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15 Jan 2017

Akritas (Ακρίτας) “Akritas” 1973 ultra rare Greek Prog,Psych Acid Rock, Polydor Records

Akritas (Ακρίτας) “Akritas” 1973 ultra rare Greek Prog,Psych Acid Rock,Experimental Polydor Records
Stavros Logarides had recorded two albums with Poll while Tasoulis had previously played in Despina Glezou’s backing group. Nothing of their past can be compared to Akritas. Their album is among the top 3 from Greece, a tremendous concoction of complex progressive rock, forming a concept album of the same grandeur as Aphrodite’s Child’s 666 (indeed or De De Lind’s Io Non So Da Dove Vengo). This is music of great ambition with myriads of changes in rhythms and textures much like the best works of Gentle Giant, Frank Zappa and Emerson, Lake & Palmer….. 

Perhaps the most ambitious Greek progressive album. Akritas formed in late 1972 by ex-Poll, Stavros Logarides and ex-Bourboulia, Aris Tasoulis. This 1973 concept release is full of complex multi-instrumental rhythmic patterns and musical textures. Psychospace guitars, baroque organs, jazz-piano tunes, thunderous drumming, swirling sound-effects and soaring vocals. Mixing the finest moments of Spring, Gracious, Arcadium, Dr.Z, ELP, Ossana, Canterbury music scene, Amon Duul II, Frank Zappa, greek traditional music with their own unique and uncomparable stigma! The greek lyrics to Akritas are written by Costas Ferris, responsible for Aphrodite’s Child masterwork, “666”. This is its’ first vinyl reissue since 1973. LP + 7", 180gr German pressing, heavy gtf laminated cover, 2 pages insert (30x50) with story, lyrics, photos, in English……. 

A friend of mine from Greece, big fan of prog, told me that “Akritas” is the best progressive album ever made in his country. After listening to some prog and prog-related Greek bands like PLJ BAND, APOCALYPSIS, PELOMA BOKIOU, PANOS DRACOS, SOCRATES and obvious APHRODITE’S CHILD I completely share his opinion. 
AKRITAS created a unique piece of art, Greek in nature (vocals in Greek, though there are not many vocal parts, Mediterranian tunes throughout the album) and similar to Italian symphonic prog in approach, when lots of musical ideas change each other in a short period of time, making the music always unpredictable. The mood of the whole album slightly reminds me of BALLETTO DI BRONZO’s “Ys” (though I don’t think AKRITAS were familiar with “Ys” back then in 1973), maybe less dark. There are also hints of jazz and some ELP influences. Lots of contrasts, powerful organ chords, propulsive and at times aggresive drums, testful use of synthesizers, interesting guitar passages are the components of this short record. My only complaint is the final part of the album, it seems to me a little crumpled, while I expected some impressive coda. 

A treasure from Greece, by right deserving better recognition. After some hesitations (4 stars + my love to Greece), 5 stars….by….by NotAProghead ……. 

This is without a doubt one of the best recordings to come out of Greece. Released in 1973 this album seems to have far more in common with some of those Italian greats from the same time period than anyone else.This is different but very interesting. Just over 33 minutes in length this album has a psychedelic flavour at times but there’s lots of complexity as well. AKRITAS were a trio of drums, bass and keyboards although the bass player also plays acoustic guitar. A guest lead guitarist was added for this album and it’s so cool to hear the two guitarists playing together.The album cover is stunning ! By the way the man who wrote the lyrics here also did them for APHRODITES CHILD’s “666” record. 
“Invader” opens with drums and synths that pulsate then the guitar comes in lighting it up after a minute. A calm with vocals and piano follows then it kicks back in to end it. Great track. “Genesis” opens with a pastoral sound as a beat with reserved vocals join in.This changes before a minute as the vocalist cries out.This is a moving section full of passion. “The Family” reminds me of POPOL VUH the way the lead guitarist plays while the acoustic guitar is strummed. Drums arrive around 1 ½ minutes. “Memory” is an organ only tune that gets quite powerful at times. “Return” opens with organ as the drums join in and it builds. Piano a minute in replaces the organ. Guitar follows. 

“Love” opens with light keys and drums. Mellow stuff. Bass follows then it kicks in 1 ½ minutes in. Piano over top.The tempo picks up before 3 minutes.Spacey synths late. “Ego” is mainly piano melodies and reserved vocals. “Song” has these gorgeous sounding piano melodies then the drums join in. Great sound. Guitar before 2 minutes. So good. “The Festival” is a piano and drum led track. “The Miracle” is laid back with acoustic guitar,piano and reserved vocals. I like it. “The Dream” opens with vocals that remind me of Italian Prog. Strummed guitar with the lead guitar over top again in that POPOL VUH style. Things get intense late. “Look Both Horse & Green” features piano throughout with other sounds. “Conquest & Z Force” opens with guitar then synths join in followed by reserved vocals. A psychedelic track if i’ve ever heard one. 

An adventerous album from a band who didn’t believe there were any boundries when it came to music. Man the early seventies must have been such an exciting time for both the musician and the music fan… Mellotron Storm ….. 

Well my knowledge about greek music in general is very limited, the obvious artists i knew before discovering PA were Vangelis and Aphrodite`s Child, since then i have been lucky to discover a few other bands, my knowledge is still being limited, but at least i can give my opinion about 2 or 3 more bands, this time Akritas caught my attention. 

I had a little break from writing reviews, actually more than a month which is a lot for me, this album was in my list of albums to review, now i feel that i could share my opinion with you. 

Again back in 1973 when progressive rock movement was at its best and being more and more recognized 8and practised) all over the world, a 3-member band released their eponimus album, sadly as thousands of bands, they dissappeared and never released a second effort, i would have loved to see if they could reach their boiling point. 

This album is pretty short and consist in 13 songs with an average of 2.5 minutes per song, giving us only 33 minutes of very nice music, dont say that it is bad due to their short and not complex songs, i know several 30 minute albums that i personally call masterpieces, this isnt one of them, but anyway it is good. Also, let me tell you that the beginning is not what their music realy is, i mean, the first song starts with a bombastic sound a la ELP, but the direction of the album as a whole is not that, so dont make your choices before listening to all the album. Despite having very short songs, some of them are great and enyojable, with a nice variety of arrangements, and a very nice keys/organ playing, actually none of the members could be named as outstanding or virtuosos, but the music created together is what make this album very nice, the music could be from symph/bombastic, through jazzy and acid, to folkish and very calm,even some spacey notes here and there, so we can listen to different passages here, and if you are strict, probably you would say that the album lacks of an own and clearly defined style. 

I am not familiar with the language here, i think it is Greek and sounds weird but i love bands singing in their own language, also an extra point (at least for me) is that the voclas sound a bit Italian style oriented. 

This time i wont name or review song by song, since they are very short and none of them are outstanding to be mentioned and remarked. So for this record i think a grade of 3 stars could be accurate, because is good but definitely non-essential. Recommendable for fans of obscure bands nad for those who like to discover bands from other countries… memowakeman ………… 

Next to Aphrodite’s Child, this is the only 70’s progressive rock band from Greek that I’m aware of. Musically it seems that the band took influences from a lot of different bands. Some parts sounds a little like ELP, while other seems to be influenced by such different artists as Amon Düül II, Rick Wakeman and maybe some Osanna. The tracks varies from quite improvisated to more structured and theme-based. Lots of keyboards in here. A very varied album with several good parts, but personally I don’t think it’s good enough to be called a classic. But its sure a interesting album anyway. ……. 
Το συγκρότημα Ακρίτας δημιουργήθηκε από τον Σταύρο Λογαρίδη το 1972. 
Μόλις σε ηλικία 19 ετών (γεν. 21 Σεπτεμβρίου 1953 στην Κωνσταντινούπολη), είχε γνωρίσει ήδη την επιτυχία POLL (Κώστας Τουρνάς, Robert Williams, Σταύρος Λογαρίδης και Κώστας Παπαϊωάννου). 

Οι Ακρίτας έπαιζαν progressive rock. 
Κυκλοφόρησαν έναν μοναδικό δίσκο το 1973 και μετά διαλύθηκαν. 
Τα υπόλοιπα μέλη του γκρουπ ήταν ο Γιώργος Τσουπάκης, ο Αρης Τασούληςκαι ο Δήμος Παπαχρήστου. 

Το ομώνυμο άλμπουμ θεωρείται ένα από τα πιο προοδευτικά άλμπουμ όλων των εποχών στον κόσμο. Οι ηχητικές του δομές ισορροπούν ανάμεσα στη δυτική κουλτούρα και στην Ελληνική παράδοση. 

Οι Ακρίτας συνεργάστηκαν live με τα Μπουρμπούλια και τον Βαγγέλη Παπαθανασίου. 
Διαλύθηκαν λίγα χρόνια αργότερα…………. 

Stavros Logarides - bass, vocals, acoustic guitar 
Aris Tasoulis - organ, piano, VCS 3 
Giorgos Tsoupakis - drums 


Dimis Papachristou - guitars 
John Papadopoulos - organ 

Drums – Γιώργος Τσουπάκης 
Electric Guitar [Featuring] – Δήμος Παπαχρήστου* 
Engineer – Γιώργος Κωνσταντόπουλος 
Lyrics By, Libretto By – Κώστας Φέρρης* 
Music By – Άρης Τασούλης, Σταύρος Λογαρίδης 
Orchestrated By – Ακρίτας 
Photography By [Aura] – Γιώργος Πανουσόπουλος 
Photography By [Other Photos] – Κώστας Παπακωνσταντίνου 
Piano, Organ, Synthesizer [Vcs 3] – Άρης Τασούλης 
Producer – Κώστας Φασόλας 
Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar – Σταύρος Λογαρίδης 

A1 Εισβολείς 
A2 Γέννηση 
A3 Τα Παιδιά 
A4 Μνήμη 
A5 Επιστροφή 
A6 Αγάπη 
A7 Ego 
A8 Τραγούδι 
B1 Το Πανηγύρι 
B2 Το Θαύμα 
B3 Το Όνειρο 
B4 Και Ιδού Ίππος Χλωρός 
B5 Κατάκτηση 
B6 Ζέτα Ζωρζέτα 
Engineer – Γιάννης Σμυρναίος 
Lyrics By – Σταύρος Λογαρίδης 

01. Εισβολεις [Invader] (1:03) 
02. Γεννηση [Genesis] (0:59) 
03. Τα Παιδια [The Family] (2:14) 
04. Μνημη [Memory] (3:38) 
05. Επιστροφη [Return] (1:30) 
06. Αγαπη [Love] (2:49) 
07. Ego (4:25) 
08. Τραγουδι [Song] (0:58) 
09. Το Πανηγυρι [The Festival] (3:50) 
10. Το Ονειρο [The Miracle] (2:35) 
11. Το Θαυμα [The Dream] (4:56) 
12. Και Ιδου Ιππος Χλωρος [Look Both Horse and Green] (1:01) 
13. Κατακτηση & Ζετα Ζωρζετα [Conquest & Z Force] (3:05)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..