sabato 1 agosto 2015

Aera - Humanum Est & Hand und Fuss 1974 - 1976

 
Biography : AERA is a band from Germany who performs progressive fusion in the style of NUCLEUS, EMBRYO and DZYAN. Spacey guitar passages are the strongest characteristic in their music, as well as good flute and saxophone passages. They have 6 albums, of which "Humanum Est" is considered their best effort. Bruno Aun

Aera come from the great tradition of Bavarian jazz-rock oriented progressive bands like Embryo, Missus Beastly, Munju, Moira, etc., with a style unique to that area, originating as a highly inventive fusion band, with strong percussion, driving rhythms and lots of space for solos from guitar, sax and flute. Whilst lead by Muck Groh they recorded two albums: HUMANUM EST which presented a most proficient instrumental band with a strong identity, with multi-tracked guitar riffing and near on ever-present wind solos, and then HAND UND FUSS, which was a touch more varied, due to the addition of violin and with Lucky Schmidt dealing more forceful rhythms in a jazzier concoction... - "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg"

Aera from Munich belonged to a group of bands with tight connections to Embryo (others were Missus Beastly, Munju, Real Ax Band, Snowball and some more). Several members of these band frequently exchanged between each others bands during their existence. Not surprisingly they all played a similar and typical musical style, a kind of German fusion/jazz rock with strong sax and flute. Such kind of music is thus dominant on all Aera LPs as they did not change too much throughout the years. If one likes Embryo in their middle seventies period (with Mal Waldron and Charly Mariano), before they went into the ethno-field, one might give also Aera a try. - Achim Breiling, New Gibraltar Encyclopedia Of Progressive Rock

After leaving the flute-centered Ihre Kinder in 1972, guitarist Muck Groh formed the jazz-rock Aera. Similar in sound to mid-period Embryo, Ihre Kinder relied heavily on flutes and saxophones. The band's first album, the all-instrumental Humanum Est, was entirely written by the guitarist. However, by the time of their second album Hand Und Fuss (1976), the musical leadership of the band had switched to wheelchair-bound saxophonist and flautist Klaus Kreuzeder, who included vocals on some of his songs. Although the group disbanded not long after their sophomore effort, Kreuzeder reformed the group in 1978 and released four albums before ending the group for good in 1982. Geoff Orens, AMG

AERA has been a little-known band hailing from a small Bavarian village called “Mechelwind” (hence the title of one track on their second album). Similar to related band EMBRYO members were coming and going but originally the band consisted of guitarist Muck Groh (IHRE KINDER), bass player Dieter Bauer (2066 AND THEN), drummer Wolfgang Teske and wheelchair-bound Klaus Kreuzeder on sax and flute. They issued altogether four studio albums and one live one with changing line-ups and exhibiting different music styles. Their first two releases which can be obtained as a 2-in-1 CD (being a very worthy purchase that luckily I happen to own) are basically revealing a lively jazz-rock sound at times with extended jammin’ not that far away from EMBRYO, KRAAN or NUCLEUS. Their debut “Humanum Est” here in review was already quite an impressing demonstration of their musical prowess though still lacking a bit of variation which is nicely compensated by the addition of their second one on the CD-reissue. The six fully instrumental compositions, all written by guitarist Muck Groh can be basically described as guitar-dominated laid-back virtuoso jazz-rock with some blues and folk tossed in. Very noteable are Kreuzeder’s presentations on sax and flute, two instruments belonging to my favourites in that kind of music. Though being by all means a very noteworthy debut and a highly enjoyable album especially on second side of this record the music seams to become a bit meandering and repetitive. Thus without his counterpart “Hand und Fuss” “Humanum Est” might appear slightly disappointing for advanced Krautrock fans after a few spins. Nevertheless AERA can be considered as another very interesting band within the rich German progressive scene of the 70’s. Moreover it has been one of those making music just for fun without any commerial concern what’s demonstrated very well by the fact that their debut has been rejected by all commercial labels forcing them to publish it on their own one “Erlkonig”. By the way for those wondering what the oddly sounding titles actually mean: they are some sensible nonsense partly in ancient Bavarian idiom that is even incomprehensible to some native speakers like me. Dieter Fischer, ProgArchives.com

Without any doubts “Hand und Fuss” has been the more sophisticated and varied one of AERA’s first two albums. From the original line-up only Groh and Kreutzeder was left-over and their sound gained a lot from the addition of violinist Christoph Krieger. Musical leadership has been taken over more or less by Kreutzeder and composing has been shared between Groh and the new bass player Peter Malinowski . Their new drummer Lucky Schmidt managed to bring much more forceful rhythms with a jazzier orientation into their music. Musicianship by all band members is here absolutely outstanding and each of the seven compositions is a little gem on its own. Highlights are the highly diversified “Mechelwind”, the inventive “Elephen Elephants” with an amazing drum solo and the bolero-type “Kamele On”. But the remaining tracks are really not inferior at all to those ones. Maybe worth mentioning that Klaus Kreutzeder presents some jazzy scat singing on “Ad Absurdum”, actually the only “vocals” apart from some weird yowling in the finish of the last track.
Finally it’s just left to say for me that I’d highly recommend AERA’s second album to any Kraut- and Jazz-rock fan best achieved by buying the CD-reissue which combines both of their first two releases for highest value/money ratio. Dieter Fischer, ProgArchives.com

Aera was a very capable, occasionally excellent, German band that specialized in largely instrumental music that straddled the fence between jazz-rock and progressive rock. Their debut LP, Humanum Est, leans more toward the progressive rock end of the spectrum. It features the riff-based compositions of guitarist Muck Groh, who was previously in Ihre Kinder - a progressive folk-rock band. Listening to this LP, it's not hard to fathom Groh's involvement in folk music: he's fond of his twelve string, and his intricate leads and solos on that instrument bring Dan Ar Bras to mind. On the electric 6-string, he leans toward a Jeff Beck / Janne Schaffer sort of approach - he's not really a jazz guitarist, but an accomplished soloist in a creative blues-rock vein. The bulk of Aera's jazz influence at this point could be credited to the band's other main soloist, soprano saxophonist / flutist Klaus Kreuzeder - he's quite good. On the minus side, the rhythm section (drummer Wolfgang Teske and bassists Dieter Bauer and Peter Malinowsky) is somewhere between wooden and serviceable. Groh, Kreuzeder (now on alto sax, in addition to flute and soprano sax), and Malinowsky (who also does brief novelty vocals on 2 tracks) are aboard for Aera's 2nd LP, Hand und Fuss. New members include violinist Christoph Krieger and drummer Lucky Schmidt. Though Krieger is decent enough - he sounds pretty nice in unison with Kreuzeder, and he provides an additional solo voice - it is Schmidt's dynamic, jazzy kit work that really kicks Hand und Fuss up several notches above Humanum Est. Several of the compositions (all by Groh, or Groh and Malinowsky) have a vague Mahavishnu feel. As a guitar soloist, however, Groh still resembles Ted Nugent more than he does John McLaughlin. Kreuzeder's playing is even stronger than on Humanum Est - an amazing feat when you consider that he is confined to a wheelchair. The great variety and increased complexity of the compositions is the most appealing aspect of this recording - it's hard to imagine fans of instrumental progressive rock and jazz-rock not liking this LP. Though Hand und Fuss may not floor you with jaw-dropping chops and astounding technique, there's a folksy warmth to it that I find lacking in much of the fusion / progressive genre. The music on Hand und Fuss is undeniably charming, imaginative, distinctive, and still bears repeated listening. For many, this will be their finest moment. Dave Wayne, New Gibraltar Encyclopedia Of Progressive Rock

Tracklist:
Humanum Est 1974
01.Papa Doing 8:22
02.Demmerawäng 7:07
03.Hodibbel 5:37
04.Sechs Achtel 10:45
05.Jonas Schläft 4:20
06.Alois' Flötending 2:26

Hand und Fuss 1976
07.Mechelwind 9:24
08.Alabaster Keaton 3:06
09.Wrdlbrmfd 5:33
10.Elephen Elephants 8:40
11.Herbstzeitlos 2:27
12.Ad Absurdum 5:06
13.Kamele On 5:35

Line-up:
Wolgang Teske - drums
Klaus Kreuzeder - saxophone & flute
Dieter Bauer - bass
Muck Groh - guitar
Peter Malinowsky - bass
Christoph Krieger - violin
Lucky Schmidt - drums, vocal
Als Gast Onkel Latzi - Bariton-saxophone & oboe

2 commenti:

Solidboy ha detto...

flac cue log scans

Anonimo ha detto...

Thank you Solidboy. I'm interested in both of these albums!

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