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6 Apr 2017

Rousseau “Flower In Asphalt” ‘1980 Germany Symphonic Prog







Rousseau “Flower In Asphalt” ‘1980 Germany Symphonic Prog
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“If there is only one who’s dreaming, it will stay a dream forever. All of us dreaming will be the beginning of reality.” [Brazilian folk song] 
That quote is displayed first in the CD booklet and it nicely sums up the positive vibes emitted from this fantastic album by Rousseau. This album is often described as a lesser version of Camel and in my opinion it is just as good as Camel. While it came after the best Camel work it is one of the most beautiful Symphonic albums you will ever hear. Lush keyboards, delicate acoustic guitar, soaring passionate electric leads, solid bass and drum work. Oh, and the flutes. If you’re a flute junkie you’ll be quite pleased. And this is an all-instrumental work so we are blissfully free of vocals which gives the players complete control of the space. “Skylight” opens in rather dramatic fashion before the flute enters announcing that hope lives! The other standout tracks for me are “Le Grand Reveur” with its majestic themes, and the long closer “Dancing Leaves.” But the whole album is one gorgeous symph prog treat to the senses. While some prefer their second album which introduced vocals (and not good vocals) it is the passion of their debut which makes it their best work. You can tell these guys were driven by a love of music, idealism and if not naivety then at least a lack of music business cynicism. 

Flower in Asphalt is one of those perfect 70s rock moments where it all comes together thanks to the people and the time/place that allowed the approach. This German band greatly admired the work of 18th century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and named their group after him. Rousseau wrote about subjects like man’s relation to nature and society, as well as about the “social contract.” The conceptual beauty of the material is furthered by the feelings evoked from the album artwork. This passage from the liner notes sums up quite well the music within: “the celebration of a very harmonious music but also refined, impressionist, suggestive; a music inducing bucolic or vaguely nostalgic pictures, quiet atmospheres, melancholic climates and evoking romanticism.” 

If you love Camel, Willowglass, Celeste, Locanda Della Fate, or Novalis you simply need to hear Rousseau. This is another title currently out of print but hopefully that will be remedied someday. Until then it’s worth hunting for a used copy……by Finnforest ……………..
If, like me, you are a bit orphan of Camel’s wonderful instrumental songs featuring lush keyboards, sweet and emotional guitar parts and some melodic flute interludes; then yes : Rousseau is for you. 
This all-instrumental album is a collection of extremely symphonic songs. Relatively short (only one song over eight minutes) but that’s OK. The one flows so nicely into the other one that the whole “Flower In Asphalt” journey is very pleasant. Peaceful and tranquil but not boring. OK, “Glockenrock” and its percussion solo is probably the weakest link. 

If you like “The Snow Goose”, there is no reason for you to wait and discover this abum. I would even say that this a better one (don’t lay into my tooth and nail for this; I really feel so). Rousseau is able to keep the listener’s attention for the whole of this (short) album. At times, I felt a bit disappointed with “Snow” (for the details about it, you can read my specific review, if you feel like). Nothing as such here. 

This must be one of the most symphonic album I have ever heard. Of course, you’ll need to be in the mood. To accept almost forty minutes of the utter tranquility is maybe a difficult exercise but it is really rewarding in this case. Rousseau is of course not very well- known. But so are the majority of the bands featured on this site. So, do an effort, please ! Grab this album and have a listen. 

At least, this is true prog (as it ought to be listed on PA) and this album is a gem that is worth investigating. It is typically the album that needs to be listened to as a whole although “Entrée” is my fave. I guess due to the gorgeous flute (yes I lke this instrument an awful lot). “Dancing Leaves” is the most (and only) Genesis-oriented song (“Watcher”. Would you believe ?). A highlight as well. 

Four stars………………by ZowieZiggy ………………..
All instrumental debut from this German band who started at a time when Prog had sunk to it’s lowest depths. The production here is typical of the time, in that the mix is very negative, giving a horrible sheen to the proceedings, all but eliminating dynamics. It is music that I have heard a hundred times before, from a hundred different bands of the 80s, all a little gutless. It’s not that it’s played badly, on the contrary, some of it is done very well and the flautist is particularly good but the nasty synths age it terribly. As others have mentioned, the flute work and the very melodic guitar style does tip a hat firmly at Camel but it’s not plagiarised - just similar. Good, but nothing special. At least it’s not dull as ditch-water, like a lot of music of the period……..by  Crazyworldof ………

Credits 
Bass [Fender-, - Pedals], Grand Piano [Yamaha] – Georg Huthmacher 
Design [Cover: Art & Layout] – Herbert G. Ruppik* 
Drums, Percussion – Ali Pfeffer 
Flute, Percussion, Guitar – Christoph Huster 
Guitar – Jörg Schwarz 
Keyboards, Grand Piano [Yamaha], Mellotron, Synthesizer [Roland], Organ [Hammond], Strings [String Ensemble] – Rainer Hofmann

Tracklist 
A1 Skylight 4:20 
A2 Glockenrock 4:35 
A3 Flower In Asphalt 4:23 
A4 Le Grande Rêveur 5:07 
B1 Entrée 5:15 
B2 Fool’s Fantasy 4:11 
B3 Dancing Leaves 8:38 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..