sabato 5 ottobre 2013

Absolute Elsewhere - In Search of Ancient Gods 1976

Actually this record is now available on the japanese Tachika Record label with a miniLp sleeve but as with most the sound is slightly more than average and the copy I own has a weird ending on one track (not very natural) - it might have been taken off an vinyl. It is not the first time I have a problem with Tachika (see my review on Swiss group Circus 's debut) and I am not sure the artist are getting royalties if you get my drift.
As for the music , Dick Heath will regret selling his vinyl twice because of the price but also now , he would probably enjoy the music on it some twenty years later. Of course , the presence of Bill Bruford piqued my curiosity into buying this without hearing it first (that does happen once in a while) and I shall not regret it. The music as you read the title can only be instrumental and experimental fusion (jazz-rock), but remains accessible to most progheads (IMHO) , the mainman here being Paul Fishman (note that there are no second bassist but a guitar player) providing for much of the ambiances (not always successfully - see the first two short tracks on side 2 - Vinyl version) but once the group gets in stride , the music grooves quite well creating a much enjoyable fusion between Mahavishnu and Nebelnest.
This was still of of those 70's long-forgotten-hidden gems waiting for me to discover it and I must say that even with my early remark in this rexiew, I am quite Happy to have it now.
This one-time project is best known for featuring Bill Bruford on drums. But the main man behind Absolute Elsewhere was keyboardist and flutist Paul Fishman, who wanted to make a concept-album inspired by the books and theories of Eric von Daniken about aliens visiting earth in ancient times. The record is wrapped up in a lavish die-cut cover featuring a glossy booklet with lots of comments from von Daniken himself, and also a separate sheet with many photos from the places that he think "proves" his theories. No matter what you think about von Daniken and his writings, they sure do make a good basis for a sci-fi concept. The music on "In Search of Ancient Gods" varies from symphonic and spacey multi-part suites to short electronic exercises. The opener "Earthbound" is quite representative. Not overtly complicated or demanding, but very atmospheric and pleasant to just drift along to. It's based in a melodic theme played on synths, while a slightly more upbeat mid-passage also allow guitarist Philip Saatchi to deliver some solos. "Moon City" is the first and best of three short and pure electronic pieces on the album. The mood is, as you naturally could expect, dreamy and spacey, fitting the concept quite well. The two remaining of these pieces are "The Gold of the Gods" that sounds like Tomita in one of his more cheesy moments, while "Toktela" display a slight classical reference. But the best thing the record has to offer is undoubtedly "Miracles of the Gods" where many passages sounds like a spacey version of the early King Crimson sound. Even Bruford's drumming reminds a lot of what Mike Giles did on "In the Wake of Poseidon". It also features quieter parts where Fishman plays some classical-influenced piano and also adds a few drops of Mellotron-flute. "Chariots of the Gods" (which also was the name of von Daniken's first and still most famous book) has a funky mid-tempo rhythm underneath Fishman's cosmic flow of keyboards. The closer "Return to the Stars" is ten minutes of pure electronic and experimental spacey sounds that could have been taken from an early Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze album. And rarely has the 4-channel quadrophonic sound suited an album better than here, giving you a feeling of being engulfed and surrounded by deep space. "In Search of Ancient Gods" is a minor classic of spacey instrumental symphonic progressive rock that will take you on a cosmic journey beyond your physical senses.

01. Earthbound 9:10
- a. Earthbound
- b. Future Past
02. Moon City 4:50
03. Miracles Of The Gods 11:45
- a. Miracles Of The Gods
- b. El Endrillado
- c. The Legend Of Santa Cruz
- d. Pyramids Of Teotihuacan
- e. Temple Of The Inscriptions
04. The Gold Of The Gods 2:35
05. Toktela 1:35
06. Chariots Of The Gods 10:35
07. Return To The Stars 9:55

Absolute Elsewhere:
Paul Fishman - synthesisers, sequencers, flute, piano, Mellotron
William (Bill) Bruford - percussion
Phillip Saatchi - bass guitar
Jon Astrop - bass guitar
Kim Mackrell -cello

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