body{ text-shadow: 0px 0px 4px rgba(150, 150, 150, 1); }

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Langsyne “Langsyne” 1976 Private Germany Psych Folk


Langsyne “Langsyne” 1976  mega rare Private Germany Psych Folk
full vk + bonus

Langsyne from Barmen played some sophisticated English-language psych-folk with a large variety of partly exotic instruments like the psaltery, koto, glockenspiel, banjo, flute, slide guitar, or the Jew’s harp. Their only LP was released in 1976, as an edition of only 200 copies, and is today sold at a price of about € 1000 to € 2000 in mint condition. It is thus probably the most expensive Krautrock LP except the first edition of ‘Monster movie’ by Can. It contains only self-written tracks. Especially remarkable is that the musical interaction of the three musicians is of somnabulistic perfection. There have been several new editions of 'Langsyne’, both as LP and as CD, some of them with a bonus track. The Garden of Delights CD has been drawn from the master tapes and contains fifteen bonus tracks, each of them of a perfect sound quality. 

Lang'syne ’s sole album is one of the top 10 folk-prog album out of Germany along with Holderlin’s Traum, Emtidi , Borselmachine , Ougenmweide , Carol Of Harvest and a few more. Unlike most German folk prog, it is sung in English which rather sad but the qualty of the songs as well as the musicianship more than makes up for.
The music is for the most part acoustic but sometinmes full-blown electric but giving more of a British Isles feel. Moonkyte and early Fairport Convention come to mind when this album is playing. Although quite an enjoyable spin , this was hardly groundbreaking, though as it got released in 76 and was sort of fighting an Arriere-Guarde battle.
This album has been released in Cd format on Lost Pipe Dream label in 92… by Sean Trane…

The German folk trio LANGSYNE from Wuppertal area never got support from record companies during their eight years of activity, but their self-budgeted sole album has become a valuable collector’s item and has seen numerous re-releases on vinyl and CD. I was happy to receive the Garden of Delights edition with 15 (!) bonus tracks and an exhausting article. Not that I’d ever care to read all details about the various re-releases. I’m surprisingly only the third reviewer.
I couldn’t invent a better name than the Scottish word for “long since” for this group, who doesn’t sound German at all. Indo-Prog / Raga-Rock is a bit misleading category, as this is primarily Medieval / Renaissance -inspired folk. GRYPHON is mentioned as the trio’s mutual idol, but the music comes closer to AMAZING BLONDEL, slightly seasoned with INCREDIBLE STRING BAND’s Indo-flavoured psychedelia. Ethnic instruments such as psalter, sitar or koto are used to a small degree. Multiple acoustic guitars form the spine, even flute, organ and percussion are often put aside.
Perhaps the main album’s long tracks are the clearest highlights in their melancholic and nearly mystic atmosphere. I prefer the earthly, unspectacular vocals and vocal harmonies over the oversweetness of Blondel. One guy occasionally resembles distantly Neil Young. Well, thankfully only a little.
Also the luxurious bonuses have a very good sound quality. Strangely the text doesn’t seem to tell anything about them. They’re much shorter in average: they take the same 39½-minute space as the seven album tracks. They are less atavistic, more contemporary sounding songs and instrumentals. Instead of tasting like inferior bonus material as usual, they practically from a whole decent folk album of their own. A very worthy release to all friends of acoustic folk-rock and especially of the aforementioned British bands….by Matti 

Lang'syne appear to be another one-album wonder as they released an interesting self titled folk album in 1976. Lang'syne sing in English and their brand of folk bares little resemblance to the earlier kraut-folk bands like Broselmaschine, Holderlin, and Witthuser and Westrupp. Throughout the album, there are small touches of a German and Eastern ethnic feel to the music, but for the most part their sound is a bit more Anglo influenced. Many of the lyrics and much of the music appear to have a dark, longing quality which results in the album sounding a bit mystical, and occasionally even Renaissance-style. The standout track is the instrumental 'Cynghanedd’. 'Cynghanedd’ begins like an Eastern-influenced ballad, or “Melodie der Natur” as described in the CD sleeve. This track utilizes natural sound of birds and insects and ends with an interesting interplay of 'dueling’-guitar chord sequences. Another track worth mentioning is 'Medina’ which has sporadic touches of Witthuser and Westrupp sprinkled throughout. As a bonus, the CD contains 1 bonus track…


Langsyne is a German trio which released one album in its whole career. Self titled, their first only effort was recorded in 1976. The music is a consistent mixture between folk rock and eastern influences with lot of acoustic guitar, sitar elements. The presence of the electric organ provides to the relative “pastoral” and “ethnic” mood a spacey felt. Advanced instrumental improvisations & interludes are combined with a couple of structured songs with English lyrics. This experimental, peaceful folk rock can sometimes resonates with early kraut folk bands as Witthuser & Westrupp, Hoelderlin, and Broselmaschine. This is in most part an acoustic, contemplative journey deliberately orientated to additional “world” instruments, musical arrangements and imaginary inspired by the eastern, India “raga"universe.
The German folk trio LANGSYNE from Wuppertal area never got support from record companies during their eight years of activity, but their self-budgeted sole album has become a valuable collector’s item and has seen numerous re-releases on vinyl and CD. I was happy to receive the Garden of Delights edition with 15 (!) bonus tracks and an exhausting article. Not that I’d ever care to read all details about the various re-releases. I’m surprisingly only the third reviewer.
I couldn’t invent a better name than the Scottish word for "long since” for this group, who doesn’t sound German at all. Indo-Prog / Raga-Rock is a bit misleading category, as this is primarily Medieval / Renaissance -inspired folk. GRYPHON is mentioned as the trio’s mutual idol, but the music comes closer to AMAZING BLONDEL, slightly seasoned with INCREDIBLE STRING BAND’s Indo-flavoured psychedelia. Ethnic instruments such as psalter, sitar or koto are used to a small degree. Multiple acoustic guitars form the spine, even flute, organ and percussion are often put aside.
Perhaps the main album’s long tracks are the clearest highlights in their melancholic and nearly mystic atmosphere. I prefer the earthly, unspectacular vocals and vocal harmonies over the oversweetness of Blondel. One guy occasionally resembles distantly Neil Young. Well, thankfully only a little.
Also the luxurious bonuses have a very good sound quality. Strangely the text doesn’t seem to tell anything about them. They’re much shorter in average: they take the same 39½-minute space as the seven album tracks. They are less atavistic, more contemporary sounding songs and instrumentals. Instead of tasting like inferior bonus material as usual, they practically from a whole decent folk album of their own. A very worthy release to all friends of acoustic folk-rock and especially of the aforementioned British bands


Line-up / Musicians 

- Edbert Froese / guitar, keyboards, vocals, sitar, psalter 
- Matthias Mertler / guitar, vocals, percussion, glockenspiel 
- Ulrich Nahle / flute, guitar, vocals, percussion 

Songs / Tracks Listing 

1. Medina (8:29) 
2. Morning (3:32) 
3. Changing (6:46) 
4. Cynghanedd (7:49) 
5. A Very Sarcastic Song (6:43) 
6. Carnivore (4:02) 
7. Mignon (1:51) 
8. Lady Mary (3:48*) 

Vespero “Azmari: Abyssanian Liventure” 2016 Russia Prog Space Rock new live album














Vespero  “Azmari: Abyssanian Liventure” 2016 Russia Prog Space Rock  new live album
full
«… The Azmari are singers and musicians wandering through the territory of Ethiopia. They carry the stories of different worlds, the sagas of mysterious seas, of lush whispering trees high in the skies, of the flowers blooming in the clouds, of flying islands, of the demoted Ethiopian Princes and their doubles … “ by chronicler Tekle - Ēzānā (1698) 

"Azmari: Abyssanian Liventure” is a new live album from the VESPERO`s “Liventure” series. Recorded live on 05.15.2015 at “The Union of Theatre Artists”, Astrakhan, “Azmari” shows the power of live performances of the septet. Contains the highlights from “Lique Mekwas” (R.A.I.G., 2016) , stuff from “Droga” (R.A.I.G., 2013) and “By the Waters of Tomorrow” (R.A.I.G., 2010), and one yet unpublished composition…….. 

Vespero have long been a band I’ve admired - their unique blend of ethnic-tinged space rock, psych and jazz has always struck a chord. ‘Azmari: Abyssanian Liventure’ is a new live album from the band`s “Liventure” series and was recorded live on 05.15.2015 at The Union of Theatre Artists, Astrakhan. Sometime back I reviewed their 'Lique Mekwas’ album (read the review here) which told the tale of a young man who was appointed to serve the Crown Prince of Abyssinia; the band continue with the Abyssinian theme, the Azmari being “… singers and musicians wandering through the territory of Ethiopia. They carry the stories of different worlds, the sagas of mysterious seas, of lush whispering trees high in the skies, of the flowers blooming in the clouds, of flying islands, of the demoted Ethiopian Princes and their doubles … ” (words by chronicler Tekle - Ēzānā (1698)). Taking material from their estimable back catalogue, as well as one unpublished song, 'Azmari..’ shows magnificently how much of a tight live unit the band are. ….Dayz of Purple and Orange..review….. 

The set opens with 'The Course Of Abagaz’ (from the aforementioned 'Lique Mekwas’ album). Starting gently with some nice spacey effects, touches of saxophone jazz and the ever present violin, it initially sets up a mood of calmness. As it progresses, the track becomes faster and more furious…the drums pounding out a tribal rhythm, leading a jam of monumental proportions. In its seventeen minute span it takes in some blistering space rock/psych guitar, some more jazzy sax and the violin adding a hint of indigenous folk. 'Maui’ is shorter but no less jam packed with goodness…led by the Romany sounding violin it grows into an exotic soundtrack to a spy movie. 'Tall Tree’, originally heard on 'By The Waters Of Tomorrow’, initially takes the tempo down a notch and becomes an almost Floydian meditation - soothing and tranquil, but it grows and evolves into a more hectic space rock jam…all crashing cymbals and wailing guitars. 'Abyssinian Ground’ (from 'Lique Mekwas’) sees the band channel their more jazzy progressive side..a more complex structure that highlights what great musicians these guys are. 'Frozen Lillies (Melt In Heaven)’ is more jazzy in structure, led by some groovy keyboards and is another that grows and grows…the drumming is out of this world! 'Marine’ is probably my favourite of this particular set….it nicely encompasses everything that is so good about the band…it has flashes of space rock, psychedelia, ethno-rock, jazz and even some funky elements. 'Shum-Shir’ has some haunting violin that belys the inherent groovy jazziness of the track, again driven by the drums, including a solo that sounds positively primal. The set is brought to a close by 'The Emperor’s Second Self’ which starts slowly with some spacey effects and lovely guitar work. The last half of the track is drone led, punctuated with violin and drums. 

'Azmari: Abyssinian Liventure’ is a live document of a band at the height of their powers. The intriguing and beguiling mix of styles and approaches that typify Vespero are translated exceptionally well into a live experience. The band show why they are one of the more creative 'psych’ bands out there and also go some way to highlight the number of good bands coming out of Russia at the moment. The album is download only and the $6 it costs from their bandcamp page here is a small price to pay for some wonderful, wonderful music. ……. 


Performed by: 
Ivan Fedotov – drums, percussion 
Alexander Timakov – percussion 
Arkady Fedotov – bass, noise object 
Alexander Kuzovlev – guitar 
Alexey Klabukov – keys, synths 
Vitaly Borodin – violin, noise object 
with 
Pavel Alekseev – tenor saxophone 

Tracklist 
1 The Course Of Abagaz 17:23 
2 Maui 05:57 
3 Tall Tree 08:34 
4 Abyssinian Ground 06:22 
5 Frozen Lilies (Melt In Heaven) 05:33 
6 Marine 07:12 
7 Shum-Shir 07:19 
8 The Emperor’s Second Self 08:55 

Ikarus “Ikarus” 1971 Germany Prog Kraut Rock









Ikarus  “Ikarus” 1971 Germany Prog Kraut Rock
full
Sole album from an early 70’s German (from Hamburg I think) sextet Ikarus, whose reputation as a pioneer of jazz-rock is a bit over-done. Let’s just say that they’re a typical prog group with symphonic and jazz influences, a bit ala Crimson. Lead by multi-instrumentalist Jochen Petersen (guitars & winds), the group develops a wide soundscape in just four tracks (the shortest being well over 6 mins) that goes as far as electronic twiddling and string arrangements. 

The 15-mins Eclipse starts out blues-like with a big guitar riff, but soon evolves into excellent phases of instrumental interplay, while Kohler’s voice and accent being rather convincing, but the lyrics (not necessarily his when reading the credits) are not quite so. The opening track is quite interesting with its multiple movements including the organ-filled Scyscraper over symphonic layers (incl mellotrons) and ending in electronic birdsongs and other bruitist stuff. The following Mesentery is the weakest track of the album and disappears in a kosmic and spacey interlude before returning via string layers. The flipside opens on TV or Radio jingle ?like riff, which is the start of the other epic, the 11-mins Raven where Petersen’s wind instruments soar, then suddenly (abruptly) morphing into a psych/space improv in its middle section before climbing back gradually via a an heard-elsewhere riff (Heep’s Gypsy Woman) and ending in footsteps. The closing track (sung by guitarist Schulz) Early Bell’s Voice is a strange trip through ether-modified soundscapes where the organ dominates until disappearing into a knell tolling its madness. Strange ending. 

This was to be their only album (now very rare and expensive as a vinyl), most of the members continuing their musical foray, but not necessarily in prog circles, with leader Petersen becoming a record producer later in the decade after passing through Cornucopia. While I wouldn’t call Ikarus essential to your collection, it is surely good enough to earn a spot in it and therefore deserving its fourth star….by Sean Trane ………. 

Ikarus released their eponymous album in 1971 on legendary ,exploiting-label ’ + plus +’ with label colleagues Wind ,,Seasons’ and ,Tomorrows Gift. This short- lived label was established by Jochen Petersen as the progressive division of Miller Records. Jochen Petersen fronted the Hamburg Teutonic progressive rock fusion band Ikarus(so Alan Freeman in ,,Crack In The Cosmic Egg’). 
Ikarus played a very varied sound with complex arrangements and melancholic melodies inspired by early King Crimson (so Dag Erik Asbjornsen) and Van der Graaf Generator (Alan Freeman) or reminding to German colleages Thirsty Moon and Os Mundi. The original album contains only 4 tracks (from 6 to 15 minutes) but plays over 40 minutes a rather uniquely spacious and dynamic sound, full of surprises. Their lyrics scrutinized the behaviour of mankind with a particular focus on our darker minds. 
CD contains 15 minutes bonus track ,,Sunwave’ by pre-Ikarus band Beatiques In Corporation from compilation ,,Pop and Blues Festival’, 1970. CD/ LP come with comprehensive band history by Ikarus bass player Wolfgang Kracht and a lot of unseen and rare photos from the band archive of drummer Bernd Schröder. Remastered from the master tape. A Krautrock Classic!………… 

Germany is even a bigger hotbed of prog rock than one might imagine. Sure everyone knows bands like Can, Ash Ra Tempel, Tangerine Dream, Amon Düül II, Faust, Neu, Kraftwerk, and similar bands (bands that might not always be considered prog, but are of interest to prog fans). But the countries was also full of more traditional symphonic prog acts like Eloy, Novalis, Grobschnitt, and the likes (all three were quite successful in their native country, by the way). Then there are tons of rare and obscure albums that simply disappeared through the cracks, and Ikarus is one of them. Ikarus is often described as one of the first progressive jazz-rock groups to come out of Germany, giving one the impression they might be that country’s answer to bands like Colosseum. But actually they’re much more in the Van der Graaf Generator vein, with vocals that bring to mind Peter Hammill (but without his dynamics), lots of sax, and Hammond organ. But the biggest problem lies in the lyrics. For example, the opening cut, “Eclipse” shows the band expressing environmental concerns, which I am very happy about, but with lyrics that go, “Save the nature/it’s a treasure”, it’s really obvious that these guys are in dire need of brushing up on their English before using their pen. But regardless, they still put out some great prog rock. “Eclipse”, despite the badly written lyrics, is a rather complex song, with some great sax work from Jochen Petersen and a great organ jam from Wulf Dieter Struntz. Real strings are also included as well (which are very well done and does not distract). I love the mood of this song, it’s totally early ‘70s. “Mesentery” is the next song, the lyrics are a little better. Again, the more great organ work, with almost a psych feel to it. The strings pop up again near the end. “The Raven” features lyrics based on the poem by the same name from Edgar Allen Poe. The music here seems more unstructured than the first two songs, so it’s more inaccessible, but after several listens, you’ll find out it’s another great piece. Some space rock tendencies pop up as well with the use of glissando guitar. The second half of the song is in a more mellow, atmospheric manner. The last one is “Early Bells Voice”, again, with some more space rock tendencies, especially the Hammond organ at the end. While finding this album on LP is a bit difficult to come by, a small German label called Second Battle had reissued this on CD. I just love finding obscure gems that are simply amazing, and this self-entitled 1971 album from Ikarus is that example. So, aside from the lyrics, I can very highly recommended this to all prog rock fans, especially VdGG fans…..by..Ben Miler …….. 

I karus, in his first Bruchpilot, was also named after a great rock-jazz fusion band from northern Germany. From the baptism it was raised by Jochen Petersen, a later BRAIN producer. IKARUS gave progressively designed Artrock to the best, enriched with well-proportioned Jazzeinlagen, which always pleasantly in the ear go and never degenerate. 
(Second Battle) 

Jochen Petersen is one or the other perhaps as a producer (eg the debut slices of Novalis, Tomorrow’s Gift and Blonker, two albums by Thirsty Moon, but also various titles of the pop band Goombay Dance Band) a term or as temporary Member of Randy Pie. At the beginning of the 70s, this one raised Ikarus, who published their only self-titled album in 1971 (which Petersen naturally also produced). 

A fairly complex, jazzy prog is presented by Hamburg to the listener here, who has been quite symphonic by the use of the organ and the occasional use of an anonymous string orchestra. The basis of the music is a driving bluesprog, which is still felt in Lorenz Köhler’s mostly powerful, very tidy lead vocals (with slightly argentatious, time-typical-world-improvable lyrics), the bluesy-hardrocked electric guitar reef and the rousing organ. On the basis of this, however, the music is subtly muted, the playful bass dances, there are virtuoso inserts on flute, sax, organ, piano and acoustic guitar. Occasional strings provide for - fortunately - uncomfortable sound and meditative-psychedelic sound-waving gives the whole from time to time also a krautig-spacigen painting. 

“Ikarus” is a convincing disc, which deserves more attention. The album offers four extravagant, interestingly arranged and varied numbers, which did not have to hide before Anglo-American productions with jubilant organ prog (eg Marsupilami, Colosseum, Web, Samurai, partial Van der Graaf generator) - on the contrary! …..Achim Breiling…… 


This is the unique album made by a rather obscure german little band. This album delivers very imaginative progressive/ jazz compositions with a touch of space rock feelings (“Mesentery”, Early bell’s voice). The opening track offers a captivating, powerful and epic jazz/ rock tune brightly excecuted with full of electric organ arrengements…'Mesentery’ is more a dreamy piece of space-rock with some cool jazzy accents…The atmosphere of this album is really orientated to 70s german rock with its totally free musical experience. A fascinating journey through Ikarus universe….. by philippe ……. 

In my never-ending pursuit of little known prog rock albums, here’s another one worth checking in to. This German band (not to be confused with any other band called IKARUS, like the one who released Touch the Sun) released this one and only album in 1971. Often regarded as one of the first progressive jazz-rock albums to come out of Germany, to me, the music is actually simply progressive, but does have lots of great sax work (from Jochen Petersen). Because of the presences of sax, as well as Hammond organ, the comparisons to VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR can’t be avoided. But unlike VdGG, the band also included strings on a couple of the cuts, and there’s some Krautrock tendencies included (the occasional spacy passages remind me a little of TANGERINE DREAM’s “Alpha Centauri”). 
But the one thing the band isn’t so great on are the lyrics. It sounds like they had problems grasping the English language, so the first song, expressing the band’s concerns for the environment ended up writing lyrics that literally go: “Save the nature/It’s a treasure”. That has got to be some of the worst lyrics I have ever heard, and it’s too bad it has to be a song protesting environmental destruction. The rest of the album features more or less lyrics that make little sense, except for one song using a poem from Edgar Allen Poe. Lyrics aside, this album demonstrates all that’s great of early '70s prog rock, and if you like that stuff, get yourself this album….by Proghead ….. 

The Real Gem of the 70s! 
You wanna hear the true sounds of the seventies? Get this album! Oh yes, this album is a perfect example of how the 70s music sounds like. Musically, you might refer this band to something like Colosseum, Mountain, Steve Marriott, Mahogany Rush, Eloy or even King Crimson. The opening track “Eclipse” (15:25) is so captivating and it brings you back to the glory days of the 70s! I’m sure if you were really there in the seventies, you would definitely say that this band is representative of that era. My memory brings me back even to Canadian band Moxy where the music is also similar to this one. The most interesting part of this track is its walking bass guitar sounds that circumvent the whole musical stream of this song. So stunning bass playing and it’s quite dominant! Of course there are lots of mellotron sounds augmented with acoustic guitar fills. The organ solo in the middle of the track at approx 7:40 is also very nice and it’s so 70s! I love this track wholeheartedly man! It’s so cool, so powerful! 

“Mesentery” brings the music into rough style in relatively fast tempo with percussion, bass, guitar, organ and vocal line. The intrusion of flute that follows after first vocal verse is truly brilliant. The flute style is like Ian Anderson but the music is like a classic rock music. It’s really a nice composition. Bass guitar still gives its inventive contribution to the song. 

“The Raven” opening seems like early King Crimson music. It’s relatively complex opening with some jazzy touch and excellent rhythm section, using soprano sax as solo. After immediate break at approx minute 2:30 the music continues into avant-garde exploration with powerful flute work. It’s really a treat for those who love classic rock with flute sounds. When the vocal enters the music turns into a bit of blues influenced style with excellent organ work. 

The concluding track “Early Bell’s Voice” is a mellow track with soaring organ work and still a dynamic bass guitar work. Piano sound enriches the song, combined with stunning guitar and brass section. Hen vocal enters the music in the middle of the track, it reminds me to the music of Colosseum. 

Overall, this is a real gem of the seventies that most of you like the classic rock / prog music would love it very much. Keep on proggin’ ..!…by Gatot ……. 

IKARUS were an early 6 piece Krautrock band who sang in English and featured sax, flute, clarinet, organ, piano and some strings besides the usual instruments. They just released this one album back in 1971, and it’s interesting reading the lyrics to see how much they cared about the enviroment back then. 
“Eclipse” hits the ground running as vocals come in. It settles after 1 ½ minutes and the sax starts to lead the way as organ, bass and drums continue. Some solo acoustic guitar 3 minutes in. It’s building. Vocals return as it settles once again. It kicks back in after 4 ½ minutes. Themes are repeated. What a fantastic song ! Nice organ / bass section 8 minutes in. Strings after 9 ½ minutes. Check out the emotion in the vocals 13 minutes in. It ends with the sounds of nature that blend into “Mesentery”. It kicks into gear but the vocals are laid back here. The vocal melodies that come and go give it a sixties feel. Nice. Flute comes in. It turns spacey 4 ½ minutes in as drums continue. Strings join in as well. 

“The Raven (Including Theme For James Marshall)” is led by organ and sax early, drums are prominant 1 ½ minutes in. The organ and sax are back. A dead calm 2 ½ minutes in then it turns into a haunting mood. Flute comes in. Vocals before 4 minutes. It’s raining after 7 minutes. A brighter mood follows. Cool. Piano 10 minutes in with strings to follow. “Early Bell’s Voice” opens with piano as organ, drums and bass follow. The tempo picks up. The sax leads the way when it settles after 2 ½ minutes. Psychedelic vocals join in. Normal vocals 5 minutes in as bass, drums and organ support. It turns dissonant late to end it. 

A solid 4 stars….. by Mellotron Storm …. 

Line-up / Musicians 
- Lorenz Köhler / lead vocals 
- Wolfgang Kracht / bass, back vocals 
- Jochen Petersen / acoustic & electric guitars, alto & tenor saxes, flute, clarinet, back vocals 
- Bernd Schroder / drums, percussion 
- Manfred Schulz / guitar, lead vocals (4), back vocals 
- Wulf-Dieter Struntz / organ, piano 


Tracklist 
A1 Eclipse Divided In Scyscrapers And Sooner Or Later 15:09 
A2 Mesentery 6:34 
B1 The Raven Including “Theme For James Marshall” 11:44 
B2 Early Bell’s Voice 7:46 

Oho “Okinawa” 1974 US Private Psych Acid Avant garde








Oho  “Okinawa” 1974 US Private Psych Acid Avant garde
full
OHO (from the initial three members’ initials: O'Connor/Heck/O'Sullivan) coalesced around 1973, releasing the rare-as-rocking-horse-shit Okinawa independently a year later, losing a fair bit of money in the process. It’s more than a little off-the-wall, with a vein of dark humour running through most of the lyrics (sample: “They buried her mother today”); it’s probably a rather overworked comparison, but I detect some distinctly Zappa-esque nuttiness, with fewer knob gags. OK, none. I’d swear blind that Akron’s finest, Devo, heard the middle section of The Continuing Story Of Cragwheel The Corpse somewhere down the line, and there’s any number of other bits here that remind one of later acts, most of whom can’t possibly have heard OHO. Mark O'Connor plays Mellotron, with The Salient Sickle Sucker managing some rather un-‘Tronlike strings, although the choirs give the game away. The other highlighted tracks feature the string sound again (string section?), with a more upfront part in Gotta Write A Poem, though it’s certainly not one of the album’s chief components. A 1995 reissue of the album, on five 10" EPs (!), adds another 15 tracks, a few of which turn up on Vitamin OHO (italicised in tracklisting above). Minor extra 'Tron, with faint choir and strings on Hyphenate Iceless, choir on Lemon Flowers and strings on Sorry. 

Many years and many lineup changes down the line, not to mention an eponymous 1989 album, Vitamin OHO was released on Germany’s Little Wing of Refugees label, and seems to be the first of several attempts to collate the band’s somewhat disparate history. Compared to Okinawa, it contains fairly straightforward material, although that has to be taken in the context of OHO, so we’re not exactly talking top 30 stuff here. Actually, several of these tracks are exemplars of interesting song-based progressive (notably the fabulous Tinker’s Damn), making it all the odder that the band are so little known in progressive circles. It’s actually quite difficult to work out what’s going on here, Mellotronically speaking; the band had clearly bought some form of string synth which wasn’t a Solina, which I believe can be heard on Hyphenate Ice-less, but are those Mellotron choirs on Lemon Flowers? And strings on No Fewer Days and Fwombat? Definitely brass on Lois Jane, and plenty of strings on Tinker’s Damn, a song written after seeing Genesis in 1974 as mentioned on the band’s site - clock the opening lyric: “Tales and nursery crymes [sic], fill my head this hour…”. Cheeky buggers. Incidentally, I can’t hear Nocturnal Recurrence on my copy, although assuming it’s the same version as on Recollections below, it seems to have some slight Mellotronic input. 

Some years on again, 1998’s Ecce OHO collects more odds'n'sods together, including several live tracks that don’t add that much to the band’s legend, to be honest. Not bad, just not that amazing, either. A couple of the studio tracks are especially worth hearing, but overall, this is a rather lesser collection than its predecessor. On the 'Tron front, I think that’s strings on The Plague, and it definitely is on Per Ipsum and Here Come(s) The Oysters, and probably on Maiden Voyage, with an unexpected few seconds of choir on the live version of Hogshead, meaning they used it on stage, if only occasionally. 

2002’s Recollections (1974-1976) is something of a grab-bag of previously released and unavailable material, thrown together in a random fashion. Several track titles will be familiar to you from the above albums (although at least one, Hyphenate Ice-less, is a different version), while Lez Lee was not only the b-side of 1975 single Seldom Bought (on Vitamin OHO above), but would also have been on an unreleased album from 1976, Dream of the Ridiculous Band (although I’ve no idea if it’s the same version), along with Parade/Charade, Albumblatt, Ms Mouse, Snow Lady Pt II and The Hand Over Isaac’s Head, which only leaves a few unreleased album selections still unavailable. The Three is a medley of Seldom Bought, Lois Jane and Hogshead, as performed live, and Naming OHO is a studio mess-about. Apart from the previously-available tracks, there’s a little Mellotron on Parade/Charade, with some upfront strings on Lez Lee, strings on Ms Mouse and choir on The Hand Over Isaac’s Head. Actually, you couldn’t get much more of a full-on OHO 'Tron album if you tried, could you? So; heavily recommended for both music and Mellotron. 

Well; took me a little while, but I got through 'em! Okinawa’s good, but hard work, Vitamin OHO and …Ridiculous Band are more straightforward (sort of), Ecce OHO is definitely odds'n'sods, and Recollections is possibly your best starting point. More Mellotron than expected across the board, although an awful lot of it doesn’t actually sound that Mellotronic. Maybe it isn’t? I’m confused. 

As a footnote, OHO’s Jay Grabowski very kindly sent me their entire works on CD, including the unreleased Crucifixion Lust: 4-Track Demos and Dream of the Ridiculous Band, reviewed below. 

Here’s a strange hybrid video of The Plague, with a recent performance intercut with the only known contemporary OHO footage, from 1975. That’s Jay Graboski pushing their Mellotron out of the hall in the closing seconds, heard briefly during the track…… 

A group of Baltimore (the name of the initials of the participants O'Connor / Heck / O'Sullivan), is based, was about 73, from the wreckage of a local band by the name of Little Hans band, in 1974 on the means they make an album Okinawa, with an experimental prog -rokom under the obvious influence of Frank Zappa, as well as the British first-tier, such as King Crimson and Yes. The lyrics of the album is full of black humor. 
After the release of their second album (Vitamin Oho) group ceases to exist. 
Jay Graboski and Mark O'Connor took up the new wave…………. 

“Cool artsy weirdness from a Baltimore band who actually are still around (and have several further albums.) They influenced a number of strange new wave bands and even appeared on the Bomp 'Waves 2’ compilation (one of the finest compilation LPs ever). Their first and most sought-after album is full of proggy experimentation, but the songs are short and often goofy. It’s much more complex and creative than, say, Northern Front, and the lyrics reach some really far out (and often obscene) places. Zappa was probably an influence, but this is too unique and distinctive to make comparisons. Some of the songs are downright catchy, some completely impenetrable. Originally it was intended to be a 2-LP set, and the rest of the original recordings have since been reissued (the coolest reissue is a set of four 10-inch records in a tin box). Not everything here works, but the songs are short enough for the failures to be harmless, and enough of it is wonderful so that if you’re interested in music of this type, it’s the first album I’d recommend. This breaks some of the same ground as the Residents, and may even predate them, which makes them pioneers of just plain bizarre rock and roll. There was also a 1980 LP released as by Dark Side, and a 1984 LP on Clean Cuts titled 'Rocktronics’. 'Vitamin Oho’ from 1991 (Little Wing, Germany) contains unreleased 1974-75 tracks.”….Acid Archives ……. 

Packed with mucho and fast moving music which is often crazed recitation and even screaming words that may or may not make one bit of sense to the listener. A 1970’s Baltimore MA prog band, this is a difficult listen at times, but you must give it more than one listen thru to really get the best from it. It’s rare, but there are even some really beautiful mellotron prog rock parts, although followed by the talking and the more zany concoction of jazz/rock/pop/classical in avant garde format. 

It’s a good bet that lovers of early to mid period Gong ( nod to Dave Allen ) will dig this. Some of it reminds me of the more comical early British rock recordings and pieces of Frank Zappa, Supersister, Samla Mammas Manna (in their zany outrageous mode ) and some direct Beatles acknowledgment. With 30 songs, you get quite the kitchen sink of music styles but all in a very eccentric format. Also beware it sometimes sounds like music you and some of your friends might do one night after heavy drinking (or drugs, if you prefer). Both might be applicable. 

Previous opinions agree that much turmoil existed in the band, so much so that they had a chance to open for one of the finest USA prog music bands in America, THE MUFFINS, but tempers or stubbornness killed the chance. Now that is a lesson in stupidity for all bands to take notice of. 

What stands out is the fact that OHO have an abundance of talent and most of the musicianship is really good to excellent. It’s only the rushed recording and production that hurt them the most on this release. And for anyone who only owns their “Bricolage” or “Up” CD and not this one yet, then double beware, as both of those have female vocals and is melodic with exact song structure in the Blackmore’s Night, Maggie Reilly, Pentangle, and a mix of more modern aggressive prog folk female fronted groups and early haunting folk bands. 

'Okinawa’ is ambitious, and it’s crazy as hell most of the time, but RIO fans might just like this a good deal. If all this sounds a bit uneven, it is. You have to be in a receptive frame of mind to sit thru this almost 74 minutes of nonstop semi assault on your good nature. You might be like me and scratch your head when those moments of pure classic progressive rock ala VDGG come along. The rest of the time it’s almost like Peter Hammill gone wild with some unknown bunch of backing musicians. The vocals sometimes singing, sometimes screaming, ranting, and talking, most remind me of Hammill in some imaginative varied states of mind. 

The conclusion of 'Okinawa’ is a bit like weeding a garden so you have all the beautiful flowers left to adore. The last song really makes you wish the whole thing sounded like that,. But those abrasive and indulgent babblings, may be your weeds. That said, I felt exhausted after listening to the whole thing twice and then a 3rd time 2 days later. But I always keep my rule of a fair review, and listen to each disc at least 3 times before I commit the review publicly. Some discs get better and unveil their layers, and some may just sit at the same place after the 3rd listen. One thing for sure, this CD is an adventure and I didn’t hate it. I actually really liked it for that mood where I just need something that gets nutty and beautiful all in one sitting. I loved some of it where it actually gets beautiful and big like those nice progressive rock songs we lust for.. Now excuse me while I weed the garden. 
by Lee Henderson on September 16th, 2010………… 

Jeffrey Graboski - drums 
Steven Heck - bass; vocals 
Mark O'Connor - keyboards; vocals 
Joe O'Sullivan - guitars; vocals 
Jay Graboski - guitars; vocals 
With: 
Boris McFinnie - horns 
Gene - saxophone 
Nuna - bass 
Larry - percussion 
Greg Coulson - vocals 
&: 
Cedarcroft Girls Chorus - backing vocals 

Tracklist 
A1 Duva (OHO) 3:55 
A2 The Salient Sickle Sucker 5:23 
A3 Brown Algae Is Attractive 2:20 
A4 Manic Detective 2:08 
A5 Horse Remorse 3:33 
A6 Ain’t Life Dumb 2:27 
A7 Hairy Bag 1:01 
B1 The Continuing Story Of Cragwheel The Corpse 6:20 
B2 Last Dance 1:01 
B3 Ivy Dog 1:52 
B4 A Frog For You 2:33 
B5 The Unfortunate Frankfurter Vendor 1:10 
B6 Pale Hippo 1:50 
B7 Gotta Write A Poem 1:19 
B8 The Plague 4:11 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

volume

volume

Fuzz

Fuzz

Analogue

Analogue

Cassette Deck

Cassette Deck

Akai

Akai

vinyl

vinyl

Music

Music

sound

sound

Hi`s Master`s Voice

Hi`s Master`s Voice

Vinyl

Vinyl

music forever

music forever

“A Revolutionary New Triumph in Tape” 1958

“A Revolutionary New Triumph in Tape” 1958

vinyl

vinyl