woensdag 10 november 2010

Akasha - 1977 - Akasha


01. Isle Of Kawi (11:05)
02. Bondage (6:20)
03. Regitativ (1:51)
04. Electronic Nightmare (2:16)
05. Death Hymn (5:17)
06. Light And Darkness (6:28)
07. The Trip (3:58)
08. Man of The Void (4:51)

- Sverre Svendsen / vocal, Mellotron on "Light and Darkness"
- Kjell Evensen / drums
- Arild Andreasson / bass
- Jens-Ivar Andreassen / guitar, Mellotron, synths, piano, organ
- Tor Johnny Hansen / words on "Death Hymn"

AKASHA is a Norwegian quintet who recorded one strange and fascinating album back in 1977. They are: Kjell Evensen on drums; Arild Andreasson on bass; Jens-Ivar Andreassen on guitar, mellotron, synths, piano and organ; Tor Johnny Hansen is credited for lyrics on one particular track; and Sverre Svendsen handles the mellotron as well as the English vocals - highly reminiscent of Greg LAKE, by the way. Musically speaking, comparisons aren't easy: try to imagine a blend of early GENESIS and the MOODY BLUES, albeit a much harsher, stranger version of the latter. AKASHA write dark and foreboding prog and lyrics with a strong sci-fi bent. The LP version of their album is now a collectors' item, commanding 3-digit prices on the underground market; even the small Swedish label (APM) that issued its cd version in 1995 has now ceased to be.

The music on their self-titled album (which dons an epic 11-minute opener) is loaded with synths, mellotron and spacey effects that will no doubt send fans straight to 'tron heaven (the mellotron features prominently throughout the album, relegating the guitars to a secondary role). Jens Andreassen exploits his synths to the fullest, wrenching out a variety of experimental analog sounds and noises (what he does with filters and oscillators is simply amazing). The only problem with the album is its poor sound - it was recorded in a bomb cellar of a hotel, in the town of Finnsnes. Except for this flaw, "Akasha" is brilliant and a true gem of underground Scandinavian prog.

If you fancy plenty of mellotron and spacey experimental sounds (and don't mind a 'so-so' production), no doubt you'll have your hands - and ears! - full with AKASHA.

 Talk about a totally obscure, underground gem of prog rock, this Norwegian band released this one and only album, then disappeared. They resided in a town called Finnsnes, which is way up north of the Arctic Circle, on the coast. And despite what has to be a very remote and desolate area of the country, it's a miracle a prog rock band existed there, and there was even a local label called BAT Records, willing to release this album.
As you might guess, the original LP received only local distribution, and commands three digit prices in the collector's market. Anyway, the production isn't that great, it has that homemade feel, and was recorded in bomb cellar at hotel in the band's home town. Despite that, it's an excellent example of spacy prog, loaded with tons of spacy electronic effects off synthesizers, and tons of Mellotron that's ever present! You can't go wrong with that if you're a Mellotron fan! The singing is in English, with a strong sci-fi bent to them.
The band consisted of vocalist Sverre Svendsen (who also handles Mellotron), Kjeil Evensen on drums, Arild Andreassen on bass, Jens Ivar Andreassen on guitar, Mellotron, and synthesizers, and Tor-Jonny Hansen supplying the words (as well as hymn on "Death Hymn"). They even credit Bjørn Hugo Gjøen for the psychedelic light show. The album consists of eight cuts, such as "The Isle of Kawai", "Bondage", the emotionless "Death Hymn", the electronic "Electronic Nightmare", and "The Trip". These are all excellent songs, despite the sloppy production.
And while the LP is difficult to find, it was made available on CD on the sadly now-defunct Ad Perpetuam Memoriam (APM) label out of Sweden, giving this album the attention in the prog community it never received before. Anyway, this is an excellent album to have in your collection.

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