similar to related band EMBRYO members were coming and going but originally the band consisted of guitarist Muck Groh (IHRE KINDER), bass player Dieter Bauer (2066 AND THEN), drummer Wolfgang Teske and wheelchair-bound Klaus Kreuzeder on sax and flute. They issued altogether four studio albums and one live one with changing line-ups and exhibiting different music styles. Their first two releases which can be obtained as a 2-in-1 CD (being a very worthy purchase that luckily I happen to own) are basically revealing a lively jazz-rock sound at times with extended jammin' not that far away from EMBRYO, KRAAN or NUCLEUS.

Their debut "Humanum Est" here in review was already quite an impressing demonstration of their musical prowess though still lacking a bit of variation which is nicely compensated by the addition of their second one on the CD-reissue. The six fully instrumental compositions, all written by guitarist Muck Groh can be basically described as guitar-dominated laid-back virtuoso jazz-rock with some blues and folk tossed in. Very noteable are Kreuzeder's presentations on sax and flute, two instruments belonging to my favourites in that kind of music. Though being by all means a very noteworthy debut and a highly enjoyable album especially on second side of this record the music seams to become a bit meandering and repetitive. Thus without his counterpart "Hand und Fuss" "Humanum Est" might appear slightly disappointing for advanced Krautrock fans after a few spins.

Nevertheless AERA can be considered as another very interesting band within the rich German progressive scene of the 70's. Moreover it has been one of those making music just for fun without any commerial concern what's demonstrated very well by the fact that their debut has been rejected by all commercial labels forcing them to publish it on their own one "Erlkönig". By the way for those wondering what the oddly sounding titles actually mean: they are some sensible nonsense partly in ancient Bavarian idiom that is even incomprehensible to most German  speakers.

Acqua Fragile - 1974 - Mass-Media Stars

Acqua Fragile 
Mass-Media Stars


01. Cosmic Mind Affiar (7:22)
02. Bar Gazing (5:07)
03. Mass-Media Stars (6:55)
04. Opening Act (5:40)
05. Professor (6:49)
06. Coffee Song (5:57)

- Gino Campanini / guitar, mandolin, guitar (electric), vocals
- Piero Canavera / guitar, percussion, vocals
- Franz Dondi / bass
- Claudio Fabi / piano
- Bernardo Lanzetti / guitar, guitar (electric), vocals, guitar (8 String)
- Maurizio Mori / keyboards, vocals

''Acqua Fragile'' was actually heading for an export release, something that eventually never happened, and the album went rather unnoticed within the Italian borders.For the second album Acqua Fragile insisted on writing English lyrics, but this time the new album ''Mass media stars'' was released on the Ricordi label and succeeded a US release as well by Import Records.
By the time of the release of ''Mass media stars'', PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI had already started writing albums in English for a possible abroad success and Acqua Fragile followed exactly the same receipt both lyrically and musically.With a talented and highly expressive singer in the line-up, Acqua Fragile sounded like a poor man's P.F.M., having little personality, but musically the band played a rich and passionate Symphonic/Art Rock with intense interplays and plenty of dramatic moments.Organs and mellotrons along with the alternating acoustic and electric guitars remain the band's driving forces, offering nice symphonic arrangements with some great ideas popping out and a pretty solid songwriting, combining vocal- and instrumental moments with comfort.The resemblance to P.F.M's and GENESIS' style sounds often a bit annoying, as the album is dominated by the multi-vocal harmonies, the numerous piano paces and the folky acoustic textures, sometimes with a slight Mediterrenean feel, but again the virtuosic instrumental battles and the first-class harmonies are not an easy thing to achieve, thus Acqua Fragile overcome the lack of originality with passionate and very tight musicianship all the way.

At the fall of 1974 Mori left the band and was replaced by The Trip's keyboardist Joe Vescovi.The live album ''Live in Emilia - Spring 75'', issued in CD format in 1994, gives a good idea of the sound with the new line-up.The same year though Bernardo Lanzetti quit to join Premiata Forneria Marconi, he was replaced for a short time by future-I Dik Dik Roby Facini, but Acqua Fragile disbanded for good shortly after.

Another nice album along the lines of P.F.M.'s English versions of Classic Italian Prog.Top notch Symphonic Rock, where the word ''originality'' is totally absent, still strongly recommended

Acqua Fragile - 1973 - Acqua Fragile

Acqua Fragile 
Acqua Fragile


01. Morning Comes (7:22)
02. Comic Strips (3:56)
03. Science Fiction Suite (5:54)
04. Song From A Picture (4:09)
05. Education Story (4:12)
06. Going Out (2:56)
07. Three Hands Man (8:07)

- Gino Campanini / guitar, vocals
- Piero Canavera / guitar, drums, vocals
- Franz Dondi / bass
- Bernardo Lanzetti / guitar, vocals
- Maurizio Mori / keyboards, vocals

ACQUA FRAGILE formed in Parma, Italy in 1971. They are perhaps best known for the band that were to supply PFM's English singing vocalist Bernado Lanzetti, making his debut with them on Chocolate Kings.

Lanzetti with guitarist Gino Campanini and drummer Piero Canavera had played together in Gli Immortali. Joined on keyboards by Maurizio Mori and bassist Franz Dondi, formerly of I Moschettieri, who released a single in 1967, they shortly changed their name to ACQUA FRAGILE.

It was to be two years before their eponymous debut album saw the light of day, due to difficulty in finding a record company that would allow them to release it with English sung lyrics. Musically they bore a resemblance to GENESIS and GENTLE GIANT, with harmony vocals not unlike CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG, no doubt influenced by the time Lanzetti spent in the USA. Lanzetti's vocals have a similar feel to Roger Chapman of FAMILY and the album is skilfully played by the already at the time, well versed players. The plan to sing in English backfired as it wasn't well received in Italy and didn't receive a release abroad. Undeterred, their second album Mass Media Stars, released in 1974 saw the band treading similar musical territory and did receive a release in the USA.

Mori quit and was replaced by ex-THE TRIP keyboardist Joe Vescovi and shortly after a bigger blow came when Lanzetti left for PFM. The band soldiered on for a while longer bringing in former I TOP 4 and I DIK DIK man Roberto Facini. Lanzetti remained with PFM until 1980 followed by a successful solo career. He is now a member of MANGALA VALLIS. Canavera and Dondi went on to play with ROCKY'S FILJ and the ACQUA FRAGILE name has recently been reborn as the ACQUA FRAGILE PROJECT by Dondi. He is the only original member participating in the project.

Now here's an often underrated Italian prog album. Sure, it's not very original; the GENESIS and GENTLE GIANT influences are obvious. But I feel the music stands on its own merit. This is not a weak album at all, it's actually a very good one. ACQUA FRAGILE plays with great enthusiasm and a nice folksy touch. Great melodies. The vocalist does not put me off at all, I like his style even though he sounds like a GABRIEL impersonator at times. Lyrics are in English, I'd prefer them in Italian but that's not really a problem. All in all, an enjoyable album and certainly an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Acintya - 1979 - In Live

In Live

01. Adyane (5:21)
02. Chasse a la Licorne (8:35)
03. Voyage (10:09)
04. Labyrinth (13:52)
05. La Cité des Dieux Oubliés (15:13)

Concert from 12 January 1979 Salle Poirel Nancy.

Other text on cover and CD:
Progressive Rock In Live
" La cité des dieux oubliés and unseens"

Philippe De Canck – keyboards
Philippe Clesse – guitar; violin
Jean-Louis Tauvel – bass
Bernard Petite – drums

Recorded live in 1979, this album is made up of five instrumental compositions too, but only two of them are new, namely Chasse a la Licorne and Voyage, whereas the others, Adyane, La Cite des Dieux Oublies and Labyrinth, are rehashes of the same-titled tracks from “La Cite des Deux Oubles”, featuring too few differences to compare them with the originals. So I’ll only describe the former two, and I must note that they are simpler than probably anything ever before recorded by the band. It won’t take more than a minute of each of them to understand what subtle variations on the already formulaic themes Acintya will use to define their sound. While having a vintage aura, most of the music is lush symphonic rock rather than familiar prog territory, with keyboards forming – or covering, if you will – much of its overall palette. Both of them remind me for the most part of Camel’s “The Snow Goose” at its most reflective, both in the fluid writing and creative orchestrations, as well as the predominantly semi-romantic, semi-melancholic mood which is evoked. However, while lush, majestic and multifaceted alike (almost orchestral-sounding), the keyboards at the same time develop too sluggishly, lazily putting layer upon layer, rarely venturing on real soloing. The drumming and the bass playing are at times much more varied than the parts of keyboards, while those of the guitar just don’t come close to fitting in (most of the time I don’t hear the ‘axe’ at all, though). All in all, the mellow nature of the performance of the latter two instruments detracts from what could be superb pieces. Only within the final section of each of them the music becomes more intense and dynamic, suggesting classic symphonic Art-Rock and Space Rock respectively. On Chasse a la Licorne the implied episode atmospherically recalls late ‘70s Eloy, albeit strict comparison ends there, while the one on Voyage is clearly in the vein of Yes, with synthesizer leads instantly evoking Rick Wakeman‘s. I’m inclined to think that both of these pieces are outtakes from the studio album, whilst Labyrinth and So Close were written later most likely.

Acintya - 1978 - La Cite Des Dieux Oublies

La Cite Des Dieux Oublies

01. Adyane (4:25)
02. Espoir (15:40)
03. La Cité des Dieux Oubliés (18:58)
04. So Close (4:53)
05. Labyrinth (15:16)

- Philippe De Canck / keyboards, synthesizers
- Bernard Petite / drums
- Jean-Louis Tauvel / bass
- Philippe Clesse / guitar, violin

French Prog band, performing and recording during the second half of the 70's.They were lucky enough to hail from Nancy and have access to the nearby headquarters of one of the few remaining prog-specialized labels, SRC Records.Acintya were keyboardist Philippe De Canck, drummer Bernard Petite, bassist Jean-Louis Tauvel and guitarist/violinst Philippe Clesse, their only album was titled ''La cite des dieux oublies'' and was released in 1978.
Definitely a unique case of a highly eclectic, all instrumental combo, which seemed to split its tastes between Classical, Jazz and Electronic acoustics, so their sole release was an attractive amalgam of synthetic sounds, Classical drives and keyboard- and violin experiments, all performed with a nice prog touch.Two massive instrumental suites and a shorter piece showcase a band with a rich and emphatic sound, propelled by Clesse's changing acoustic and electric violins and the superb keyboard work of De Canck, including a grand organ, poly- and monophonic synths, a Fender and an acoustic piano.Their sound was somewhere between the Space/Symphonic Rock of CLEARLIGHT and PULSAR and the classicism of WAPASSOU, with the cosmic and romantic themes and variations exceling throughout and the mood for complex instrumental interplays shining all the way.The constant use of synthesizers and the Classical-inspired violin work displays some notable links with Electronic Prog and both long pieces contain lovely segments of Fusion, symphonic and even some Folk elements.Prog Rock music, performed like being Classical suites with experimental arrangements and some great interactions.

Musea has reissued the album in both vinyl and CD formats, the second one containing a couple of live pieces from the band's early days back in 1976.''Le revers du miroir'' is the most convincing of the pair, featuring pronounced electric guitars in the place of violin and cosmic keyboards with some Baroque vibes, the sound of organ is particularly excellent.''Le fiacre des enfers'' sounds more chaotic and certainly more psychedelic, like a second-rate CATHARSIS with neurotic guitar soloing and mascular organ waves on a rhythmic pattern, interrupted by Classical interludes.Very raw piece, which could have sounded more attractive under proper recording circumstances.

Underrated pearl of 70's French Prog.Classy execution of Space Rock with a huge Classical background and Fusion touches.Among the best French recordings of the late-70's, highly recommended.

Absolute Elsewhere - 1976 - In Search Of Ancient Gods

Absolute Elsewhere 
In Search Of Ancient Gods

01. Earthbound (9:10)
- a. Earthbound
- b. Future Past
02. Moon City (4:50)
03. Miracles Of The Gods (11:45)
- a. Miracles Of The Gods
- b. El Endrillado
- c. The Legend Of Santa Cruz
- d. Pyramids Of Teotihuacan
- e. Temple Of The Inscriptions
04. The Gold Of The Gods (2:35)
05. Toktela (1:35)
06. Chariots Of The Gods (10:35)
07. Return To The Stars (9:55)

- Paul Fishman / synthesisers, sequencers, flute, electric and acoustic pianos, Mellotron, string synthesisers
- William (Bill) Bruford / percussion
- Phillip Saatchi / electric guitar
- Jon Astrop / bass guitar
- Kim Mackrell /cello (6)

Only thing I originally knew about this album was that it deals with some von Däniken's stuff, and Bill Bruford plays in it (later case was the main attractor). Spacey sounds introduce the mellow bluesy synth rock sound of this record, reminding a slightly more cosmic version of mid 1970's Pink Floyd sounds. The rhythms are not very unconventional, so the drum maestro is not highly in front. Some kind of reference of the sound could also be Alain Goraguer's music from the film "La Planète Sauvage", and some moments of Camel's "Moonmadness" record.
In the songs there is usually some quite simple theme as leading them, and then the solos for melodic harmonies are introduced for supporting it. Though there are longer tracks on the album, they are built from very simple elements which do not construct very ambitious compositions. So quite easy-listening stuff, but not irritating to my ears in anyway, more like some kind of proto-new age record for relaxation and amusement due some sympathetic playful fooling detected from the music. This works also as perfect background music for playing Commodore 64 games (especially song "The Gold of The Gods" for Commodore 64's "Montezuma's Revenge" game). The last song "Return to The Stars" is really great, an open calm aural space with minimal amount of events, just distant harmony.

I would recommend this for fans of vintage keyboard sounds, retrogamers. and certainly all those interested of von Däniken's fantastic books... Well, maybe the album titles referring to them do not have any impact to the music, but in this case I do not see it as any kind of trouble, but actually underlining the deep meaningfulness of this all. But I warn, DO NOT buy this due the famous great drummer included in it! His presence does not make this record anything special, nor does it ruins it, he just IS there. I encourage to try to approach the record without any preliminary demands, if descripted characteristics appear appealing.

A-Austr - 1970 - Musics From Holy Ground

Musics From Holy Ground

01. Bird
02. Judy
03. Mini
04. Prelude To Change For Arthur
05. Thumbquake & Earthscrew
06. Change For Athur
07. Between The Road
08. Hawaiian War Chant
09. It’s Alright
10. Continuum
11. Essex Queen (She Dances)
12. D Minor Minuet
13. A Curse On You
14. What Did You Go
15. Grail Search
16. Essex Queen (She Dances) (First Version)
17. Grail Search (First Version)
18. Judy (Fragment Of First Version)
19. It’s Alright (Later Version, Remixed)
20. Aren’t You Glad You Stayed (Early Vocal Version)

Brian Calvert — lead guitar, vocals, guitar, lute, horn, trombone
Chris Coombs — lead guitar, vocals, guitar, piano, organ, glockenspiel, horn, harmonica, recorder, percussion
Brian Wilson [aka Pete Taylor] — bass, vocals, guitar, organ, mandolin, harp, glockenspiel, clarinet
Ted Hepworth — drums
Mike Levon — triangle, effects, electronics
Bill Nelson — guitar, hawaiian guitar
Mike Gould — trumpet
John Perfect — tenor sax
Lyn Cavell — alto sax
George Mabon — flute
Gill Green — cello
Al Green — organ
Dave Wood — goüd
Yvonne Carrodus — vocals, triangle
Denise Calvert — vocal, piano, harpsichord
Gill Maudsley — spoken vocal
Cath Wood — raspberry saw
Shirley Levon – recorder

Most session musicians were from nearby Bretton Hall college. John Perfect, a lecturer there, later appeared in Fleetwood Mac with his sister Christine McVie. A to Austr was also Bill Nelson’s recording debut. Chris Heinitz, (French horn on the Walker Brothers’ The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine’), supervised the original brass.

Label Notes:
One of the rarest albums from the British Isles. Pressed in tiny quantities (only 99 copies) with hand-made covers/inserts and released by one of the most collectable UK independent labels, the Holyground in 1970. A-Austr was the brainchild of Mike Levon, owner of Holyground studios and label. It's one of the finest examples of the british psychedelic movement. A do-it-yourself project with the participation of many friends -musicians and vocalists- which experiments with certain doses of psych, mellow rock, baroque pop, eastern folk and revolutionary sounds and effects. It's impossible to describe the songs one by one. Thoughtful, dreamy and wonderful stuff and a one of a kind "must hear" album. A-AUSTR is the first title in our Holyground series. Unfortunately, Mike died peacefully on 4th September 2011, so we have to dedicate this release to his dream. This is an official reissue. And it's the first reissue that comes with a reproduction, as close as possible, of the original cover and labels. Printed on vintage (real 70's-made paper; we tried very hard to find it) one-sided bronze carton. Inside the gatefold cover is the paste-on white vinyl-case. Like the original issue, it includes, 17 A4-sized paper sheets with lyrics, credits and sketches. Extra is a 4-pages coloured insert with photos and notes written and designed by Mike. Yet, there is a reproduction of a seldom seen A-Austr A4 poster and 3 A-Austr business-cards (!). Limited to 300 black and 200 coloured copies. 180gr vinyl as usual. PVC protective outer sleeve.

Released in a limited batch of 99 in 1970, A to Austr's one-off masterwork Musics from Holyground takes the psych-pop aesthetic to an entirely new level. A behemoth (and fun) journey through psychedelia, Musics from Holyground touches on everything from psych-pop and eastern influenced folk to pub ready saxophone jams and vaudevillian break downs, with a ton of other sounds I have no business describing thrown in the mix. The Penguin Guide to Rare Records calls A to Austr's only record "the most sacred UK LP there is," which sort of makes sense considering only 99 folks in the world have an original copy, and it wasn't given the reissue treatment until 1989. Apparently the initial goal was "to write about King Arthur who lies sleeping with his knights of the Round Table until England needs him." This was news to me, as the record in no way, shape or form feels like a treaty on Renaissance knights, rather an exploration of an entire genre, gleaming back and forth from the nuanced psych pop of "Birds" to "Hawaiian War Chant" (which sounds exactly like its title suggests) to "It's Alright", which is basically the Incredible String Band-Love-Zombies collaboration I've been dreaming about for years. I could go on and on about this record, but it wouldn't do any good, mostly because its impossible to describe. Even after listening to it about twenty five times over the past six months, I still have trouble wrapping my head around it, as if its not supposed to be chewed on, merely experienced, over and over again, sort of like life (and psychedelic experiences in general). If this spiked your interest, even just a little bit, I highly recommend heading over to Holy Ground's website and peeping their extremely thorough and insightful history of the recording session, the album itself, and its little known legacy.

A track by track description plus lyrics can be found here:

Aaron Space - 1972 - Aaron Space

Aaron Space 
Aaron Space

01. Keep On Moving
02. Silly Ceilings
03. When She Smiles
04. Man In Yellow Car
05. Marsha
06. North Country Rock & Roll
07. It Might Be You
08. The Loser
09. Fair Child
10. Rainbow Ride

Jake Thomas — lead guitar, vocals
Dave Moulaison — rhythm guitar, lead vocals (01-03,05,06,08-10)
Gene Falbo — bass, lead vocals (07)
Bob DiSalle — drums, percussion, lead vocals (04,05)
Lisa Garber — backing vocals (01)

  Aaron Space was a Canadian psychedelic rock band from Toronto, performing art rock with a touch of psychedelia and a pinch of 70's hard rock. The songs are energetic, fun, and the guitar is beautiful.

     They released their first single, "Keep On Movin'," which featured Lisa Garber on bg vocals, b/w "The Visitor" in the fall of '71 to mixed reviews. It eeked its way up to #83 on some strong support from Toronto radio, where it stayed for three weeks. Recorded at Eastern Sound in Toronto and produced by John Stewart, their eponymous debut album followed early the next year, with the single, "Marsha" b/w "She Smiles" close behind.

    After a series of short tours around central Canada, plans were being made for a follow-up album, some songs had been written, and some time in the studios had been spent. But with their deal with Warner on the brink of ending, the band imploded, and everyone went on to individual projects.

A-440 Feat. Ted Neeley & Yvonne Iversen - 1978 - Ulysses The Greek Suite

A-440 Feat. Ted Neeley & Yvonne Iversen 
Ulysses The Greek Suite

01. Greetings From Olympus    4:50
02. Ulysses Theme    2:44
03. Interlude    1:00
04. Island Of The Lotus Eaters    6:30
05. Ithaca    4:22
06. Interlude    0:44
07. Polyphemus (Island Of The Cyclops)    3:33
08. What Will I Say    3:43
09. Circe's Theme    3:20
10. Never Had A Woman On My Mind (For More Than A Day)    3:22
11. Free Them    3:10
12. Hades (Circe's Reprise)    2:35
13. Interlude    0:19
14. Your Journey's End (The Sirens)    3:27
15. Your Mind Is A Door    3:50
16. Scylla    1:50
17. Find Yourself    4:22
18. Charybdis (Instrumental)    2:05
19. Take It From One Who Knows    3:16
20. Promises I Made To Me    3:45
21. Pardon My Tears (Prelude)    2:56
22. Plea To Ithaca    3:54
23. One Thing Sure To Get You There    2:56
24. Finale    0:50

Michael Rapp: Keyboards
Ted Neeley: Vocals
Yvonne Eversen: Vocals

Acoustic Guitar – Peter Klimes
Backing Vocals – Channen Junge, Cindy Snyder, Grant Goracy
Bass – Bob Gross, Craig Meacham
French Horn – Darrel Gardner
Guitar – Carlos Luevano
Harmonica – Peter Klimes
Harp – Maureen Love
Narrator – David Arias
Percussion – Billy Myers, Ian Hoffman
Saxophone – Lee Secard
Steel Guitar – Jim Eaton
Trumpet – Darrel Gardner

A-440 appears to have been a studio entity built around the talents of writer/keyboardist Michael Rapp.  Produced by J.J. Jorgensen A-440's debut came in the form of  a rather bizarre 1978 effort entitled "Ulysses, the Greek Suite".  Released for 20th Century Fox, the resulting 23 track, double album set was clearly intended as a concept piece built on ancient Greek mythology. Written and arranged by keyboardist Rapp, musically the set showcased the talents of singers Ted Neeley (who'd previously released several solo efforts and starred in the film "Jesus Christ Superstar") and Yvonne Iverson.  Neeley wasn't half bad, displaying a nifty gruff voice that was well suited for more mainstream rock (the MOR Ambrosia-styled 'Ithaca'). Recalling Yvonne Elliman, Iverson wasn't as impressive, though it didn't matter since her performances were scattered far and wide ('Polyphemus (Island of the Cyclops)').  Exemplified by material such as the instrumental 'Greetings from Olympus', 'Ulysses Theme' and 'Island of the Lotus Eaters' the collection was heavy on pomposity, complete with spoken word narratives and over-the-top ELP-styled synthesizers and keyboards (check out the instrumental 'Greetings from Olympus'). Hardly something to get excited about, though it would have made for dandy background music when you were studying the Classics and Neeley never dissapoints.  (The album was originally released with an elaborate gatefold sleeve and included a multi page lyric insert.)

A.K. Salim - 1965 - Afro Soul / Drum Orgy

A.K. Salim 
Afro Soul - Drum Orgy


01. Afrika (Africa)   
02. Ngomba Ya Tempo (Elephant Dance)   
03. Kumuamkia Mzulu (Salute To A Zulu)   
04. Pepo Za Sarari (Trade Winds)

Johnny Coles (tp)
Pat Patrick (as, bars, fl)
Yusef Lateef (ts, fl, argol)
Philemon Hon (African xyl, tambor d)
Juan Cadaviejo (cga)
Osvaldo "Chihuahau" Martinez (bgo, cga, cowbell)
William Correa (tim)
A.K. Salim (arr, cond)

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 8, 1964

Producer and arranger delivered this stunning record out of nowhere.Assoiated before with pleasant jazz arrangements this was a huge shock.An obsession with African rhythms and drumming led to this four part suite of heavy percussion and out there horn and reed work courtesy of Yusef Lateef,Johnny Coles and Pat Patrick.All four tracks clock in at about ten minutes and take time to build but played loud this is as powerful and arresting as any jazz album in my collection.A really unique piece that sounds so alive.
his is a stunning set of African-inspired jazz percussion tracks which is similar to some of the work done by Art Blakey on his Orgy In Rhythm albums, but with a lot better horn work, and with an overall conception that's much more unified. By the time of this 1965 recording, Salim was emerging as a progressive composer with a strong talent for bringing together disparate moods and styles. This rare recording was one of his best works ever, and it's one of the most unusual sides cut by Prestige in the 60s. It features Johnny Coles, Pat Patrick, and Yusef Lateef out front on horns plus backing by a host of Latin and African percussionists including Willie Bobo,Marcellino Valdes,Oscaldo Martinez and Julio Callazo. The tracks are very long and the reed work of Lateef and Patrick makes the set especially worthwhile for jazz listeners.