Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Various Artists from Helvetia ‎– Nationales Finale 1979 Open Air Römisches Theater Augst Rock & Pop Vol. 2







Oh that wonderful progressive rock sound: the crashing minor second dissonances, the angular tritones, the abrupt tempo changes, the unexpected modulations that provide such intense variety, the changes in direction in one song from ballad to uptempo, the miraculously original amalgams of instruments like flutes with electric guitars, synths with acoutis guitars, mellotrons with anything... the borrowings from baroque music or from Bartok and Stravinsky, the ingenuity applied to creating novel chord progressions, the overall energy and youthful creative spirit applied to rock composition… the lush mellotrons, the choppy superfast electric guitar scales, the twelve-string guitars and lutes, the plaintive oboes, bowed cellos, otherwordly amplified reverbed violins, awe-inspiring unison virtuoso playing...

Suffice it to say this album, a fantastic find from my friend (the other one, the one with deep and seemingly inexhaustible piggybanks), has this all in enough quantities to really satisfy the most demanding fan.  Almost all bands here are one-off as far as I know except Irrwisch who put out quite a few records well-known to the prog fan (their track is an adorable almost typical late-seventies pop song), the band called "Aladdin" provided a superb song to the "Second Chance"  LP about Der Zauberer (the magician).  Sadly these guys were not able to record a whole LP, though they were one hundred percent on the right track on the stairway to progressive heaven.

Consider the first track, by a band called Ephesus: "SiebenSchlafer" just about has it all, starting with fugue-like interplaying between organ and electric guitar in a composition reminiscent of Debussy, or certain parts of the Night on Bald Mountain, we get some very ingenious, classical-derived passages only to hear 5/9ths of the way through the famous G minor chord on synthesized strings of Wish You Were Here's Shine etc. Part 1 with which we are all so familiar, as different instruments pay homage by playing figures atop, then it switches direction again to a very composed passage as the electric guitarist goes nuts shredding the ELP organ in his harpsichord-like staccato absolutely to bits on soloing.  Simply fabulous.

But equally remarkable is the band generically called "Fusion" (notice it's the thirtieth such identically named band in this database!) who play a "Haunted Swing Illusion" that is really a Bach-like fugue played by flute above electric guitar.  In its insistently varied and creative composition I feel at times I'm listening to mega-superstars of Swiss prog Circus, one of the bands that convinced me long ago that progressive rock is the music for me.  In particular the virtuosity of all the musicians will have you fall off the chair, guaranteed, if not the fact the momentum never lets up.  How very sad these guys didn't record a full LP!  Be sure to pay attention to this track, the fourth.

Track A1, Siebenschläfer:



 

Track B3, Augst, a wonderful derivative of Soft Machine, or perhaps Supersister's imitation form of Soft Machine:







A monumental find.  

17 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. thanks julian you amaze me didnt know this one either

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  3. Credit to my admirable connection for this amazing discovery.

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  4. All of the tracks in this album are my favorite....rarely such a case .Thanks for this GEM ,Julian !!!

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  5. Very impressive from start to end, I agree!

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  6. As a keyboardist, I'm amazed the piano part on the first sample track seems to be played on a Crumar Roadrunner, one of the cheapest of the cheap electronic pianos with a horrible action! Thanks Julian for this great LP!

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  7. Wow--very cool. I had been wondering where that thin and tinny sound came from, I thought it was just the live recording. Very interesting information ushaped!!

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  8. Vc poderia postar este album mais uma vez.

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  9. Vc poderia postar este album mais uma vez.

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  10. could you post this album again.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Thank you, I'm a fan of Sof Machine is as you mention the band there was interest in hearing.

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  13. Hi Julian, i'm sorry but i have to request a repost here too, thanks

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  14. here you go, and definitely a worthy album:

    https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/p244n4

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  15. Well i trust your judgemnet going by your earlier posts and politics where can i go wrong!

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