dinsdag 30 november 2010

Ange - 1980 - Vu D'un Chien

Vu D'un Chien

01. Les Temps Modernes
02. Les Lorgnons
03. Foutez-moi la Paix
04. Je travaille sans Filet
05. La Suisse ersonne au Bout du Fil
06. Pour un rien
07. Vu d'un Chien

- Jean-Pierre Guichard / drums
- Christian Decamps / piano, vocals
- Francis Decamps / organ special effects
- Robert Defer / guitars
- Didier Visieux / bass

Another two years break after their superb "Guet-Apens". From the new trio of musicians that joined the band to produce it, only one will stay for "Vu D'Un Chien" (from a dog's point of view - that's what the title means). Guitar and bass will again change hands. We have seen that this turover did not affect their work previously, so I was not too much worried about these ones.
The mood is definitely harder than before (but this is the eighties, right ?). The theatrical Christian's vocals is always present but the symphonic moments are scarce. Guitar has a more important role than usual as well.
Very little long pieces here. The longest one is "Je Travaille Sans Filet", clocking at just over seven minutes. It is a good rocking number but little emotion will filter out of this one. A bit dull. As the opener "Les Temps Modernes" another one of the longest number available (over five minutes).
The best number, IMO is "Les Lorgnons" which keeps on with Ange's tradition : symphonic mood, great keys. It will be the only one of that caliber, unfortunately.
"Pour Un Rien" is also very pleasant. A short and symphonic song which reminds the glory days. It could have been a nice intro of an epic but after 2'45" it is over. "La Suisse" started as "39" from "Queen", and the end of the song is 100% jazz-rock oriented, which is not at all my cup of tea.
"Personne Au Bout Du Fil" is again almost hard-rock oriented. I have of course nothing against this type of music, but it is rather unusual to hear this from Ange. They are not particularly successful in this genre.
The title track is a funny song. As I have said in the intro, it means from a dog's point of view (or perspective). The lyrics will be a long description of what a dog feels when confronted to the human race. Good rhythmics for the third good piece of the album.
"Vu D'un Chien" is not a bad album, but most of the magic from Ange has disappeared. The great symphonic keys moments, the incredible lyrics are gone. What remains is a good French rock band. But Ange has been used his fans to much, very much better work.

Ange - 1978 - Guet-Apens


01. A Colin-Maillard (8:05)
02. Dans les Poches du Berger (5:38)
03. Un Trou dans la Case (5:24)
04. Virgule (1:41)
05. Réveille-toi (5:17)
06. Capitaine Coeur de Miel (14:02)

- Christian Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Francis Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Jean Pierre Guichard / drums
- Claude Demet / flute, guitar
- Gerald Renard / bass

For the very time of their career, Ange will wait for two years to produce this new studio release. Of course, in the meantime they have released their great "Tome VI", their first live album. Ange did produce some masterpieces already, and some less perfect (though very good) work as well.
The line-up has been rather stable throughout their early days. For the very first time, there will be some major line-up changes. Jean-Michel Brezovar (lead guitar), Daniel Haas (bass) and Gérald Jelsch (drums) who were within the band since "Caricatures" have left.
When one looks at the tracklist, one thinks : great! Long tracks like on their debut album (at least it was my reaction). But will the music be on par ?
I have to say that the opener "A Colin-Maillard" is somewhat remiscent of that period. Very good instrumental parts, purely symphonic and definitely reminiscent of their debut album for my greatest joy. We'll remain in the same territory with "Dans les Poches du Berger". Lyrics are extremely poetic. On this side as well, we revert to the mysterious and intricate lyrics of their early days. Really a great surprise so far. The atmosphere of the song is very "Trespass" oriented, but it is not the first time that this appear in Ange's work.
The lyrics for "Un Trou dans la Case" will renew as well with their sexual and anti-clerical opinions. They are the major attraction of this rather hard song. The short "Virgule" might sound a very light song. But believe me, the lyrics are almost obscene. A lot of allusions again around the sexual aspect of our lives.
I can not think of one English band that went so far in their lyrics. Ange already produced such an innocent piece of music (in appearance) on their album "Le Cimetière Des Arlequins". The song to which I refer is "L'Espionne Lesbienne". It sounds innocent as long as you do not understand the text.
I think that the extreme will be reached in "Réveille-Toi" : "Wake Up! Wake Up! I want this coïtus to risen you from the dead and that it arouses velvet moments in you ! "Wake Up! Wake Up! Can you hear me ? I am penetrating you, bowling you over, I am breathing you, I am burying you !!! I love you, I love you, I love you !!!
The last and epic track "Capitaine Coeur De Miel" is probably the most theatrical piece of music that Ange has ever written. Christian playing several roles during these splendid forteen minutes. Full of lyricism, sex, alcohol. Beautiful and grandiose music, scary at times as well as poignant, vibrant, emotional, bizarre, dramatic etc. In one word, it is one of the best Ange songs.
The questions raised by the personnel changes are answered pretty easily. They have not affected Ange's music (at least for this album). This highlights only the extreme importance of the Descamps brothers on their work. This is their sixth very good album in a row; interrupted with a great live album. Who has done better ? Genesis of course, but who else ?
This band is little known outside the French speaking countries. It would have definitely deserved to have gained more popularity, but singing in French such complex lyrics (even difficult to understand for native French speakers) have cut them from a great international career. And it is a shame. Of course they have appeared in some major festival in the UK (Reading) opening for Genesis but in France, they are considered as a national glory.
This album has not the fame of " Le Cimetière Des Arlequins", "Au Delà Du Délire" and "Par Les fils De Mandrin". But so was "Caricatures" which is one of their greatest albums. As this one. You should really give it a try if you love symphonic music. If by any chance, you can grab some French, your joy will even greater.

Ange - 1978 - En concert 1970-1971

En concert 1970-1971

01. Zup (2:56)
02. Atome (17:06)
03. Opus 69 (3:03)
04. Présentation (0:36)
05. Général Machin (3:12)
06. Assis sur l'Univers (8:20)
07. Professeur Flouze (4:22)
08. Messaline (3:14)
09. Cauchemar (6:46)
10. Prophétie (22:34)

- Christian Decamps / voice, keyboards
- Francis Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Jean-Michel Brezovar / guitar, flute
- Daniel Haas / bass
- Jean-Claude Rio / rhythmic guitar (1970)
- Gérard Jelsh / drums, percussion
- Patrick Kachanian / bass, flute (1970)

By the time they'd record their debut album, Ange has been around a while (they were already around in 69) and had already developed some ambitious music (including a rock opera) and played many concerts. This album dates from 78, but features concert tapes from 70 and 71, but Ange was against its publication, but somehow they were released, but not on Phillips, but on RCA. Actually, it's relatively easy to understand why Ange was opposed, since not only is the sound execrable and really unfit to publish as an official product, but their music was a little too derivative and paled in comparison to their professional releases. Don't get me wrong, the music is fine and the sound is not that bad (some official releases like Earthbound are worse than this), but this is not to be regarded as an official album of theirs. The recordings come from two different concerts, the first (on the disc) in March 71 with the classic line-up, while the second predates it by two months (Jan 71) and had a different line-up (no Haas, but an extra guitarist)
Sooo back in the early days, Ange had written a rock opera called La Fantastique Epopée Du Général Machin, written by the Décamps brothers and it was already a rather complex and ambitious oeuvre. What's great about this "album" is that most of the material is unheard elsewhere, with a possible exception of the opening Zup, which reminds me a track on one of their first two official album. The short concert extract opens on the afore- mentioned Zup, but the main course is a 17-mins Atome track, one that sounds halfway between Genesis (Cryme-era) and Floyd (Saucerful-era) with a touch of Who (Tommy-era) and even an Amon Duul II (Yeti-era) feel - most likely some of these influences were fortuitous. Quite interesting a track, I wished they had a better-sounding version somewhere, just to catch Ange in a psychedelic mood. The third extract Opus 69 is a short dynamic instrumental, reminiscent of a giant hogweed nature. I'm not sure why, but the last track of this double vinyl (but single Cd, which I am reviewing) is also from this line-up, but I've got no idea why this 22-mins Prophetie track is separated from the rest of its companion piece. Actually this monster track is much like Atome, but a bit more elongated and with Tull-influences (This Was-era) and the same Floyd-Genesis-ADII and Who influences, the latter though the Entwistle-like horn-blowing. Prophetie is a very enjoyable jam track, with many fun moments.
The second concert is more complete and features bits of the Général Machin rock-opera, starting with an ambitious presentation and digging right into the heart of the subject with the short title track, the much longer Assis Sur L'Univers (sitting on the universe: most likely the general's ambition) and the other tracks from this set are not quite as proggy and sound quite different: more guitarey, R'nB, the flute sounding like a toy and even less-well recorded than the first part of the release. Only Cauchemar seems more elaborate in terms of songwriting.
Personally I'd give the classic line-up concert (with Atome and Prophetie) an easy three stars , despite the poor sound, but I'd only give the first line-up's Général Machin rendition a two stars, tops. Well, if you're only a casual Ange fan, you'd better steer clear of this "album", which received two Cd reissue by Spalax (94) and Musea (97). On the other hand if you love Age, this is more likely a must-own, even if you won't listen to it so much after the initial discovery.

Ange - 1977 - Tome VI

Tome VI

01. Fils De Lumière (4:32)
02. Les Longues Nuits d'Isaac (4:27)
03. Ballade Pour Une Orgie (4:38)
04. Ode à Emile (3.45)
05. Dignité (15:51)
06. Le Chien, La Poubelle Et La Rose (previously unreleased) (13:12)
07. Sur La Trace Des Fées (5:10)
08. Hymne À La Vie: Cantique (5:22)
09. Hymne À La Vie: Procession (5:22)
10. Hymne À La Vie: Hymne (3:00)
11. Ces Gens-Là (6:02)

- Jean Michel Brezovar / guitar, vocals
- Christian Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Francis Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Jean Pierre Guichard / drums
- Daniel Haas / bass, guitar

In 1976, it was the appropriate moment to release an Ange live album. Their fame is at their peak (in France, and to a certain extent in Belgium) and they have recorded several great symphonic albums. I would say that this live album is a pivotal turnpoint in Ange's career. They will still produce some great albums after this recording but the density of the previous ones will never be matched again.
This live work starts with a trio of songs from "Au Delà du Délire" one of their masterpieces IMO. But unfortunately my two preferred tracks of the album are not featured here ("La Bataille du Sucre" and the title song, a real and extraordinary epic). We'll get three short (but very good) songs to cover this album.
When you listen to the introduction for "Ballade Pour Une Orgie" the sexual mood of the song is highlighted in a rather blunt mood. Attempt to translation.
Talking about a young lady : "and this cyprine that is flowing into your veins let the great moment escape, isn't it sweet to feel the "thing" that penetrates you into your very depths and then you do aaaah (simulating an orgasm). I am not sure about the translation of the French word "Cyprine". It is the liquid secreted by the vagina when a woman is in an excitation state. Remember, we are in 1977. And then the song starts !
There will be one song from their debut album. Actually one of their best one ever written : "Dignité". The live version will be extended to almost sixteen minutes and is one of the great moment of this record. Some instrumental parts sounds more spacey than the original. When the band starts to play it, one can feel that the audience is shivering and so happy to get this track.
To arouse the fans interest, there will be one unedited song here : "Le Chien, La Poubelle Et La Rose". During the presentation of the song (sung by Francis Descamps), one can hear : "This a tale that La Fontaine could have written". La Fontaine is a classic French author from the seventeenth century, very famous for his tales (or fables).
Very medieval mood (as one could have guessed, with such an inspirator) for this long song (over thirteen minutes) featuring a great and long guitar break to close the number. This track would have deserved to be released on an album; but let's not complain, we'll get it live and this version is just superb.
Two songs from "Jacotey". And my preferred two ones of the album. The incredible "Sur la Trace des Fées" and its Crimsonesque and scary mood, and of course "Ode À Emile". A song full of emotion and really passionate. Again two great Ange moments.
What can I say about the last two numbers of this exceptional live set ?
"Hymne À La Vie" is the best one from " Par Les fils De Mandrin" a wonderful epic built crescendo. An hypnotic middle part, a great guitar break, a very emotional vocal performance and a sublime finale. This is symph prog at its best.
From "Cimetière", the title track (and the best number) is omitted but instead we will get a live rendition of the lengendary "Ces Gens Là" from "Le Grand Jaques" as we call him in Belgium (Jacques Brel of course). This is again a poignant moment of this concert (but there are so many). They could not have chosen a better song to close a concert since the final words are "But it is already late, sir. I need to go home".
For such an old release, the sound while not being super, is very decent. The tracklist is extremely good (even if one or two of their greatest songs are not featured - but it will be taken care of in "Un P'tit Tour Et Puis S'en Vont" released in ... 1995. It is also the occasion to feel how good an entertainer Christian Décamps was during a live set.
Of course his little stories between songs are clearly Gabriel oriented. When you listen to the fabulous presentation of ""Hymne À La Vie" you will be convinced. Full of allegories and lots of emotion, indeed.
This live album might be a good entry if you would like to dicover the complew world of this great French band.

Ange - 1976 - Par Les Fils De Mandrin

Par Les Fils De Mandrin

01. Par les Fils de Mandrin (4:48)
02. Au Café du Colibri (4:02)
03. Ainsi s'en ira la pluie (6:08)
04. Autour du Feu (3:06)
05. Saltimbanques (4:15)
06. Des yeux Couleur d'Enfants (4:20)
07. Atlantis "les géants de la 3e Lune" (5:05)
08. Hymne à la Vie (9:44)
a) Cantique (4:15)
b) Procession (3:52)
c) Hymne (1:37)

- Jean Michel Brezovar / solo guitar, acoustic guitar
- Gerald Jelsch / drums, percussion
- Daniel Haas / bass guitar
- Christian Decamps / Hammond organ, piano
- Francis Decamps / organ special effects

"Par les Fils de Mandrin" is the last Ange studio album with the classic foursome (the two Decamps brothers, Brézovar and Haas) and the first one with drummer Jean-Pîerre Guichard. It is a concept- album revolving about the way of life and pursuits of a group of bandits, and you can tell that there is much room for folk-rock sonorities, as well as a refined handling of not too complex ambiences in many places: these two items are inherited from the days of the previous studio effort "Emile Jacotey". But also, there are many signs of a refurbishment of the old Ange style (as delivered in their first 3 albums). "Par les Fils de Mandrin" is, stylistically speaking, a convincing recapitulation of all that Ange had given so far to France's prog rock scene at the time. The album kicks off with the namesake piece: it has an atmospheric intro, eerie yet agile enough as to fluidly segue into the rocking main body. 'Au Café du Colibri' is another rocker, solid as the oponer although not as aggressive: the use of some Cabaret-like moment as a sort of interlude helps to enhance the sarcastic nature of the lyrics. 'Ainsi s'en Ira la Pluie' goes to a far different place. It starts with a long, spacey section dominated by cosmic synths, random soft percussions and a few lovely lines on harmonica as Christian Decamps goes reciting a ceremonious soliloquy; the latter section is a dynamic exercise on symphonic rock in the same trend of the "Cimetiere" and "Délire" albums. 'Autour de Feu' is an acoustic ballad (featuring plenty of acoustic guitars) that sounds like a bunch of guys sharing a moment of reflecting while camping in the desert under the moonlight - the partying climax is quite catchy and contagious, at least to me. 'Saltimbanques', once again, finds the band twisting the road toward a very different direction: this time we have a circus-meets-Renaissance dance framed as a celebratory litany: this makes sense after the festive closure of the previous track. The second half of the album is the most ambitious one in terms of progressiveness. 'Des yeux Couleur d'Enfants' pretty much follows the pattern of 'Aujourd'hui C'est la Fête chez l'Apprentice Sorcier' (from "Cimetiere") and 'Les Longues Nuits d'Isaac' (from "Délire"): powerful guitar, calculated mood shifts and soaring keyboards. 'Atlantis Les Géants de la 3e Lune' states a somber atmosphere based on sinister keyboard layers that go floating like dark clouds: the full ensemble's Entrance gives way to a majestic closure, but I feel that the fade- out comes too soon. I wouldn't have minded if this track had taken a longer expansion. But length is OK with 'Hymne à la Vie', the fabulous closer that has become a real timeless Ange staple. The first two parts of this mini-suite heavily rely on pastoral folkish moods, pertinently adorned by synths and mellotron; Brézovar's plethoric flute lines on part 2 are simply delicious. The last part is pure symphonic splendor, very much in a Genesis-meets-Moody Blues vein, of course, with a typically French flavor. A great album this is - another excellent effort by Ange tha tshouldn't be missing in any good prog rock collection.

Ange - 1975 - Emile Jacotey

Emile Jacotey

01. Bêle, Bêle petite chèvre (3:50)
02. Sur la trace des Fées (4:48)
03. Le nain de Stanislas (5:45)
04. Jour apres Jour (3:09)
05. Ode à Emile (3:03)
06. a) Ego et Deus (4:07)
07. b) J'irai dormir plus loin que ton sommeil (4:11)
08. c) Aurélia (2:54)
09. d) Les Noces (6:28)
10. Le Marchand des Planètes (4:17)

- Guenole Biger / guitar, percussion, drums, guitar (electric), marimba, vibraphone
- Jean Michel Brezovar / guitar, vocals
- Christian Decamps / percussion, keyboards, vocals
- Francis Decamps / organ, synthesizer, piano, keyboards, vocals
- Daniel Haas / guitar (acoustic), bass, guitar
- Gerald Jelsch / drums

Fourth album for Ange. Two of their previous ones were really masterpieces. Ange's world is made of very weird lyrics and a music strongly inspired by Genesis and Crimson.
This release is a concept album of which Emile Jacotey is the central character. This old man will appear hear and there throughout the album. He will introduce himself, explain what he has been doing, quickly talking about his place and his family. I must say that the concept is not very strong and does not really appeal to me.
The album will be on the harder edge at times. The opener for instance, is probably Ange's hardest track so far. Only the end of the song is very quiet and introduces the old man talking about the legends which will be developed throughout the album.
We'll get some pure symphonic songs as well here of course. "Sur La Trace Des Fées" is faithful with the brilliance of their splendid music and fantastic vocals distlled by Christian Descamps. This fairy tales song sounds very Crimson-esque, but this is not new. "Ode A Emile" start with Emile Jacotey counting a bit of his life. But nothing interesting, really. Pure banalities. Fortunately, the melody is great and the intrumental parts are extremely catchy. One of the best song of this album.
I am not really convinced by "Ego Et Deus" which is the weakest song of the album. There will be some good guitar work during "J'irai Dormir Plus Loin Que Ton Sommeil". This will save this rather average song.
"Aurelia" is a simple and short piece of music, a bit commercial. Lyrics are somewhat sexual oriented (but nothing as strong as in some previous songs). Very light song. Like "Jour Après Jour", very much "Talk To The Wind" oriented.
We'll finally get a more traditional Ange song with "Les Noces". A brilliant hymn like Ange was used to produced. It is a descirption of a mariage feast with all its excesses (food, drinks and sex). It is the longest number of this album. We are far from Ange's epics. Nothing such as "Tels Quels" or "Au-Delà du Délire".
Several good songs here, but no real highlight nor great instrumental pieces even if the last section of "Le Nain De Stanislas" is very powerful and reminds us the great Ange we all know. Great keys as well as a good (hard) guitar break.
The closing number "Le Marchand Des Planètes" is a good song but this is a bit short in comparison with what Ange has been producing so far. This album sounds more theatrical with short scenes. Lyrics are not as flamboyant as the ones Christian has been used us to.

Ange - 1974 - Au-Dela Du Delir

Au-Dela Du Delir

01. Godevin le Vilain (2:57)
02. Les longues nuits d'Isaac (4:10)
03. Si j'étais le Messie (3:00)
04. Balade pour une Orgie (3:22)
05. Exode (5:00)
06. La bataille du Sucre (Inclus: La colère des Dieux) (6:30)
07. Fils de Lumiere (3:52)
08. Au delà du Délire (9:02)

- Eric Bibonne / vocals
- Jean Michel Brezovar / guitar, vocals
- Christian Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Francis Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Daniel Haas / bass, guitar
- Gerald Jelsch / drums
- Michel Lefloch / vocals
- Henry Loustau / violin 

First things first: like them or not, and no matter how are you look, there is nothing else out there quite like Ange. They are one of those bands who are popular, prolific, an inspiration to others, and yet their sound has never been successfully emulated - in a word, Ange are unique. And that is the only thing they have in common with other (few) prog bands. Uniqueness.
Now, Ange's third album is a real treat. From the artwork recalling "Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry" to some of the lyrics straight out of medieval imagination, Au-delà du Délire apears to be a trip into the collective subconscious of the Middle Ages french commoner - from his mundane worries to his thoughts and relationship with power, religion and human interaction, from his questioning of the world around him to his visions of the uncertain future. I am usually not one to be swept away by lyrics - I often say that if one wants to find a good read, he should look for it in books, not music albums. Yet even I can't remain indifferent to the lyrics delivered in this album.
Make no mistake: despite their name, there is nothing angelical about this music. It is highly profane, anti-religious, one might even say diabolical - for lead singer Christian Decamps is truly a man possessed. Knowing your French will be a great bonus when listening to Au-delà du Délire, but even if you don't, the words Decamps sings will still have an impact - his voice is an instrument, and a very powerful one (along with Hammill and Di Giacomo, it is the best voice in Progressive Rock combining power and grace - perhaps even slightly better than those two); but it is an instrument that delivers remarkable texts. Musically this album ranges from sombre to whimsical, from delicate to violent. Ange's distinct keyboard sound (which I previously thought resembled a mellotron but wasn't quite so; I recently read it is a Viscount organ through a modded Hammond reverb - whatever that is) provides an eerie atmosphere to the music, while the great electric guitar playing gives it a rough edge. These three instruments (if we count Decamps voice as one) are the backbone of every Ange album I've heard. And what a mighty backbone it is! The sound often feels rough and unclean, courtesy of the heavy and impressive sound of the organ, and the sometimes distorted guitar riffs and solos.
Godevin le Vilain opens the album with a delicate violin intro soon accompanied by the eerie keyboard, vocals and some power chords. It also opens the surrealist lyrical journey the album will convey. Descamps vocals are only mildly showcased in this first track, which features the first great guitar/keyboard interaction in the album. The opening violin intro provides the ending to the song, which is soon followed by Les Longues Nuits d'Isaac. An emulation of wind and a good guitar riff open this one, just before the song tones down and Christian Descamps begins his vocal tour-de- force, backed by the atmospheric keyboard. He is then accompanied by the acoustic guitar in a more delicate passage, still with the ever omnipresent organ. A slow vocal build-up then begins after which the band deliver the goods with a powerful performance, with loads of heavy chords and very emotional singing. Si J'étais le Messie is mostly a vocal track, with Christian Descamps speaking, only slightly accompanied by occasional bursts of instruments. The backing music itself begins to take form after the first minute. Towards the middle, an instrumental passage dominated by the organ takes shape, only to fade and return to Decamps increasingly fierce declamation, both in tone and lyrics content. Ballade Pour Une Orgie is a more gentle ballad, quite medieval sounding, musically consisting of the acoustic guitar and harpsichord-sounding electric piano interplay. The vocals are delicate and soothing on this track, which features more than just Christian singing. A couple of keyboard-created orchestral backing develops in the background, as Christian leads the song to its end, which almost segues into the next track. Exode is a piece of symphonic prog bliss, with a grand opening by the keyboards. Au-delà du Délire has their most hermetic lyrics in this song, which are also delivered quite delicately by Descamps, but not without a good dose of theatricality. Dominated by keyboards and acoustic guitar, it gives way to a grand finale with the famous organ/electric guitar interplay, here marvellously played in a great cavalcading rhythm, featuring what is probably the best guitar solo in the album. The following track, La Bataille du Sucre, is a bit the sombre piece in both theme and music. Beginning like a carnival carrousel, it is followed by multi-character vocalization, as the story of a shortage of sugar turned into war unfolds. The aftermath of the war is conveyed by the ghostly second half of the track, La Colére des Dieux, so marked by that typical Ange sonority, that you will simply have to hear in order to understand what I am unsuccessfully trying to describe. Fils de Lumière is the closest you will find in this album to a traditionally-build-up/chorus-structured rock song. It still features the trademark interplay between organ and guitar in a great middle-section instrumental crescendo. This is repeated after the second build-up, this time with more intensity and bursting into an instrumental finale where the electric guitar and organ are present with some more great soloing. The track segues into the acoustic guitar intro of the final track,Au-delà du Délire, which begins like a medieval- sounding dance, if it weren't for the electric keyboards. It does convey a very strong medieval fair feeling, though, which is quite a feat using mostly 20th century electric instruments. This first half is filled with all kinds of different vocals showcasing different characters, before it fades away into a small section filled by sounds of the wild. They are abruptly interrupted by the heavy sound of the organ, which opens the way for the final guitar solo, in this beautiful instrumental finale. The sounds of the woods then bring the album to a complete, bucolic close.
What a fantastic and emotional journey! There are two ways of facing this album (and this band in general): you either love them or hate them. But you will never, NEVER feel indiference towards the music of Ange. I do not know every album by this french combo; I don't even know every Ange album from the 70's, having only heard their albums up to Guet-Apens, minus Le Cemitière des Arlequins (I do intend to keep exploring). But from the few I know, I can definitely state that I find Au-delà du Délire their most ambitious and musically accomplished album. It is also some of the finest music I've heard from any genre, nearing on perfection. There is no away I can rate this album with less than 5 stars. MANDATORY for anyone who considers himself a classical prog fan.

Ange - 1973 - Le Cimetiere des Arlequins

Le Cimetiere des Arlequins

01. Ces Gens-Là (4:47)
02. Aujourd'hui c'est la Fête chez l'Apprenti-Sorcier (3:25)
03. Bivouac - 1ère partie (5:32)
04. L'Espionne Lesbienne (2:52)
05. Bivouac Final (3:02)
06. De Temps en Temps (4:08)
07. La Route aux Cyprès (3:18)
08. Le Cimetière des Arlequins (8:46)

- Christian Decamps / Organ Hammond, piano, lead vocal
- Francis Decamps / organ special effects, Mellotron, vocal
- Jean-Michel Brezovar / solo guitar, flute, vocal
- Gérard Jelsh / drums, percussion
- Daniel Haas / bass guitar, acoustic guitar

Ange's second album was released in 73 on the Phillips label, but apparently, the label didn't invest much money in the group's recording sessions and the album sounds muffled in places and downright catastrophically bad in others (at least on the first Cd reissue). With a wild artwork, Ange's unchanged line-up recorded seven mostly shorter songs (even if three tracks combine into an 11-mins mini-suite), and the closer being an almost 9 minutes title traxck. .
This starts with Jacques Brel's Ces Gens-Là, which is one of the best covers of any Brel cover song done prog or not (bar Bowie's version of Amsterdam) as they really understood how to put this in rock instrumentation, even if it isn't perfect. This will be their first hit but one thing is clear, the original Brel song was better produced than this obscure prog record. Another proof of poor production is the Ajourdhuis tracks, which sounds completely muffled. Other stand-out tracks are Espionne-Lesbienne sandwiched between the two Bivouac pieces, which forms an 11-mins suite, with the central piece being a corrosive text. The flipside starts on an average electric De Temps En Temps and follows it on an acoustic Route Des Cyprès and closing the album, last but not least, the title track. Indeed thismini-epic is the main reason to believe that Ange progressed from Caricatures and here the demented sombre track offers plenty of doom and sterangeitude.
As far as I am concerned, this is their best album, along with the debut, a fact that most Ange addicts will dispute me with Délire and Jacotey. I suggest that newcomers to Ange start with this one, being slightly less aggressive (in a good Ange way) as to not scare them away with the more bizarre debut Caricatures and then move on chronologically. If you can find a remastered version of these early Ange albums it might be a good idea.

1. Ces Gens-Là (4:47) : This is a cover from the famous Belgian singer Jacques Brel, his emotional approach must have appealed to Christian Decamps ! The atmosphere is bluesy with strong and expressive vocals, wonderful mellow organ waves and fiery electric guitar work.
2. Aujourd'hui c'est la Fête chez l'Apprenti-Sorcier (3:25) : This a short but varied (dreamy, catch, bombastic) song, tasteful coloured by the organ and theatrical French vocals.
3. Bivouac - 1ère partie (5:32) : A typical Ange song delivering lots of dynamics and a psychedelic undertone, the word "Bivouac" is sung as "Hallelujah". Halfway the sound of the organ, electric rhythm guitar and drums is almost hypnotizing, including a great distorted organ/wah-wah guitar duel.
4. L'Espionne Lesbienne (2:52) : A bit strange track with acoustic guitar, flute and funny vocals.
5. Bivouac Final (3:02) : A compelling climate featuring a propulsive rhythm-section and a sensational, distorted organ and electric guitar (wah-wah) sound.
6. De Temps en Temps (4:08) : This song has a slow rhythm with lush organ and strong and varied vocals (theatrical, warm, dramatic), halfway there is a short but fiery and biting electric guitar solo.
7. La Route aux Cyprès (3:18) : This is a beautiful, romantic sounding piece with warm vocals and pleasant acoustic guitar and flute.
8. Le Cimetière des Arlequins (8:46) : The first part of this long titletrack sounds a bit subdued but halfway gradually the atmospere becomes more 'bombastic psychedelic' featuring a compelling organ sound and theatrical vocals. The final part contains weird sounds.
A good album with lots of fine momens but also some less captivating parts, .. in my opinion.

Ange - 1972 - Caricatures


01. Biafra 80 (Intro) (3:50)
02. Tels Quels (6:55)
03. Dignité (9:35)
04. Le soir du Diable (4:32)
05. Caricatures (12:46)
06. Biafra 80 (Final) (2:22)

- Jean Michel Brezovar / solo guitar, acoustic guitar
- Gerald Jelsch / drums, percussion
- Daniel Haas / bass guitar
- Christian Decamps / organ Hammond, piano
- Francis Decamps / organ special effects

Formed in late 1969 by brothers Christian Descamps (vocals) and Francis Descamps (keyboards) and later joined by guitarist Jean-Michel Brézovar, bassist Daniel Haas and Gérard Jelsh on drums, this French symphonic progressive rock band, similar to contemporaries such as Genesis and King Crimson, is undoubtedly France's most important prog band. Marrying prog rock influences with French folk and theatrical vocals à la Jacques Brel (Ange covered Ces Gens-là from Brel, and it turned out to be their first hit in 1970), Ange's music, but mostly their lyrics, are second to none. Thirty years later, after multiple lineup changes, charismatic and theatrical frontman Christian Descamps leads the new Ange generation alongside his son Tristan on keyboards, Hassan Hajdi on guitars, Thierry Sidhoun on bass, Caroline Crozat on vocals and Benoît Cazzulini on drums.

The classic line up (except for the drummer which changed often) recorded many cult classics, such as « Caricatures », « Le Cimetière des Arlequins », and a series of masterpieces like « Au-delà du Délire », « Émile Jacotey », « Par les Fils de Mandrin » and « Guet-Apens ». 10 years after « Guet-Apens », the same lineup would reunite and release two albums, « Sève qui Peut » in 1989 and « Les larmes du Dalaï-Lama » in 1992. While being modern, these albums nevertheless captured the main ingredients unique to Ange. Their latest albums, « Culinaire Lingus » and « ? » see the band as inspired and pertinent as ever, as if Descamps had found the secret of eternal youth.

This band is more than highly recommended, it is mandatory listening for fans of theatrical symphonic progressive rock, especially the period between « Caricatures » and « Guet-Apens ».

This is the first album by the legendary and pivotal French progrock band Ange. It has a typical Seventies sound, very dated but also unique and captivating.
1. Biafra 80 (Intro) (3:50) : This first song is instrumental, it contains a slow rhtyhm and a bit ominous atmosphere featuring delicate organ and Mellotron waves and some fiery electric guitar, very compelling prog!
2. Tels Quels (6:55) : In this track we can enjoy the typical Ange sound: theatrical and expressive French, very distinctive vocals from Christian Decamps and frequently changing climates, from dreamy or catchy to fiery or bombastic with often a psychedelic undertone and some biting wah-wah drenched guitar soli.
3. Dignité (9:35) : This composition alternates between a slow rhythm with mellow organ waves and story telling-like vocals and a cheerful climate with propulsive drums and catchy organ runs (like on "Act one" from BEGGAR'S OPERA), halfway interrupted by an interlude with classical piano and flute.
4. Le soir du Diable (4:32) : This is a beautiful blend of twanging acoustic guitar, warm vocals, soft drum beats and slow organ waves, what an original prog!
5. Caricatures (12:46) : The epic titletrack starts with a theatrical spoken intro, then lots of shifting moods featuring a lush keyboard sound (lots of organ and some Mellotron and piano), fiery electric guitar and expressive French vocals. This compelling and alternating prog inspired so many French progrock bands!
6. Biafra 80 (Final) (2:22) : The final track features lots of strange sounds and experimental music on percussion, flute, organ and guitar, a bit weird way so say goodbey....

maandag 29 november 2010

Andwellas Dream - 1969 - Love And Poetry

Andwellas Dream
Love And Poetry

01. The Days Grew Longer for Love
02. Sunday
03. Lost a Number Found A King
04. Man Without a Name
05. Clockwork Man
06. Cocaine
07. Shades of Grey
08. High on a Mountain
09. Andwella
10. Midday Sun
11. Take me Road
12. Felix
13. Goodbye

An incredible album by this group from Nothern Ireland. It didn't do well commercially, which was something of no interest to Andwella's Dream, you could say they were one of the few bands who really did mean it when they said it wasn't about the money.

This is one of those albums that sneaks up on you. When I first heard this, it's reputation had preceded it, and I was expecting another British holy grail of late 60's psych - it wasn't, and I was disappointed. This is precisely the reason I am reluctant to want to talk up any record I really like, because anyone taking my opinion seriously will have high hopes that may not be realised on first listen. As I read the notes I had made from way back then, it became apparent that a re-listen was called for, and I am grateful I did! I must have had my head severely up my ass back then (and maybe even still do!), because most of my grades for these tracks have been severely notched up. The album is not overtly psychedelic, but grabs you with the overall quality of the mat'l. It is only later that it dawns on you that "yeah, that IS psychedelic". Featuring good guitar (sometimes overdubbed with dual guitar), organ, powerful drumming, and even a few proto-prog moves, it's the good song writing that ropes you in, and if it doesn't the first time 'round, then it probably will the next.
One incidental: this appears to be an exact reissue of the original LP. However, there is clearly an extra cut, with it's own delineation bands, on side one. This cut has no mention on either the original back cover (precisely duplicated on this issue), or the label (not a repro of the original). I don't know if this track appears on the original 1969 issue or not, but I must assume it does not, and is therefor, a bonus track on this reissue. I have entered it in the track listing as a bonus cut, but if anyone can verify it as part of the preceding or following tracks, I would appreciate it.
This album holds all the keys to a psychedelic album, pushing their instruments to limits! Lovely mixture of melody and psych-rock. Great solo's weather it's on the guitar or organ! Some blues is mixed it, but discretely and only works to flatter the great psychedelia thats pushed out! Really is an excellent album! If you haven't got it.. what are you waiting for!

Andwella - 1970/1971 - World's End / People's People

World's End

01. Hold On To Your Mind        
02. Lady Love        
03. Michael Fitzhenry        
04. I'm Just Happy to See You Get Her        
05. Just How Long        
06. World's End (Part One)        
07. World's End (Part Two)        
08. Back on the Road        
09. I Got a Woman        
10. Reason for Leaving        
11. Shadow of the Night

People's People

01. She Taught Me To Love
02. Saint Bartholomew
03. The World Of Angelique
04. Mississippi Water
05. I've Got My Own
06. Are You Ready
07. Four Days In September
08. Lazy Days
09. People's People
10. All For You

George Barton: Drums
Dave Lewis: Guitar, Piano, Organ, Vocals
Nigel Smith: Bass, Vocals
Dave Mc Douggall: Keyboards

This band started life as a trio from Northern Ireland called Method, changing their name to Andwella's Dream after moving to London in 1968. After the first LP they were known simply as Andwella.Love And Poetry is a highly-rated psychedelic album, which featured guest artist Bob Downes playing sax, flute etc. All the songs were written by Dave Lewis. The highlights are the opening track, The Days Grew Longer For Love, which like most tracks is slow and melodic but with killer guitar leads; the heavier psychedelic number Sunday and Cocaine and Shades Of Grey, two tracks which veer towards progressive rock with plenty of organ and jazzy guitar. CBS released three singles from the album including two non-album sides: Missus Man and Mister Sunshine. Of these, Sunday is a superb slice of psychedelic rock with some Hendrix-influenced guitar work.In 1970 they switched to Reflection for whom they recorded two albums, neither of which matched their first effort and two 45s. The World's End album was also comprised entirely of Dave Lewis compositions, but most of the tracks were more mainstream with string orchestrations, brass arrangements and background vocals.

Andromeda (GER) - 1970 - Andromeda


01. Andromeda - 5:25
02. Cosmos Main Road - 4:57
03. Galaxy Of Beauty, Galaxy Of Nightmares - 8:05
04. A world On A Star - 4:40
05. Space trip - 7:33
06. Rockets - 8:27
07. Silvery Lady Star - 4:39

Peter Schild (Hammond organ, piano)
Günter Steinborn (drums)
Gerry Fleming (bass)
Tony Hendrick (guitar)

German group unknown, record a solo disc for a French label for you then definitely miss their mark. The style is a hard-rock-inspired jazz-blues, where in some points very similar to the COLOSSEUM. Perhaps with some more hard you could watch a band interesting.
The disc opens with the homonymous track Andromeda, already presenting a hard-rock with keyboards in the spotlight. There is no shortage of ideas especially in jazz where the final round of the bottom seems borrowed from Valentyna Suite.
Cosmos Main Road following the introduction performed by the classical piano for one song in a half a pulled very hard rock. Beautiful work done by the keyboards.
Galaxy is a blues-rock more conventional although there are also some interesting changes with melody in choral style.
A World On A Star is a slow song for piano and organ once again in classic style.
Space Trip breaks again with a very hard-rock pulled out is where the long drum solo finish which highlights the technical qualities of Steinborn absolutely not be underestimated.
Rockets is one of the best evidence of the disk being the longest track. The starting point is the jazz-rock but scattered inside you can hear psychedelic cues that make the track more deep and fascinating.
Closes Lady Silver Star, the most pop track that adds little or nothing to the rest of the disc.

Andromeda - 2000 - Definite Collection

Definite Collection

101. Too Old (5:00)
102. The Day of the Change (5:04)
103. Now the Sun Shines (4:02)
104. Turns to Dust (6:51)
I. Discovery
II. Sanctuary
III. Determination
105. Return to Sanity (8:22)
I. Breakdown
II. Hope
III. Conclusion
106. The Reason (3:33)
107. I Can Stop the Sun (2:10)
108. When to Stop (8:38)
I. The Traveller
II. Turning Point
III. Journey's End
109. Go Your Way(3:05)
110. Keep Out 'Cos I'm Dying (3:48)
111. The Garden of Happiness (3:13)
112. Return to Exoduss (2:28)
113. Journey's End (Reprise) (3:05)
114. Let's All Watch the Sky Fall Down (4:05)
115. Darkness of Her Room (5:12)
116. See into the Stars (7:13)

201. The Day of the Change (4:33)
202. The Reason (3:47)
203. Return to Sanity (4:29)
204. Keep Out 'Cos I'm Dying (5:53)
205. Search On (3:06)
206. Ode to the Sea (4:08)
207. Lonely Streets (4:15)
208. Sleep Like a Child (3:27)
209. I Was Left Behind (3:37)
210. I Just Wanna Live My Life (2:25)
211. The Lodger (2:20)
212. Dreamland (3:17)
213. Round House Blues [Live] (8:58)
214. Walking On [Live] (3:26)
215. I'm Searching [Live] (2:14)
216. Acidus [Live] (10:19)
217. All in You (3:28)
218. Step This Way (4:03)

- John Du Cann / guitar, vocals
- Mick Hawksworth / bass guitar, vocals
- Ian McLane / drums
- Jack Collins / drums

This 2 disc set is probably all the Andromeda you'll ever need. I wish someone would post a track listing for the "1966~69 Anthology" album, so I can compare for overlap. But this release contains the '69 album, their only single, a ton of bonus material, and an entire extra disc devoted to live stuff. It's all great, too; a mix of progressive hard rock, and power trio hard rock (their is a subtle difference). John Du Cann's guitar blisters on one cut after the other. Of the 34 total tracks offered, all but 3 rate at least a B-, and fully one half are worth a B+ or better! Throw in a great big booklet to round out the package, and you know you're getting your money's worth. A true hard rock lover's dream! Incidentally, I own an original LP, and the sound on this CD is comparatively excellent.

Andromeda - 1969 - Andromeda


01. Too Old (5:00)
02. The Day of the Change (5:04)
03. Now the Sun Shines (4:02)
04. Turns to Dust (6:51)
I. Discovery
II. Sanctuary
III. Determination
05. Return to Sanity (8:22)
I. Breakdown
II. Hope
III. Conclusion
06. The Reason (3:33)
07. I Can Stop the Sun (2:10)
08. When to Stop (8:38)
I. The Traveller
II. Turning Point
III. Journey's End

- John Du Cann / guitar, vocals
- Mick Hawksworth / bass guitar, vocals
- Ian McLane / drums

 ANDROMEDA was a blend of psychedelic, progressive, jazz and hard rock power trio which lasted only enough to release one album. They were formed back in '68, by John Du Cann, later of ATOMIC ROOSTER, after the break of his previous band, THE ATTACK.

Du Cann (guitar), along with Mick Hawksworth (bass) and Jack Collins (drums), recorded a psychedelic rock project named THE FIVE DAY WEEK STRAW PEOPLE, being a concept album much praised by collectors nowadays. After recording this project, the three decided to form a band, who was called ANDROMEDA. The band started to gig, record demos, live material, etc, but without and recording contract.

In '69, they were helped by John Peel, after recording sessions in Top Gear programme. It was arranged for them to record a single, by RCA, in Peel's label Dandelion; later they signed a contract to record an album, self titled. The band had some disagreements with Peel by the time Collins left, being substituted by Ian McLane, and they broke the contract. Though the band toured with BLACK SABBATH, recorded several live radio performances and even Pete Townshend from THE WHO showed his interest to produce their album, nothing turned out as expected, but they could hold a contract with RCA, were they released their only, self- titled album in '69. The album was acclaimed by critics, but had no great success among the public, so they never released another material again. Du Cann left in late 69' going to form Atomic Rooster, along with Vincent Crane and Carl Palmer from ARTHUR BROWN BAND. The other members tried to continue with new guitarists, but the band soon split.

Anyonewho is a fan of ATOMIC ROOSTER needs to check this album out.John Du Cann is the guitarist on this ANDROMEDA record and when it didn't become a commercial success he left to join ATOMIC ROOSTER.Both bands played a similar hard rocking style but ANDROMEDA were a trio with no organ.This band was one of the early prog bands as this was released in 1969.When i first heard it my initial reaction was that it sounded dated,but that really is it's charm.It does have a psychedelic flavour to it,but really this is often heavy,bordering on metal at times.I can't believe how good this lead guitarist is though.A lot of times it's just a shred-fest.The bass is very upfront as well."Too Old" opens with some scorching guitar before the drums and bass join in on this uptempo rocker.The bass is prominant.Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes.Moreexcellent guitar after 4 minutes."Day Of The Change" is a mid paced tune that starts slowly.A fairly catchy,straight forward song.The tempo picks up 2 1/2 minutes in as we get some ripping guitar and throbbing bass.We're back to the original melody a minute later.Cool tune."And Now The Sun Shines" is a relaxing ballad-like tune. "Turns To Dust" is a more energetic track with vocals,as the guys play fairly behind him and over top of him.Haha.Check out the guitar after 3 minutes,and the absolutely blistering solo 5 1/2 minutes in. "Return To Sanity" opens with marching-like drums as the sound starts to build as bass and guitar join in.It stops after 2 minutes as a new more relaxing melody arrives.Vocals after 3 minutess.The ripping guitar with pounding drums is contrasted with the relaxing passages to end the song. "The Reason" features aggressive guitar coming and going throughout.I really like this one. "I Can Stop The Sun" is a mellow track with fragile vocals,acoustic guitar and harmonies. "When To Stop" is the 8 1/2 minute closer.A powerful intro is replaced by a light melody of guitar,bass and light drums.Vocals join in.It gets powerful again as this contrast continues.I love the guitar before 4 minutes that trades solos with the bass until they join forces.Nice.The last section features Spanish sounding guitar melodies in a pastoral ending. There are 8 bonus tracks.The first is significant "Go Your Way" as it was the first single the band released on RCA.I also really like the blazing instrumental "Exodus".A ignificant record that may appeal to those fans of power trios.This is one of the earliest. 

Ancient Grease - 1970 - Women And Children First

Ancient Grease 
Women And Children First

01. Freedom Train
02. Don't Want
03. Odd Song
04. Eagle Song
05. Where The Snow Lies Forever
06. Mother Grease The Cat
07. Time To Die
08. Prelude To A Blind Man
09. Mystic Mountain
10. Women And Children First
11. Freedom Train (Alt.Take)

Graham Mortimer (Morty) - Vocals
Graham Williams - Lead Guitar
Jack Bass - Bass Guitar
Dick Ferndale - Drums

Ancient Grease were actually a band named Strawberry Dust from Neath in South Wales. This album was a collaboration between a few people from the hippyer band Eyes of Blue and Stawberry Dust. The result features some fine dirty rock'n'roll alongside with a number of mellow songs, such as the dreamy, psychedelic-folk of 'Time To Die' and the rootsy 'Mystic Mountain'.

What's interesting about Ancient Grease is that the album was intended to be released on the famous Vertigo Swirl label (catalogue nr VO5?). You can still see the VO Price Code on the reverse of the album sleeve. For some reason, the record company changed it the last minute and released it on the black Mercury label in July 1970. The album was also curiously credited to Ancient Grease, not Strawberry Dust.

Unfortunately, Mercury Records did not give 'Women and Children First' the amount of push necessary to get a brand new act noticed by the record buying public. Insted they focused on Rod Stewart's 'An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down'.

This album features everything you'd expect from an album made at the time...heavy heavy heavy. 'The Eagle' still gives me shivers!
It was released in 1970, and it's right up there with other UK bands from that era such as 'Leafhound', 'Hard Stuff' or 'Incredible Hog'. If you like those bands, you'll most definitly dig this.
The band was from Wales, and featured a young Gary Pickford Hopkins(pre-Wild Turkey) on vocals, and John 'Pugwash' Weathers on drums, before his long career with Gentle Giant. John also wrote most of the music.  Phil Ryan is on keyboards, later to join 'Man', another great Welsh band. Other members went on to form 'Racing Cars' in the mid 70s.

Ananga Ranga - 1977 - Privado

Ananga Ranga

01. Queen's Jail        
02. Kiss You in the Highway        
03. Lots of Miles Away        
04. Madness        
05. Estranha        
06. Privado        
07. Umnidade        
    a) Espaço Branco        
    b) Saudade        
    Funky Fonky   
08. Libra

Luis Firmino - guitar
Manuel Barreto - keyboards
Vasco Alves - bass
Necas - drums
Manuel Garcia - sax

Portuguese prog rock with some definite jazz tendencies.Interesting and worthwhile addition to any prog fans collection.Very much like "french prog jazz" ZAO meets Italian ARTI MESTIERI, with lots of Sax , Moog and electric violin. Highly professional musicianship and even an oriental (indian) feel to some songs , from which the band's name is a clear source. Very strong is also the late 70's Frank Zappa influence, along with a strong impro funky style reminding me some early Funkadelic works or the 70s Miles Davis explorations in funk music.

Analogy - 1973 - The Suite

The Suite

01. The Suite A (16:04)
- a. Sink Or Swim
- b. The Mirror
- c. The Treatment
- d. Merseburg Charm
- e. Spirit Dance
02. The Suite B (11:53)
- a. Ventador
- b. Intermission
- c. 1000 Deaths
- d. Is There A Chance

- Martin Thurn / acoustic & electric guitar, piano, voice
- Jutta Nienhaus / vocals
- R. J. Brett / bass
- S. Hunter / drums
- J. Anderson / piano, strings
- M. Dragutesru / electric guitar
- A. Asmus / viola

Analogy - 1972 - Analogy


01. Dark Reflections (7:00)
02. Weeping May Endure (4:50)
03. Indian Meditation (4:10)
04. Tin's Song (1:40)
05. Analogy (9:45)
06. The Year's At The Spring (4:35)
07. Pan-Am Flight 249 (5:15)

- H. J. "Mops" Nienhaus / drums
- Jutta Nienhaus / lead vocals
- Nicola Pankoff / keyboards
- Wolfgang Schoene / bass
- Martin Thurn / 12 strings acoustic & electric guitars, flute, bongos

In 1968 german Martin Thurn (guitar) went to an international school in Varese (North Italy) where he founded a band named SONS OF GIOVE. Other members were Wolfgang Schoene, Thomas Schmidt (later PELL MELL) and Jutta Nienhaus. Renamed to JOICE (due to a misprint later YOICE) the band went on in 1970 with drummer Hermann-Jürgen Nienhaus (brother of Jutta) and Mauro Rattaggi (bass), the only italian member of the band. After a lot of gigs in the south of Swiss and North Italy they were able to buy some professional equipment and in 1971 JOICE got a contract with an italian label. During a festival in Arona a spontanous collaboration happened with keyboarder Nikola Pankoff whilst playing a free interpretation of Pink Floyd's "Atom heart mother". Pankoff became a band member afterwards. Their first release was the Single "Sold out/God's own land", two songs written by Thurn. At the end of the year Rattaggi had to join the army and left the band. Schoene changed to the bass.

The recordings for their first LP started early 1972 in Milan and they finally renamed to ANALOGY corresponding to the title of their most important song. Soon some trouble occured about the sleeve pictures. The band wanted an artwork illustrated by Pankoff but the label demanded on some nude photos which had been taken for the former single production. Rattaggi was covered by the blue vertical bar which includes the band logo. The songs of their debut are gradually developed with a more psychedelic and experimental style provided with a dark atmosphere. ANALOGY's distinctions were Jutta Nienhaus' unique vocals, Thurn's and Pankoff's impressive instrumental skills on guitar and Hammond organ. In Italy the band now could reach some attention and appreciation. They played at a Rock festival in Rome with 30.000 spectators, appeared during some RAI radio sessions and could also be seen on TV. But ANALOGY remained practically unknown outside of Italy though.

In September 1972 Pankoff left the band because of some disagreements about the musical direction. 1973 it came to a new collaboration with flute player Rocco Abate, member of the Milano Scala Orchestra, who was searching for new experiences. Martin Thurn and Wolfgang Schoene composed a 30 minute set of thematically-linked musical pieces simply entitled "The Suite". In this work the classical music of the Renaissance-period was combined with Progressive Rock. ANALOGY played this several times live and received good reviews. The band had successful performances together with ATOMIC ROOSTER and CURVED AIR but nevertheless problems with the money were growing. Additionally Rocco Abate's issues increased to perform his obligations. So in November 1973 ANALOGY had the last live performance and disbanded at the end of the year.

Afterwards Martin Thurn, Jutta Nienhaus and her brother looked forward to a longer cooperation with Franco Battiato. Jutta Nienhaus appeared on the 1973 release Sulle Corde Di Aries. Some months later their plans failed because Battiato's interests changed to more synthesizer based music. They went on tour with Dario Fo's Collettivo Teatrale La Comune and during one performance in Milan they happened to be arrested and sent to jail for two days. After this experience they left the project and in summer 1974 the original JOICE line-up joined in a new project with JUMBO keyboarder Sergio Conte which was not very successful. So Martin Thurn and Jutta Nienhaus went to England where they had several other collaborations during the next years. The second ANALOGY album "The Suite" based on their live performances in 1973 with more Prog Folk impressions. It was completed and recorded in 1980 along with members of their subsequent band EARTHBOUND. 1994/95 they finally reworked some ANALOGY songs together with Mauro Rattaggi and released "25 Years Later" including the early JOICE songs in two different versions.
 The sound on the debut by german band Analogy is dominated by the vocals of Jutta Nienhaus and Hammond by Nikola Pankoff. Obviously their style had been inspired by late 60's psychedelic rock featuring some folksy and as well some Krautrock elements.
Already the opener is a quite nice one with a rather sluggish and dragging rhythm and strong vocals fitting perfectly together. In Weeping May Endure vocals are reaching at times some higher pitch, some fellows might have problems with but they are a nice contrast to the rocking guitar play and the roaring Hammond sound. Indian Meditation sounds even more psychedelic and Martin Thurn's guitar play is a bit reminiscent to early Floyd. There's also some flute added by him. After the short instrumental Tin´s Song there is the quite long title track which is deeply in the vein of late 60's psyche rock. Finally there is the very dynamic The Years At The Spring and the nice song Pan-Am Flight 249.

Anacrusa - 1978 - El Sacrificio

El Sacrificio

01. El Pozo De Los Vientos - 3:10
02. El Sacrificio - 3:17
03. Sol De Fuego - 3:30
04. Quien Bien Quiere - 2:47
05. Homenaje A Waldo - 5:21
06. Los Capiangos - 5:18
07. Tema De Anacrusa - 13:06

José Luis Castiñeira de Dios Musical Director
Susana Lago - Voice and Keyboards
Julio Pardo - flute
Bruno Pizzamiglio - oboe
Daniel Sbarra (Abuelo Et Nada) - guitars
Jorge Trasante - Drums and percusion
Juan Mosalini - gaita
Phillipe Pages - keyboards

Anacrusa - 1974 - Anacrusa 2

Anacrusa 2

01. Río Manzanares (3:06)
02. Coplas de Cundinamarca (3:09)
03. Polo coriano (2:35)
04. Palmero (3:25)
05. Zamba de la despedida (4:44)
06. Homenaje (4:06)
07. Saqué mi corazón de la tierra quemada (5:07)
08. Calfucurá (7:01)

- Susana Lago / vocals, piano, organ
- Julio Pardo / flute, clarinet
- Ruben Izaurralde / flute, vocals
- Alex Oliva / guitar, bass guitar
- Josè Luis Castineira De Dios / bass, vibraphone, guitar
- Elias Heger / drums 

Anacrusa - 1973 - Anacrusa


01. Rio Limay (2:47)
02. Pobre mi tierra (3:42)
03. Elegia sobre un poema (3:10)
04. El baile del pajarillo (2:15)
05. Zamba de invierno (2:20)
06. Lo que mas quiero (3:01)
07. Viento de yavi (4:16)
08. La rosa y el clavel (1:35)
09. Galopa del mamboreta (2:41)
10. Marula Sanchez (1:44)
11. Piedra y madera (3:37)

* José Luis Castiñeira de Dios: guitar, charango, cuatro
* Susana Lago: keyboards, vocals
* Narciso Omar Espinoza: guitar
* Andrés Arpino: drums
* Jackye Tricore: guitar
* Tony Bonfyls: bass
* Pierre Gozzes: sax
* Patrice Mondon: violín

Amphyrite - 1973 - Amphyrite


01. Oasis Boogie        
02. Moppie        
03. Guinche        
04. Bric a brac        
05. Euquimod        
06. Folie foll        
07. Symphonie Pour 3 Ceufs Brouillés    

Descombe Guy: Guitar
Copier Christian: Drums
Farant Bernard: Bass

Great lost French psychedelic acid fuzz gem.Totally instrumental includes strange complex compositions with great guitarwork and the much recognisable "basement sound" of fuzzy acidic guitar in the vein of Freidhof and Grave. In some parts reminds me of Silberbart or the heaviest moments of Guru Guru. Released in 1973 in 200 copies and reissued in 2002 in 500 copies. Of course both releases are long deleted.

zondag 28 november 2010

Amon Düül (UK) - 1989 - Fool Moon

Amon Düül (UK)
Fool Moon

01. Who Who (6:55)
02. The Tribe (7:20)
03. Tik Tok (8:06)
04. Hauptmotor (16:51)
05. Hymn For The Hardcore (4:15)

- John Weinzierl / guitar
- Dave Anderson / bass
- Guy Evans / drums
- Julie Wareing / vocals
- Robert Calvert / vocals

It can get a little confusing when there's three AMON DUUL's listed on this site.The original AMON DUUL were a free love, hippy commune from Munich,Germany that started in 1966.They weren't all that great musically and that wasn't their goal either.It was about expressing yourself in any way possible.Chris Karrer who was more serious about the music left and formed a new version of this band while the other band still kept going.This new version were the most famous and now legendary Krautrock band AMON DUUL II. Dave Anderson and John Weinzeirl were part of the beginnings of AMON DUUL II and both played on the debut "Phallus Dei".Dave would go on to become a member of HAWKWIND.Anyway fast forward to the eighties and John Weizeirl has relocated in Wales and built a home studio.He contacted Dave Anderson and they along with VDGG's drummer Guy Evans and vocalist Julie Wareing re- formed AMON DUUL and became commonly known as AMON DUUL UK.Their first album was called "Hawk Meets Penguin",and this one "Fool Moon" is their third release.Julie is gone by this time but in her place we get HAWKWIND's Robert Calvert. "Who Who" opens with experimental sounds including banging noises.Chaotic is the word.We start to get a beat 3 minutes in as spoken vocals arrive and echo like on some HAWKWIND albums i've heard.This is very psychedelic.Guitar and heaviness around 5 minutes.Cool track. "The Tribe" is an instrumental that opens with guitar,drums and bass that build.Great sound here.Love the guitar especially 4 1/2 minutes in.And the bass has an echo affect on it. "Tik Tok" is my least favourite probably because of those tape loops of accelerated ticking clocks.It then turns into an electronic tik tok.I like when the heavy guitar and drums arrive though after 2 1/2 minutes. "Haupmotor" is such a cool track that opens with the sounds of the woods with the water running and birds singing.Then you can hear someone using a saw then all these voices, then cars driving by as city life has taken over.Some cool ideas here.Then after 6 minutes the music kicks in and Calvert starts to sing in German! Incredible track. "Hymn For The Hardcore" has an Eastern vibe to it because of the sitar which they apparently got from a neighbors house.Fuzzed out lead guitar with percussion too.So much going on though. I feel fortunate to have the remastered version of this album,especially for the excellent liner notes by Andy Higgins.Highly recommended to those who like HAWKWIND ,AMON DUUL II and adventerous music. 

Amon Düül (UK) - 1989 - Die Losung

Amon Düül (UK)
Die Losung

01. Big Wheel (5:09)
02. Urban Indian (5:30)
03. Adrenalin Rush (5:21)
04. Visions of Fire (5:59)
05. Drawn to the Flame pt. 1 (8:07)
06. They Call it Home (4:40)
07. Die Lösung (3:36)
08. Drawn to the Flame pt. 2 (7:34)

- John Weinzierl / guitar
- Dave Anderson / bass
- Guy Evans / drums
- Julie Wareing / vocals
- Robert Calvert / vocals
- Ed Wynne / guitar
- Joie Hinton / synthesizers

The history of Amon Duul and Amon Duul II is one of the most confused in all prog. Essentially, there are two separate bands with the name Amon Duul. The first Amon Duul split almost instantaneously, with one faction retaining the name and the other using the name Amon Duul II. Some time later, Amon Duul II members John Weinzierl and Dave Anderson left that band, forming a new band called Amon Duul, who in reality are Amon Duul 3. It is this British version of the band who recorded this album in 1989.
"Die losung" ("The solution") is the third album released by this version of Amon Duul, and arguably the most interesting. The members include Guy Evans, the drummer with the classic Van Der Graaf generator line up plus a couple of Ozric Tentacles members. Of even greater interest though is the presence of the late Robert Calvert of Hawkwind, who provides the lyrics and lead vocals.
The music here is generally more accessible that that of the other Amon Duul configurations, with strong melodies and choruses. Calvert's vocals are slightly distorted and sometimes multi-tracked. Instrumentally, it is the guitar of John Weinzierl and the synth of Joie Hinton which dominates, with both contributing fine performances.
The opening "Big wheel" has all the ingredients of a potential single for the 1980's, with hints of bands such as Japan, Talk Talk, the Human League and even a bit of Bowie. "Adrenalin rush" moves into Billy Idol territories, with passing similarities to "Rebel yell" and songs of that ilk. The song, which once again has single potential, includes a superb but all too brief guitar break. "Visions of fire" reminds me of Bowie's "Ashes to ashes", even down to the accented vocals, here though the guitar solo is allowed to develop far more satisfactorily.
The feature track is the 8 minute "Drawn to the flame", where Calvert's vocals are supported by Julie Wareing. Calvert's slightly off key delivery suits this pulsating piece perfectly The song is allowed to develop through a more intricate structure into something of an epic. Wareing assumes the role of lead vocalist for two remaining tracks, giving those songs a different feel to the rest of the album. The 80's atmosphere remains, but the tracks seem even more straightforward and commercial. That said, "They call it home" has some good riffs generating a fine overall sound.
The song sometimes entitled "Drawn to the flame part 2" is in fact simply an alternative version of "Drawn to the flame". There are significant differences in the two versions though, this rendition resisting the temptation to lift the tempo for much longer.
In all, while those seeking the difficult prog of Amon Duul/Amon Duul II's early years will have to look elsewhere, this is something of a lost gem. Not only do we get some of Robert Calvert's most accessible work, we also find a collection of well crafted pop prog. Those wishing to acquire this now rare album will be pleased to learn that it is included in its entirety on the Retro Gold budget compilation entitled "Anthology of Cosmic Music".

Amon Düül (UK) - 1987 - Airs On A Shoe String

Amon Düül (UK)
Airs On A Shoe String

01. Hymn for the hardcore (4:22)
02. Pioneer (4:11)
03. One moment's angel is two pints of blood (12:42)
04. Marcus Leid (9:44)
05. Olaf (Where's My $20,000?) (13:29)

Whether the UK branch of Amon Düül really needed a compilation after the release of just two studio albums is an interesting question. However, "Airs On A Shoestring" is an interesting album in its own right, comprising the long, freaky improvisation "One Moment's Anger Is Two Pints Of Blood" from their debut, two more commercial hard rock tracks from "Meetings With Menmachines Unremarkable Heroes From The Past", and "Hymn For The Hardcore", which would later appear on "Fool Moon". But the real gem - and the real reason to buy this - is the otherwise unreleased "Olaf (Where's My $20,000)?", a majestic, slowly unfolding progressive masterpiece that just may be the best thing they ever recorded.

Amon Düül (UK) - 1982 - Meetings With Menmachines, Unremarkable Heroes Of The Past

Amon Düül (UK)
Meetings With Menmachines, Unremarkable Heroes Of The Past

01. Pioneer (4:20)
02. The Old One (5:06)
03. Marcus Leid (9:44)
04. The Song (4:14)
05. Things Aren't Always What They Seem (4:24)
06. Burundi Drummer's Nightmare (9:25)

- John Weinzerl / guitar
- Dave Anderson / bass
- Guy Evans / drums
- Julie Wareing / vocals

This album is a strange release by this incarnation of Amon Duul - sure bassist Dave Anderson and guitarist John Weinzierl are from the original Duul II line-up - and with drummer Guy Evans (of Van Der Graaf Generator fame) and a female singer with a sweet voice, Julie Waring, you'd probably expect the classic Krautrock sound to live on. The previous release by this band, 'Hawk Meets Penguin', was more in line with Krautrock and a great, spacey album in itself, but with this album, we have quite the pop album, but not without it's spacey characteristics. I'd imagine that the band were a great Festival attraction at the time. Almost each song starts with an electronic synth-scape that really has no relation to the song itself, but seems fitting never-the-less. There is no credit for synths, but on the back of the LP I have (with a really nice art-work, different to the one pictured here,) states "extra help - Bruce and Mick ". The overall sound of the songs themselves is clearly at the Rock/Pop end of the scale, with solid drumming from Guy (seldomly elaborate, this time 'round), strong and busy Bass playing, the guitaring is mostly rhythm with few solos, synths and vocals. Opening song, 'Pioneer', is an excellent track, 'The Old One' is a rocking song and very good at that, 'Marcus Lied' is a long track, a pleasant tune with a slower pace, but doesn't change much. Side 2 opens with 'Confucius Say' - similar to 'Pioneer' and quite good. 'Things are often Not what They Seem' is a ballad with just acoustic guitar and vocals and the last track 'Brumundi - Drummer's Nightmare' (as it reads on my LP, not 'Burundi') is a lengthy rocker, book-ended with an ambient synth-scape (almost sounding like Jean-Luc Ponty's keyboard work) and has a cool middle section where mad analogue synth 'bubbles' steal the show with some almost tribal drumming from Guy. A good chance to hear Dave Anderson's 'vocals' too !! Overall, At times, I prefer this album to the jammy 'Fool Moon', but the consistency throughout the 4 Duul UK albums I own is pretty even. Whilst not contributing much to the whole 'Prog-rock' genre, 'Meetings with Menmachines...' is an enjoyable album - especially if you are into Hawkwind, Amon Duul II, Magic Mushroom Band, Tubilah Dog, maybe even Ozrics.

Amon Düül (UK) - 1982 - Hawk Meets Penguin

Amon Düül (UK)
Hawk Meets Penguin

01. One Moment's Anger is Two Pints of Blood (12:41)
02. Meditative Music from the Third O before the Producers (5:17)
03. Meditative Music from the Third O before the Producers (18:14)

- John Weinzerl / guitar
- Dave Anderson / bass
- Guy Evans / drums
- Julie Wareing / vocals

Trying to find out any information about this album is very difficult.Dave Anderson(hawk) and John Weinzierl(penguin) both formerly of AMON DUUL II got together in Wales to form this version of that legendary band.I've read on the "gepr" site that Guy Evans from VDGG is the drummer on this one.I read somewhere else that the female singer on the first track is Julie Wareing.Both Julie and Guy are listed as members of this band on a later record called "Die Losung" where Robert Calvert(HAWKWIND) also plays a prominant role. "One Moment's Anger Is Two Pints Of Blood" opens with guitar,light drums,bass and synth sounds.Quite spacey as female vocal melodies come in before a minute(they come and go).We start to get a melody 4 minutes in until a great sound is created(with keys) a minute later.It calms right down before picking back up after 6 minutes.This sounds so beautiful.Love the keys as female vocal melodies return before 8 minutes.Some tasteful guitar joins in.Again the keys and sound 9 1/2 minutes in are so simple yet so wonderful.Vocal melodies again follow.More tasteful guitar before 11 minutes.Synths late make some noise.I've played this over and over many times. "Meditative Music From The Third Before The Producers" is divided into two parts,although they do blend together as one long 23 1/2 minute track.This one is experimental and seems like it's improvised.Percussion and bass? sounds before some spoken words then chanting arrive before 2 minutes.Spacey synth-like sounds with chanting and percussion continue into part 2. Waves of sound start to float in after 3 minutes of part 2 as different sounds come and go.This is very atmospheric and i like it.The waves stop 6 minutes into this second part as bass and percussion can barely be heard.It starts to rebuild slowly as guitar,percussion and synths take the lead.Another almost dead silence before 9 minutes.It sounds like clarinet or maybe flute 9 1/2 minutes in and to follow.No melody as different sounds come and go especially 11 minutes in.It's 13 minutes in when a jazzy melody comes to the fore.It settles back down for the final minute. Well for my money this doesn't match what AMON DUUL II did on their earlier albums(no surprise there), but i am impressed especially since this was 1981!

Amon Düül II - 2009 - Bee As Such

Amon Düül II
Bee As Such

01. Mambo La Libertad – 8:34
02. Du Kommst Ins Heim – 9:23
03. Stil Standing – 8:15
04. Psychedelic Suite – 26:01

- John Weinzierl / guitars, synth, vocals
- Renate Knaup-Krotenschwanz / vocals
- Lother Meid / bass, vocals
- Danny Fichelscher / drums
- Jan Kahlert / percussion, vocals

Recorded April 2009 at Dreamscape Studio, Amon Duul 2 celebrated a highly sensitive performance, of finding back to the roots – not in the past, but essentially – seeking the new sounds and contents at the same time. No ‘kraut’, no ’70s’, but the music of the new millenium. This sound painting is one more of our unique works, containing the spirit of our time.

“Bee as Such” is currently available only through Internet download, destined to be released on physical media on a later date.

Amon Düül II - 1997 - Flawless

Amon Düül II

01. Nada Cairo (6:47)
02. Surrounded By The Stars (7:26)
03. Castaneda Da Dream (In Another World) (3:44)
04. Wie Der Wind Am Ende Einer Strasse (5:42)
05. Kiss Ma Eee (5:16)
06. Cerberus (4:17)
07. Speed Inside My Shoes (2:52)
08. La Paloma (2:34)
09. Nada Moonshine Union (6:55)
10. Dancing On Fire (5:20)
11. Jam 71 (9:16)
12. What You Gonna Do? (5:00)
13. Jim Hai Jam Uk 96 (6:21) 

Flawless i bought from a rare cd company about 5 years ago and i bought this as i knew it was rare and was gklad i got it,i wouldnt say its the best amon duul 11 album but some songs are worth having,the songs which i still enjoy now are reworkings of [i think there reworkings],surrounded by the stars from [wolf city] which is excellent i think as its got a guitar solo with part of the german national anthem in it which goes in the song very well which i still enjoy everytime i listen to it,castaneda da dream[in another world] is a good song to which is of nada moonshine which i enjoy everytime i listen to it,wie der wind am ende einer strasse is a good reworking of this from wolf city and is enjoyable to,and la poloma from made in germany another reworking which is good as the guitar sounds good,i wouldnt say this is a excellent cd but the songs ive said about are worth having as there good and enjoyable,surrounded by the stars on this cd i play twice as its a good version and sometimes like it better than the original version of the song same goes with the other songs ive mentioned,i give it 3 stars just for the songs ive mentioned as there really worth having,i bought this cd for £12.99 and still listen to it 5 years after buying it when i want to listen to amon duul 11 but thats only the songs ive mentioned,give it a go just for the versions of the songs i mentioned.

Amon Düül II - 1996 - Live In Tokyo

Amon Düül II
Live In Tokyo

1. Nada Moonshine (5:23)
2. Black Pearl of Wisdom (3:43)
3. Dry Your Ears (2:14)
4. Castaneda da Dream (5:27)
5. Deutsch Nepal (2:54)
6. Kiss Ma Eee (8:05)
7. Speed Inside My Shoes (4:35)
8. Lilac Lilies (4:54)
9. Wolf City (5:30)
10. La Paloma (1:49)
11. Flowers of the Orient (5:46)
12. Surrounded by the Stars (8:26)
13. Archangel Thunderbird (4:35)
14. Jam Hai (5:24)

- Renate Knaup / vocals
- Lothar Meid / bass, vocals
- Chris Karrer / guitars, vocals, violin, sax
- Falk U. Rogner / lights & vision
- Jan Kahlert / percussion, vocals
- Felice Occhionero / guitar, vocals
- Michael Ruff / keyboards
- Wolf Wolff / drums 

Having split up in the 1970's, abortive attempts were made thereafter to reform Amon Duul II. In 1996, the efforts were finally successful, and a reformation did actually take place. Live in Tokyo documents that reunion, with many of the former band members returning for the event.
The set list covers the band's history, from the early 1970's through to 1995's Nada moonshine number, with no less than six tracks from that album being included. Many of these later songs are presented here in abbreviated format as a sort of taster for the album, although Kiss ma eee retains its full length. The early days are given relatively brief coverage, but Wolf city from 1973 does provide several songs.
The performances are credibly tight, with songs such as Deutch Nepal having an almost symphonic quality. At times, it sounds as if Marianne Faithful has joined as a guest vocalist, Casaneda Dadream being unintentionally amusing in this respect.
Some of the song titles have been modified, Dry your eyes being more familiar as Race From Here To Your Ears, and more specifically the Riding on a cloud section of that track. Whether the title modifications are by the band, or simply indicate a lack of historical awareness on the part of the publishers is not clear. On a similar tack, La paloma borrows its melody from Engelbert's Spanish eyes!
The highlight for me is the 8½ minute epic Surrounded by the stars, a song which appeared as a bonus track on the Nada Moonshine # album. The frantic violin and synth workouts offer definitive reassurance that there is life in the old dog yet. To ensure that the fans go home happy, Archangel thunderbird is given a spirited run through towards the end of the gig, although I have to say I prefer the Live in London version.
There has been some debate among fans about whether the band's reunion and the subsequent tour were wise. Some feel that this album simply documents a sort of tribute to the band's early days, while lacking the very invention and originality which was the foundation of their appeal. Others opine that these recordings prove that the band was still very much alive, and capable of delivering something unique and enjoyable. In the end, you pay your money and you make your choice.
For me, as someone who is by no means a committed fan and is therefore able to approach with a degree of impartiality, this is a thoroughly enjoyable set. The musicianship if superb, and the overall atmosphere refreshingly different.